Last week, I asked you the question are you more introverted, or extroverted or do you fall mid-ways on the spectrum? The main point I share was where do you get your energy from - from solitude or from connecting with others. If you missed it, you can catch up here.
How is working from home going? Are you losing your motivation, starting to procrastinate and need a reset? I know there is a motivation slump right at this stage in lockdown no. 3, so this week, I am sharing better boundaries and ideas to keep both introverts and extroverts motivated working from home. You can skip to your specific section.
Boundaries and ideas for working from home for extroverts
Extroverts, I know you can live without people, but it is really that you feel more uplifted and inspired working with others. Right now with the current restrictions, you might be starting to feel trapped, so here is some ideas that can help you to stay more uplifted and motivated. Some of the introverted ideas might work for you too.
Dress up for work
This will create a boundary between working time and home time. Dress up, brush you hair, put on the lippy and sprinkle the perfume. Put in this extra effort for yourself as you will feel good and you signal your body that you are actually going out to meet people. Of course you are not going out to see people but the extra effort will make you feel extra sharper and feel like you are in work mode.
Implement set work hours
Give yourself 6 hours a day to get tasks done. Similar to the Parkinson’s Law - When you give yourself longer to complete a thing, it takes you longer to complete it. So, give yourself less time to accomplish a task, gets that task done quicker, and use the rest of the day for yourself.
Create a routine that works best for you
As group meetings might inspire you more and get you feeling more motivated, then maybe it is best that you try to schedule them at the beginning of the day. If you have a role that actually is very isolating then maybe you suggest a meeting with your team and set up frequent video conferencing with co-workers.
Stay connected to colleagues and continue to build your network
Now we are behind a laptop and we do not have the social club events to help us easily network, only our family if we are lucky. We do need to keep growing and learning from others. We now need to put ourselves out there and even create the event ourselves or set up a meeting with a contact that could help us progress or learn. Set up one to one's and use this time to build your network at work. Feel the fear and do it anyway! I also recommend to start a coffee morning group once a week on zoom/webex or have an online coffee with someone different every now and then. Share ideas with each other and try not to discuss work/covid too much. I know it is hard to avoid it but try to make this coffee morning an uplifting experience. Stay connected on slack/ichat or a chat platform socially and for work purposes. Reach out and check in with old colleagues or friends too that you used to enjoy.
Take a lunch break with a friend
Make your lunch and go outside or sit in a different space and call a friend or family member for a chat. This will reinvigorate you for the rest of your day. If you eat with the same people every day, then go to another room and have a chat with someone else.
When you decide to stop working - Stop.
Decide this before you start working. This is to avoid fatigue and to give you more time to socialise with your family or friends on FaceTime, Netflix party, Zoom, Phone call etc.
Play Podcast or music in background
For some extroverts, sounds help to keep them focused. You can listen to music or a motivating podcast while you work. This helps to remind you that you are not alone.
Exercise in different ways
Go for a walk for a change of scenery and change the route every now and then. Even go on a social distance walk with a neighbour or friend. Exercise to YouTube videos. This can make you feel like you have new company and a motivator.
Boundaries and ideas for working from home for Introverts
A part of you might have been very excited, even relieved at the thought of working from home. However, very few introverts want full time isolation and let's face it, this is dragging on. There is definitely the advantage for you that less people pull at your energy and distract you from your work but here are some inspiring ideas to help you stay motivated.
Create a dedicated work space
I know people who only have a room to call their own right now and so if you have to get a divider/bed sheet to pin across the wall, do it! The goal is to create a bubble to help your attention span and to avoid distractions. Think creatively on being minimalistic if you don't have that much space. If you do have a lot space, then surround yourself with things that inspire you and that will keep you focused and eliminate anything that distracts you.
Plan ahead, make a to do list to keep you focused
You might also need to follow a dedicated schedule like the extroverts. Make a list and focus on it and tick it off as you complete each task. This will give you a sense of achievement and help you feel more productive even if it is a tiny task.
Arrange meetings at the right time
Introverts need that time and space to reflect and think about their ideas and what they are going to say. It doesn't mean anything negative as giving yourself this time, you actually unlock your true potential and can be more useful to your company. Ask for certain meetings to be scheduled ahead of time so you have time to plan ahead your ideas and what you are going to share. You might find too many meetings early in the day drains you and causes more distraction and it might be harder for you to focus on your work later. Schedule meetings later in the day if you have the choice. Then you can recharge after work.
Sounds and lights
Most introverts are sensitive to sensory inputs. Lights matter, do you prefer bright lights or dim lights? Some introverts find music distracting or maybe there is a fan noise that you would like to block out with some calming music.
Take a different type of break
Although you like your solitude, right now you are getting a lot of it and you still need to stay connected.
Check in with one of your like-minded friends that uplift you and inspire you.
You might laugh but you can also ask your partner or your family member to give you a few minutes of a massage.
Walk around the block during your break to keep you stimulated and practice some mindfulness or gratitude.
Write out your ideas, thoughts, your goals on a journal that might be important for later.
Make matter of fact boundaries at home
Your work is important and you need to get it done. Setting boundaries at home with family to not interrupt you during work hours is necessary. If you have to, put up reminder notes near your working space "I am at work - do not make noise or do not come in - I am with a client". Be very clear if they are not getting it. It just takes time for the adjustments to happen.
Don't go into your introverted cave full time
Introverts are more likely taking to this working from home much better, however you still need at least 30% people engagement. Introverts can sometimes not show any visibility if the job allows. Do stay in touch on chat platforms even it is just a friendly hello and arrange a one to one coffee with a colleague/friend at work. As mentioned in the extroverted section, now is the time to build your network as there are plenty of people available at work who would love a one to one catch up where you can both learn and grow from each other.