I’m somewhat of a veteran in this working from home business so I thought I’d share my tips on how to stay motivated when working from home during COVID-19 times and beyond.
Disclaimer: these tips may not work for you but they definitely help me.
I start from the principle of 3Gs: Get up. Get dressed. Get on with it.
Does that mean I don’t have days where I stay in my PJs until 2pm? No. Does it mean that I don’t have days where I skip the makeup? No.
What it means is that I know if I put a little routine and a little self care into my morning routine by taking time to get dressed in something that makes me feel good, it sets me up to be more productive throughout a working day. Not everyone is motivated the same way, I get that. What I also get is that it can be a bit of a shock suddenly working from home after years of heading to an office.
I was that person back in 2008 when I jumped out of my journalism career into the unknown. The only known factor was my laptop station, set up in the corner of our lounge room. My wardrobe was all wrong. I seemed to only own office or beach attire, with nothing else in between.
Over the 11-plus years, it’s been those in-between wardrobe pieces that I’ve concentrated on building up in my wardrobe. It’s those pieces that make it easy for me to dress up or dress down for any situation or occasion. It’s the reason why I started Styling You The Label.
At the crux of your work-from-home wardrobe, you want to feel “put together”. You want versatile and comfortable pieces that make you feel put together but not OTT. For me, it’s not about whether I’ll be seen on a video call, it’s about how I feel in myself.
(this photo as been digitally created)
10 tips to stay motivated when working from home
1. Resist the urge for “one more episode” on that Netflix series you can’t stop watching. Hit that stop button toot suite before it gets a chance to lure you into the next episode. And whatever you do, do not start an episode at 10pm, knowing that the one after it is the season finale. It will only end badly. Apparently 🙄
2. Set your alarm for the same time every work day. See point 1 re resisting one more episode. I use the iPhone Bedtime app and set my bedtime and waking time for the week. It gives me a little reminder half an hour before bed and puts the phone on do not disturb until the alarm goes off.
3. Get up without thinking – and exercise. This has been absolute key for me because as soon as I start thinking about it, I hit snooze or start mindless scrolling. And I’m not going to lie, since injuring my foot and not being able to get out and run/walk, this has been a bad pattern I’ve fallen into. I miss being able to clear my head and it’s something I want to get back to as soon as possible.
4. Breakfast. I spend so much time sitting on my bum all day that I stand up for my meals. Probably not ideal but it works to break up the sitting down.
5. Shower. I keep up my skincare routine because it’s habit and that happens in and out of the shower. I wash my hair a couple of times a week.
6. Get dressed. This is the big one really, as I mentioned above. I might choose clothes that are cheery and bright or I might feel it’s a day to saddle up and embrace my favourite neutral: black. Whatever the colour or print, I’m all about smart casual comfort. I have to feel comfortable but “put together” when sitting down at the computer. I always wear FRANKiE4 shoes for my foot, leg and back health. Check out some of the looks in the video below.
Pre-COVID times I’d rely on a blazer or cape to dress up a smart casual outfit for a meeting out. Now, I’ll pop on same for a video conference meeting where I need to look a bit more presentable. The only other fun COVID-19 work-from-home dress-up game I’m playing is Formal Friday – I’m breaking out all my sequinned and dressy numbers for Fridays as a bit of a reverse spin on Casual Friday. Sure, I might be wearing jeans or denim shorts on the bottom but my “nice tops” are getting a good run!
7. Add jewellery. There is something symbolic for me when it comes to finishing my outfit with jewellery. I’ll reach for favourite or statement pieces to complete a look at the best of times. In these strange times, for the every day, I’ve been reaching for jewellery with meaning. I’ve got a beautiful collection of Uberkate gemstone pieces and the woo-woo in me loves how each piece makes me feel.
8. Do hair and makeup. If it’s not a hair washing day, then it’s just a matter of running a brush through my hair and/or putting it up. My twice-yearly bhave keratin treatments help keep that in check and I got one in just last month, so I’m good for six months. If I’ve washed my hair, I just let it dry naturally – again, the keratin helps with this. I’ve long mastered the minimal no-makeup, makeup look. I’m doing a variation on this look and this look. The first weekend off in “iso” I cleaned out and threw out a lot of makeup. This was a job that I’d been meaning to do for a long time. TICK. The main things for me with makeup right now are my CC cream base to even out my complexion, cheek colour, mascara, brow pencil and lip gloss. I know it’s far from necessary because I’m not going anywhere but it makes me feel good.
9. Spray on perfume. It seems so pointless to wait until we can go out again to wear your favourite fragrance. I took my team to a Libertine Parfumerie experience last year and found my signature scent. Wearing it every day connects me to the team – when times were easier – and grounds me to what I need to do that day.
10. Coffee and Google Hangout with the team at 9am. We are down to a very small team right now but it absolutely means the world to connect with them each morning. Thank goodness for technology, I say. All this connectedness via social media was just in its infancy when I was first working from home. Working in isolation after being in an office was the reason I was drawn to Twitter back in the day. I connected via words with so many people to whom I remain connected with today. I rarely spend time on that platform now but I’m so grateful I did back in the day as it makes me smile, knowing that those random conversations and reaching out to others resulted in friendships with people I otherwise would have met.
I know that for a lot of people, these 10 tips will not make a spot of difference to how motivated you are when working from home. We’re all wired so differently. For me, the kickstart I need most days comes from the outside in … the old “fake it until you make it” premise.
Ultimately, if you are lucky enough to still be working and that workplace is now at home (and I’m so grateful on both counts), then setting yourself up for success is going to be about finding your own groove. I suspect when we come out the other side of this, many more workplaces will offer more flexible work-from-home arrangements, if only for part of the week, and I think that can only be a good thing.
So, tell me, what’s your classic work-from-home look? What do you do to get yourself motivated for a day at your desk?
PS. If you’re in our Facebook Group, we’re sharing our at-home outfits every day to keep us all motivated and to wear more from our wardrobe. If you’re posting on Instagram, tag @stylingyou and #athomewithSY … and if you’re posting to your Insta Story, we have special “gifs” that you can add to your posts. Simply search “SYTL” in the gif section and they’ll pop up.