Today I wanted to talk about how to stay motivated when you work from home. First off I have to say, working from home is amazing. I am my own boss and I have the freedom to work when I want. There is however one downfall to all of this and that is staying motivated and getting everything done. There are so many distractions. There’s the housework and of course there’s Facebook, that all-consuming time waster. I have on occasion browsed Facebook for hours just because I could.
Being your own boss is great and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to organise my kids for school every morning. I’m here when they come home so I can help with homework and chat about their day, and I get to make their dinner. It might seem trivial but if I had to work 9 to 5, I would miss all of this. It is something that I really appreciate and something that I am so grateful for. My children are everything to me and to be able to work around them as they grow is amazing.
Having said that, there are time when I lack motivation and working from home really doesn’t help. I have deadlines but it is so easy to procrastinate when you are at home. I can do the dishes, hoover, make that phone call to my mom, anything bar sitting down and getting my work done. It’s surprising how fast the day can vanish when you’re doing nothing.
Over the years I have discovered a few little tricks to help keep me motivated and I thought I would share them with you today.
7 Tips on How To Stay Motivated When You Work From Home
- Set a Schedule: I set my schedule each week so that I know exactly what I need to get done. I add appointments for the kids, and any other time off that I might need into my schedule so that I am always prepared. I work out exactly how much I have to complete each day including a morning off. Having a schedule keeps me accountable and when I review it each day it helps to focus my mind and put me in work mode. I never stumble through my day anymore, and my schedule ensures that I meet my deadlines.
- Create a To Do List: I actually don’t know how I would manage without my to do list. It is the first thing I do every morning and it includes everything from putting on a load or washing to taking the dog to be groomed. Everything I need to do each day is in this list and I tick them off as I go along. My husband buys me a full page diary every year and this is what I use. My list will include client work, website duties, marketing, writing submissions, etc. What doesn’t get completed in a day is then carried over to the next. I love it. Not only does it keep me accountable but at the end of the week it is great to look back over the days and see how much I have accomplished. You’d be amazed at how much you actually get done in a week when you start writing things down.
- Use Timers: This is a trick I discovered about a year ago and it has proved so valuable. When I find myself in a slump and lacking motivation I use timers. I will start with a 15 minute timer, followed by a 30 minute timer, then a 20 minute one, and so on throughout the day. I tend to use my 15 minute timer for household chores especially when I am procrastinating. I give myself 15 minutes to get stuck into things and once the timer goes off, I stop. The amount you can get done in 15 minutes would really surprise you. The next timer which is usually 30 minutes is a work timer, be it an article, SEO website content, or a client’s blog, I have 30 minutes to get as much done as I can. Again because I am on a time limit, I tend to be super focused and fly through things. I might not have a finished piece but I will at least have a first draft and it feels great. I use my 20 minute timer for my own personal writing. I do this in between my work timers so at the end of the day I can still say I wrote something of my own. If you haven’t tried timers I highly recommend them.
- Plan Your Day in Advance: I like to plan my day in advance when I am struggling with motivation. I also include a treat which can help pick me up. It can be anything from a nice bath to 30 minutes reading time before the kids come home from school. I plan to get a certain number of tasks completed and if this happens I reward myself. Again it is a very simple thing to do but it really helps get you motivated.
- Be Flexible: What is the point in being your own boss if all you do is work? Being flexible is important and you should be able to take time out to visit with friends, go on that impromptu coffee morning, or pick your kids up from school if they fall ill. Remember you are working for yourself and you set your schedule. Take the past couple of days, I have had a number of family things to do. Thursday was the kids’ sports day so I took a couple of hours to go and watch them having fun. Friday I had an awards ceremony for my daughter so again I took the morning off. The weather has also been amazing here in Ireland for the past couple of days and like any Irish person, I took advantage of this. To make up for the lack of work I completed, I took my laptop outside today and worked in the sun. I was able to type up my client articles, enjoy the sun, and watch my children play in their pool. It was a win win situation.
- Get Out of The House: Again this is a tip I discovered a couple of years ago. My motivation tends to slip every so often and when it does and I can’t pull myself back, I leave the house. I take my laptop with all my work ready to type and I get into the car. I then drive to the car park and sit and type. I have no internet to distract me, no Facebook, and I just type. An hour or two out of the house and I have my day’s work completed. Once I get home all I have to do is upload my content. I have tried going to the library or a local hotel but that just didn’t work for me because there was internet connection, and I know you might be thinking why don’t I just turn the internet off on my laptop, but that doesn’t work because I just turn it back on. Getting out of the house with no internet and no distractions whatsoever works perfectly.
- Be Grateful: There is nothing like a dose of gratitude to reboot your motivation. Whenever I feel myself getting fed up with work and feeling sorry for myself, I stop and remind myself what it would be like if I had to work 9 to 5. I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to work from home, how lucky I am to be able to do homework with the kids every day, and how lucky I am to be getting paid to do what I love. Five minutes of this and my motivation is back and climbing through the roof. Gratitude is powerful and I recommend keeping a gratitude journal especially if you find that you struggle to stay motivated.
So that’s my tips on how to stay motivated when you work from home. Please feel free to share your own tips in the comments section. I would love to hear how you stay motivated.
Until next time,