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How to Keep Yourself Motivated Working from Home
Working from home can be a great perk, but it can also be a productivity killer. While you are free of many of the distractions that might plague you at the office, your home offers a different set of distractions that can also make it difficult to stay motivated and focused.
Whether you are working for yourself or a larger company, working remotely can lead to higher productivity than being in an office, if you can manage your time efficiently and keep yourself motivated.
Luckily, as more of the world’s workforce moves towards mobility and being location independent, there are more tools than ever to help you stay focused, even when your boss isn’t a few doors down the hall.
Here are some great ways you can stay motivated while working from home:
Create a Schedule
One of the most tempting things about working from home is the freedom you enjoy.
However, that freedom can easily get you into trouble if you don’t set some boundaries for yourself. Don’t treat working from home as an excuse to sleep until noon every day. As a professional, it’s important to maintain some normal business hours for clients and colleagues to get in touch with you.
Though no one will be waiting for you to clock in every morning, it’s important you adhere to a somewhat regular schedule.
Having regular work hours makes it easier to differentiate between your work time and your personal time. Without regular work hours, clients will feel as though they can call you anytime. This will lead to you working all the time and ultimately to getting burned out.
Dress the Part
You’ve probably seen countless online headlines claiming you can “Work from home in your pyjamas.” But is that a good choice? Probably not.
While you don’t necessarily have to put on an elaborate business suit, changing out of your lounge clothes and into more work-appropriate attire will help you to be more focused on working. It’s also a great way to mark the transition from the home part of your day to the work part. Plus, you’ll have no reason to be alarmed if your conference call suddenly becomes a video call.
Have Dedicated Workspace
Depending on the size of your home, you might not have enough space to dedicate an entire room to a home office. However, it’s still important you create a dedicated workspace. In addition to keeping you more organized, having a place you use exclusively for work helps to separate personal time from work hours.
Having a dedicated workspace will also provide a signal to anyone who shares your space that you are working and not available for normal home interactions. It’s much easier to set work-related boundaries when you have a clearly defined work space.
Use the Right Tools
As with any other job, getting the most out of your work-from-home experience requires the proper tools.
You don’t need to go crazy purchasing state-of-the-art equipment and services, but you should be willing to upgrade wherever necessary. For example, you may need a faster internet connection to get the best quality on any video calls, or a laptop with a faster processor to handle multiple large programs running simultaneously.
In addition to upgrading some of your current tools and services, you might need to explore options for new services, such as a proxy software service to encrypt your business information and allow you to communicate securely with your main office or your clients. Other tools you might consider adding to your home office include:
- Dedicated land-line for business calls
- Virtual office address or P.O. box for clients to send information
- Accounting software
- Virtual assistant
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the freedom it provides.
While it’s important to have a regular schedule, you should also take the time to enjoy your flexibility.
Take a yoga class or get a massage during your lunch break. Grab your laptop and go work outside by the pool.
Working from home presents unique challenges, so you want to be sure to take advantage of all the perks as well.
One aspect of working from home that can make it difficult to adjust is the lack of social interaction.
Swapping a crowded office for the peace and quiet of your home office can feel like a dream come true at first. But as time goes by and you have no one to ask for help or exchange ideas with, it can quickly begin to feel isolating and lonely.
There are lots of ways you can satisfy your need for human interaction throughout the day.
Coffee or lunch meetings:
Meeting a colleague, client or friend for coffee or lunch once a week is a perfect way to be social, even if you work alone most of the time.
Local chambers of commerce and other networking groups have regular meetings where you can connect with professionals and grow your business.
Heading out to happy hour at your favorite local spot is a great way to mark the end of the work day and the start of your personal time. You can meet new people and relax after a long day or week.
Group fitness class:
Since your work-from-home schedule gives you flexibility, consider taking a group fitness class during the day. The work will energize you, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded people.
When you work from home, you have to learn to hold yourself accountable and set clear boundaries to get your work done efficiently.
Part of that process is eliminating distractions that encourage you to procrastinate on your work. Social media, for example, can easily take up an hour or more during the day.
Applications such as Cold Turkey eliminate digital distractions for you. You simply create a list of websites you want to block and then add your work schedule. The program will stop you from accessing any of those sites during your work hours, thus making you more productive.
With the proper mindset and good boundaries in place, working from home can be one of the most rewarding work experiences you have. If you’re able to keep yourself motivated and focused, you will likely see dramatic increases in your productivity and output.
That will allow you to take on additional work and increase your income, or cut down your time spent working and give you more free time to pursue other things.
About the Author
Caroline is a freelance writer at Secure Thoughts and a digital nomad who couldn’t image a job working in a cubicle every day. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with other aspiring freelancers.