Following on from the topic of finding motivation when working at home, I want to talk a little more about finding purpose in what you do. This will help to frame the tasks at hand and help provide structure for your day. Purpose can mean many things. However, being able to look at both micro purpose (why is today important) as well as Macro (What is my life’s purpose) and zoom in and out as required really helps with many aspects of planning, prioritisation and even responding to challenges.
Influence of Location on Purpose
Purpose is more obvious when you are in the office environment as it’s designed to align your individual purpose with your team and company. You’re surrounded by like-minded people, often working in teams, toward similar goals. When working from home, this is easily diluted as our environment and those working close to us are very powerful influences. Without your colleagues there to interact in micro moments, even overhearing a conversation can influence what and how you work. The people in close proximity at home, whether family or housemates, may not be working and if they are, probably not for the same company. You may even be spending large amounts of time alone. Given the current situation and the likelihood that we won’t be returning to the office exactly the way it was before, we must re-frame what influences our purpose in our daily work. Here’s a few handy tips to get started!
Find your community (digitally)
Just because we’re all working from home doesn’t mean we have to be alone. Technology has evolved to a stage where we’re never more than an email, online chat or call away from our colleagues. It’s important to regularly check in using the tools we do have. Make time to talk about things other than work whether sharing a funny moment, asking someone’s opinion on a favourite sport, TV show or even gardening - just start a conversation! Building connection goes well beyond work topics. Be deliberate about replacing the chats you had in the kitchen or just passing someone in the office by taking the initiative and getting in touch with those you used to run into. These conversations might not be strictly related to work, but they form part of the fabric of relationships in your business and are an important part of its character. Using tools like Microsoft Teams to do daily check-ins with your colleagues is a great way to align and centre against the day’s activities, whilst providing much needed human connection and feedback.
Accomplishments = Wins
Only a couple months ago if you closed a deal with a customer, fixed a tricky issue or completed a project you could share it instantly with someone nearby and get immediate feedback. It was easier to see success, share success and feel the rewards through the responses of those around you. Now you need to think about giving yourself a pat on the back, sharing you successes in online meetings and acknowledge the success of others – it’s contagious! In short, don’t wait for someone else to say well done, it’s not always obvious so you need to find ways to share your success and that of others!
Stick to your schedule (You do have a schedule, right?)
No really. As simple as it sounds, if you are struggling to find your purpose, sticking to a schedule will help you get through the inevitable tough days when you do struggle for purpose. Have a realistic schedule, and then stick to it. The latter often fails many of us, so if you are failing to meet it regularly maybe it’s time for a reality check! Working from home often makes life more flexible but it has its challenges. Now you can wake up 10 minutes before you start, sit at your desks in PJs and take breaks when you want but this flexibility can be a double-edged sword. It’s hard to set concrete deadlines and goals when you have no structure to base them on, or measures of success to help you feel accomplishment. Being disciplined and sticking to your structured day can help you meet your goals and deadlines and motivate you to be your best self at home and at work!
Stay tuned for our next post on motivation where we will look at suggestions for on how to structure your day.