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!
1) Keep work and chores separated
- 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!).
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 :-)
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 :-)
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.
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.
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! ♥