Working from home jobs give you some great freedoms, no boss looking over your shoulder, no frantic commute and if you’re lucky, extra time in bed. However, if your home is your workspace it can be difficult to stay motivated when there are so many distractions – try these tips if you’re finding it difficult to keep your motivation levels high…
- Define your day
It’s temptingly easy to get up, brush your teeth, have a cup of coffee and get on with your work – even before you’ve got out of your pyjamas. However, countless studies say this is the worst way to start your day if you’re a home worker.
Without defining solid working times you’re letting home and work blend together into one big mess. When your day blends into one you’ll find home jobs that need doing throughout the day – taking you away from work tasks. These distractions are motivation and focus killers.
If you want to get the most out of your time working it pays to be disciplined with your schedule. Set a solid starting time and make sure the household tasks that would otherwise distract you are done and out of your mind.
Creating a habit like this one means your evening is more clearly defined too. If you’re the kind of person who ends up eating their evening meal while they work, being more disciplined with your time through the day means you’ll get more done – and work will stop spilling over. A healthy work life balance is crucial when you work at home, nothing kills motivation like knowing you’re going to be flitting between doing your washing and work tasks for the next 14 hours.
List, prioritise, execute
To do lists are either extremely helpful – or extremely painful, depending on whether you’re the kind of person who can focus on one task at a time. If you’re on of the millions of ‘task butterflies’ that flutter between one thing and another – never really achieving anything until the pressure is on – then a solid plan of how to tackle your to do list is crucial.
As you begin your day take a few minutes with a blank piece of paper and think about what you need to achieve. Write it all down, the order doesn’t matter, in fact, it’s better to just get all your thought down instead of trying to figure an order out just yet.
When you’ve got your tasks written down think about what’s the most pressing job to be done – and write the number 1 next to it. When you’re done, think about the second most important task – write a number 2 next to it. Now stop. You’ve got your two most pressing jobs of the day prioritised, there’s no need to create a 15-point list that is likely to go out the window when the phone rings. When you’ve done these tasks – you can reassess your list (along with any additions that have popped onto your phone, email or schedule) and put the next 2 priorities in place.
Getting stuff done is like a huge shot of motivation to people who are used to ending the day with a to do list longer than it was at 9am. Prioritise, execute, keep moving – you’ll be pleased with the results.
Go through the pain barrier ASAP
Look at your to-do list, there’s something on there you’re dreading isn’t there? It might even be the reason you’re reading about ways of bolstering your motivation… Essentially now you have two choices, put it off for as long as is possible, hoping that some turn of events will mean it doesn’t need to be done – in the meantime letting it affect your mood and general will to even cast eyes over it or – get it done now.
If you’re willing to take it on now two things are going to happen – firstly, it’s probably not going to be as bad as you thought it would be so it’ll take you less time than you anticipated. Secondly, when you draw a line through it the clouds will miraculously part and warm rays of sun will hit you and recharge those waning motivation levels…
If you develop this as a habit and tackle your most feared job as a priority every day, your work output and generally mood will be through the roof.
Use the right equipment
There’s likely to be nothing that zaps your motivation away quicker than trying to use the wrong tools for the job. As a home worker you discredit your professionalism by thinking you can take short-cuts with the stuff you rely on to get your job done. You wouldn’t expect a brain surgeon to wield a blunt scalpel – so why should you be any different?
You’re likely to have the some of the kit you need already, perhaps a computer and a mobile phone – but what about the other stuff? Having a diary, whether you choose an online or paper version, means you’re able to keep track of deadlines and organise your time accordingly. What about a notepad? Don’t rely on keeping scraps of paper organised, keeping a physical notepad means you can jot notes while you’re on the phone or in the middle of other tasks without having to break off.
And then there’s the role specific kit – if there’s anything that you need to do your job in the most productive manner then either requesting it from your employer or buying it yourself is going to be a big step toward staying motivated. Even if it feels like unnecessary expense now, your long-term role satisfaction is going to thank you for it.
Finally, take some breaks!
This one’s for you – the self-employed people fighting with a never-ending workload! It’s easy to think that the key to success is spending 18 hours at your computer – but it’s often not. Even if your job means putting in huge hours, it’s better to have 8 motivated and productive hours in front of your screen that it is 12 hours of feeling like you can’t get started.
Get some fresh air, stretch your legs, give your back a rest from that computer chair. No one said the path to success would be a short one – taking regular breaks keeps you moving toward your goal with a full tank of motivation.