Mallory Welsh, LCSW

Many of my clients were used to working in their office and now have shifted to working 100% from home, which can be quite an adjustment for anyone. Many of my clients have been reporting to me the struggle of staying motivated with their professional life now that they have completely switched their daily routines, and completely have changed their work environment. Some clients were originally working from home even prior to the pandemic and also have reported to have the same struggles with the lack of motivation due to working from home.

I recently read an article from FastCompany that touched on this very topic, “Working from home? 7 smart tips to help you get more done” by author Lindsay Tigar. 

Below are her key points on how to be more productive working from home.

  • Get ready for work. Actually get ready for your work day, which can mean putting on your make up, doing your hair, brush your teeth, shower, and putting on professional clothing, or whatever your normal work dress code is. Although, I personally have been dressing in more comfortable clothing with some yoga pants, I am still putting on a nice work shirt which helps me to feel more in the ‘work mode’. With doing these normal morning routines, it signals your brain that it is time to work rather than to lounge.
  • Create work space area. Sure, it can be quite difficult to create a work space in a small apartment in Chicago, especially if you have a roommate. This may mean to be creative with your small place. I personally have been using a TV dinner tray as a mini desk, but it has been working well while providing tele health services to my clients. If possible, this space should be separate from your bedroom and where you can close your door to signal to your roommate(s) you are on a call/working. 
  • Keep to your normal working hours. If you typically work 9-5pm Monday-Friday in the office, keep that same routine while working from home. One of my Symmetry Counseling colleagues, Sydney Gideon, actually has been recommending her clients to “commute” to work which is a wonderful idea. Maybe this means going for a short walk around the block at the start of your work day and then take a small walk at the end of your work day. This will signal to your brain the start and end of your work day. Without “commuting to work”, it can also make your days blur together. 
  • Write down your daily tasks. Kari Phillips, the fully remote CEO of The Content Factory, recommends, individuals who work from home, to write down their tasks at the beginning of the work day. It can be easy to lose focus and track of time when being at home and not having a work to do list. When writing these things down, it can help you to remain accountable to your work deliverables.
  • Healthy food. While it can be easy to sneak away and finish a plate of cookies, it is important to keep your routines with eating healthy during the work days. Sugar highs and crashes can decrease your productivity during the week. Unhealthy food not only impacts your energy level, it can also impact your mood and immune system. Maybe this means focusing on healthy snacks during the week days and having a “cheat day” on Saturdays. 
  • Check in with your coworkers. Working from home can feel isolating for some. One way to reduce that isolation feeling, is to have a daily or weekly check in with your coworkers. Check ins are not meant to be a way of micromanaging, but rather a way to make sure progress is being made and that you have the appropriate resources to get your job done efficiently.
  • Lessen your distractions. Home can have many distractions, whether it is your kids, pets, television, your phone, or maybe your significant other. For some, lessening your distractions, could mean just going in another room and turning your phone off, or for others having direct conversations with the people who may be distracting you. Implementing boundaries with others, especially when working from home, can decrease your stress and increase your productivity levels. 

If you are currently struggling with working from home and staying productive, it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling today. You can contact them at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.