Working from home is fantastic. The only thing I struggle with sometimes is staying motivated.
With just my dog for company, the only person who’s going to kick my ass if I don’t get work done is me.
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of kicking my own ass.
Following my latest podcast episode on the same topic, I’ve been chatting with others who work from home and exploring ways to stay motivated.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 ways to stay motivated working from home:
1. Get Dressed
Unless you take business meetings at home, there is no need to don a power suit with shoulder pads and a pair of killer heels. Comfort is important, but you should aim to upgrade your attire from pyjamas. It will help you make the mental shift from home mode to work mode.
I tend to wear comfortable clothes, for example, leggings and a tunic, but not gym clothes (it seems dishonest as I’m highly unlikely to get to the gym).
Putting on a little makeup also helps me make that mental shift.
2. Take Naps
This is not the sort of advice you’d expect in a blog post of this nature but hear me out.
Working from home doesn’t have to be the typical 9 to 5 routine. You can maximise your productivity by identifying the times of day when you work best. For example, I am most productive early in the morning. Sometimes I get up at 5 am to write. Invariably I will flag around 3 pm, so I'll take a nap, or finish my day early.
3. Start Your Day With a List
If you are easily distracted, write a list of jobs at the outset of every day. Tweet your list to your followers if it helps.
Outline your day - be as specific as you can, but be realistic. Give yourself the best chance of success. Review your list at the end of the day.
Workflowy is my list app of choice.
4. Remove Distractions
What is your biggest distraction when working from home?
Identify your main distractions and put measures in place to remove them. My main distraction is social media so I use Freedom App to block social media sites.
5. Find Community
One of the downsides of working from home is the lack of human contact. It’s nice to have colleagues to bounce ideas off. Developing your business solo can be tough.
There are lots of online communities available to meet this need. I am part of the Seanwes community, but there are other paid and free options.
6. Define Your Workspace
Don’t work where you sleep. It makes the "home to work" mode shift challenging. Try to carve out a small space in your home for work. Keep it clear of distractions and clutter.
7. Reward Yourself
Sometimes ticking something off your to-do list doesn’t feel like a big enough reward. Devise a reward scheme. I often reward myself with a walk around the block listening to an audiobook or coffee and cake (ahem... a little too often). You might enjoy a star chart... who are we kidding? Take the cake!
8. Look After Yourself
This one should go without saying, but it doesn’t. Take regular breaks and drink plenty of water (my Ulla helps). If you are attached to your computer for most of the day make sure you get up and stretch frequently.
9. Clarify Expectations
This is a tricky one. It has taken a while for my husband to understand that when I am working from home for half the week, I am actually working. It's therefore not OK to expect me to have completed all the chores.
Expectations need to be clarified on all sides. This includes your expectations.
It’s very easy to become distracted by chores, particularly if you are feeling unmotivated. If you need a break from the computer, by all means, put a load of washing in. But otherwise, save chores until after work.
Everyone in your household should understand and respect your working hours.
10. Get Accountable
Having an accountability partner can help motivation. Have a listen to episode 2 of the Creative Me podcast to find how I work with my accountability partner.