5 tips how to stay focused and motivated

There’s something about the beginning of a new year that gets most of us excited to get organized, detoxed, start new activities, challenges, miraculous (?) morning routines and possibly a new sport. Truth is, new year’s resolutions could be started just as well all through the previous or following 12 months, but our minds work that way (it’s a bit like “I’ll start the diet on Monday” kinda feeling) and if a state of mind can finally make us set & work towards achieving new goals, let’s take advantage of it!

Clearly, if you work from home like me, it’s crucial to have self-discipline. So this is the perfect opportunity to try new tips to stay focused and motivated, push yourself to work, organize your day, and have strong self-discipline. As a matter of fact, working from home is a dream for many, but once you find yourself in that situation some of us might feel lost, unproductive, disconnected, unfocused and incapable of finding motivation from time to time. Why does this happen? And how can we prevent it?
Well, here are my 5 tips how to stay focused and motivated whether you are a full-time blogger, a stay-at-home mom, self-employed, an artist, a student… these tips will come in handy, I promise! They have been triggered from personal experience as an expat translator, copywriter, blogger and designer.
After reading through, don’t forget to let me know in the comment what your problem areas are and how you tackle them, I’m sure you have some useful tips to share, too!

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how to stay focused and motivated

  1. 1) Keep work and chores separated
  2. Why is it that working from home might be more distracting you ask? Well, it’s not because we like to get distracted, but in an office environment when you get up for a coffee break, that’s all you do: you drink your coffee, you might chat 5 minutes with a coworker at the water cooler (if you’re lucky enough to have a nice coworker) and then you get back at your desk.
    When you work from home, your breaks consist mostly in hanging the laundry, prepping the meal for your family, possibly vacuuming if you feel adventurous.  These activities end up taking longer than just 5 minutes and since you’re physically at home, you feel guilty if your house is not impeccable (or as close as possible). Problem is, you end up trying to do all at once so nothing gets done well. So my tip is to manage your time wisely: set a  schedule for work, one for housework. Do what’s best for you, your job and your family, without trying to do everything at once hence doing everything haphazardly, only to be left feeling at the end of the day you didn’t have enough time for any of it all.
    Try this: put an alarm on your phone to remind you of certain things you need to do at a specific time. For example: 11.30 start preparing lunch so that everything is ready when your family comes home and you don’t have to rush; or 2pm go set the washing machine so it starts exactly during the energy-saving time and you can forget about it (but don’t forget to hand the laundry!).
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2) Define a work area

Working from home, you might tend to work from the couch, standing at the kitchen counter top, and sometimes from your desk. Sounds familiar? In truth, my “desk” area is not very inspiring, with no proper shelving or drawers  and the whole office room is the messiest of the house, a repository of half-empty boxes and stuff we don’t know where else to put. Working in such conditions is not ideal, especially when you have to rely solely on inspiration and self-motivation to get shizz done.
Try this: define a specific work area if you don’t have one already and try your best to make your work space better, calmer, more organized. Get rid of stuff you don’t need; find a place for the stuff you need; try to stick to your desk; get a comfortable office chair (or exercise ball in my case) that will not leave you in pain after a work day; bring in plants; move your desk closer to a window.
This is one of my new year’s resolutions, let’s hope I can make it this time :-)

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3) Make time for work and a little time for distractions

When you work from home, you have to detect your sources of distractions in order to tackle them and solve your problem areas. Say you know you’ll end up browsing StumbleUpon, social media or shopping sites looking for bargains – set a timer (like the good ol’ times’ school bell) that gives you freedom to just get distracted for 5 minutes, and imperatively go back to work after those 5 minutes. Set a new timer for 45 minutes, and do nothing but work in those 45 minutes. No distractions allowed, no browsing, no smartphone, no checking your social media every 10 minutes, no getting up to grab a snack. Once you start working and find yourself in a productive routine, it’s important to keep that momentum going by not being distracted or losing focus. You can do it! Keep such a rhythm all through the day, and your work will get done :-)

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4) Use a planner / organizer

Even though I download all possible apps for lists’ making, planning, calendar, tracking tools etc. nothing beats pen & paper for me. In order to stay focused, writing down and not simply typing goals, to-do lists, projects etc. will help you stay more focused and accountable. I know there’s plenty of great planners out there – please, if you have any good ones, let me know what you use – what I’ve just bought is a Dokibook so more tips about planning will come soon. Stay tuned!
Try this: create a to-do checklist of things that need to be completed for the day, finish all you can and bring to the next day what hasn’t been done. Also define some weekly goals/tasks that will help you staying focused and get stuff done and plan content/projects ahead as much as possible.

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4) Stay active

Getting up in the morning and walking up to your desk, while considerably less stressful than commuting to your workplace, can take still take a toll on your mind and body. It’s no secret that weight gain is a problem many encounter when they switch from a full-time job outside in the world to working from home. One crucial thing to do each day, no matter the weather, is to take a walk outside, or go for a jog, possibly enroll in a gym, anything that makes your body move and clears your mind. Not only you’ll stay fit, but your mood will improve and new inspiration will pour in.
Try this: take a 15-minute brisk walk either in the morning or at lunch time. Other days, go for a run after you’ve finished work. These activities won’t cost you a dime and will help you get in shape and improve your mood.

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5) Make it a choice

If all fails, and you feel it within you that you’re still lacking motivation, well… simply don’t rely on motivation to get stuff done. Remind yourself that working from home is a huge privilege, and just like in a previous life your daily actions were a chain of choices from getting up to getting to work, etc. try to do the same now.  Choose to be productive, do to the best you can, choose to use your time wisely, to finish your workload, to learn a new skill instead of wasting time. Simply make conscious choices.
Try this: without our families, partners and clients, we wouldn’t be able to live the lifestyle we love. So, let’s not take it for granted—not a single day—and instead let’s be thankful, and let’s make choices and find ways to stay on task and keep on working.

…Keep The Conversation Going!

The biggest takeaway from this is that working from home is achievable for anyone who has the discipline to work on their own, and also realistic expectations for it.  But hey, this topic doesn’t have to end here! I will be hanging out in the comment section below to chat and answer any questions, so feel free to leave a comment if there’s anything you’d like to ask or if you have some tips of your own :-)
Also don’t forget to pin this post so that other people can find it and benefit from it! ♥

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More about Francesca @ Seven Roses

I am an expat designer, lifestyle blogger, copywriter, translator, social media manager and all-round creative. I offer a wide variety of design services. I can’t wait to hear from you and find out how I can help you with your next project!

Comments

  1. Reply

    thank you for these. great reminders. I have such a hard time keeping work and chores separate. I’ll be sitting in my office looking out to the living room and see things that need to be done! These are going to be implemented today!

    1. Reply

      Hi Kristen, thank you for your comment :-) When I was working full-time outside the house I never thought that chores would play such an irresistible urge when working from home…. you live and learn I guess :D

  2. Reply

    These are great tips! I need to make sure I don’t get distracted whenever I’m doing something.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    1. Reply

      Hello Belle, thank you for stopping by. I am the same, I get distracted too easily, and technology doesn’t help in this, as we have the world that is just one click away… that’s why I realize more and more how self-discipline and focus play a big role. How do you fend off distractions? Any tips?

  3. Reply

    I do all of these and I have a separate place for my work, but I tend to start to move all over the place after a while of being there. I feel like it does not help with my distraction. Do you have any tips for when that happens?

    1. Reply

      Hy Krysten, thank you for your comment. My advice would be to define a *second* work area… wait what? A second one? Yes indeed. Let’s say you have your desk all set up for work, but you could find another spot (a little table, an unused corner of the house) where you can set up a second, less formal work area where you can go with your laptop when you don’t feel like sitting at your desk. A change of view might even be good to find motivation again… That’s what I’m thinking of doing as we have a small dining table close to a window that we never use for dining.

  4. Reply

    I really need to work on my organization. Thank you for these tips!

    1. Reply

      Thank you for your comment lovely :-)

  5. Reply

    I struggle with not going outside. Sometimes several days will pass before I have to actually leave the house. Thanks for the motivation to get some sunshine :)

    1. Reply

      Hi Michaela, thank you for stopping by :-) Going outside is so important, not only for a daily dose of Vitamin D but also to get new inspiration and get our bodies moving. I am guilty myself of not always following this tip in the past but I’m definitely working on it nowadays.

  6. Reply

    Thank you for the reminders! I have a habit of getting caught up in “home stuff” while I’m supposed to be doing “work stuff” too, lol.

    1. Reply

      Hey Sam, thank you for your comment :-) sometimes “home stuff” seems more appealing than work, how is that even possible?! #thestruggleisreal :D

  7. Reply

    These are great tips! I am a huge planner, so that is my favorite.

    1. Reply

      Hey there Jessica, do you have any tips for a newbie planner? I’ve always had planners, organizers and agendas all through my life but I’ve only recently started using one “the proper way”. And I’m so in love with the whole concept of a well organized week/month/life =)

  8. Reply

    Oh, boy! I’m in trouble. I need to do ALL of these things. Staying focused is not one of my strong areas.

    1. Reply

      Hello Kimberly, thank you for your comment. Staying focused is a constant struggle when one is very creative and very busy at the same time! I hope some of this tips will come in handy :-)

  9. Reply

    Being self-employed and working from home takes so much more discipline than I ever expected. I know I can do way better at time management and a lot of it is about creating the right environment and habits.

    1. Reply

      Hello Michelle, you said it right: creating the right environment and especially the right habits is so crucial! And it’s a constant process, it never ends… but we’re lucky to have such “problems” :-)

  10. Reply

    Great tips! I set aside time in the morning to be on the computer. My afternoons are for creating recipes. By making a schedule, I stay focused and get things done.

  11. Reply

    Good tips! I am applying all of them actually :) They help very well. My favourite is the work area! X
    Nadine Cathleen | Karateandcaviar.com

  12. Reply

    I love these tips! I can do part of my job from home and it’s so nice set up own schedules, use breaks more effectively and not to spend any time on traveling to work and back home from there. I wish I could work completely from home one day. :)

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