How To Stay Motivated and Focused When Working From Home
People have this romantic view of working from home: working from wherever is comfortable, in fuzzy pajamas and slippers, with the freedom to do whatever you want. The reality is – it’s rarely that easy. Sure, there’s comfort, but there are tons of distractions too – distractions that usually don’t exist if you work outside your home.
The distractions just might be endless: TV, social media, a pet. Even the dishes or the laundry make good distractions if you’re not totally energized (procrastination, anyone?). The worst distraction though, is probably the complete loss of motivation and concentration.
Six Tips to Stop Motivation Dives
Fear not. There are ways to avoid the distractions and loss of motivation that can be troublesome when working from home.
- Make some effort in starting your day.
Start your day not with a bowl of cereal in front of your computer with the first cup of coffee, but by getting dressed, as if you are going to work. It is harder to be focused and motivated when you are still in your pajamas. Make yourself breakfast and sit down to eat it before you move on to work. Then, move into your work space for the day and get started.
- Set up a specific place to work and set up your computer for fewer motivation-killing distractions.
Curling up on the couch (or in bed!) with your computer and phone may be comfy, but chances are, that’s also setting yourself up for distractions. I tend to scroll Facebook more when I am working somewhere other than at my desk.Put your computer in a spot where you’ll be comfortable, but able to focus and work. For me, it’s at my desk. Add things to your work space that will help you concentrate – like headphones, if needed, and a white board. Make sure you have the right tools for the job too, whether that’s your computer and planner, or tools you need to create physical items.
- Track how you spend your time.
There are a variety of task tracking tools meant to help you manage your time. RescueTime is one you can look into. Let it run in the background of your computer and then analyze where it says you’re spending your time. What comes out of that analysis can help you to arrange your tasks so you get more done when your energy is high and you’re motivated. It can also show you where your distractions are causing issues that lead to frustration.Don’t let yourself just scroll Facebook during your work time. It’s not actually work. Really. If you use Google Chrome for your browser, you can download an extension called Kill News Feed that will literally kill your Facebook newsfeed so you can’t scroll when it is turned on. You can still access your page, groups, etc, but you won’t be able to waste time scrolling your newsfeed until you turn it back on. Pretty handy, huh!
- Structure your task list to work with your energy.
This is a big one. The transition from office work with other people and outside motivation to working from home can be a strange one. For some, it’s harder to focus and there are massive energy spikes and lulls. That’s why it’s very important to work as your concentration allows it. Don’t force it, because that will kill your motivation and your work won’t be fun or enjoyable. Forcing yourself to work only leads to frustration and more trouble concentrating. It’s an annoying loop that’s tough to get out of sometimes.
- Be flexible with that task list.
If you find that a task is taking longer than it should, or you’re finishing projects more quickly than expected, it’s important to acknowledge that and be okay with changing up your project list. It is great when you can clear it more quickly than expected, and it’s a drag when you realize you can’t get everything done that you want to, but don’t put more pressure on yourself when things are difficult. Accept it and just keep moving.
- Schedule breaks and take them.
Plan something fun and energizing for a specific break time. Schedule it, and guard that scheduled time. When you know that you have a break coming up, it’s often easier to concentrate and get more done. Anticipation is a fabulous motivator. You might be shocked to find out just how much you can achieve when you know you have fun time coming up.
Also, it’s easy to forget to eat when you’re working from home, so make sure that you occasionally take a break to eat and get something to drink so you stay hydrated.
- Make some effort in starting your day.
What are some of your biggest motivation blocks when you’re working from home? What do you do to overcome those blocks? Leave me a comment – I’d love to know!