Staying focused and motivated working from home is often the biggest challenge to new home based workers. Isolation can bring you down. If you’re self-employed and something isn’t going right, you can get discouraged. All in all, working at home can be overwhelming and stressful. However, with some tips and tricks, you can make sure your energy and motivation stay up.
We asked these experts how they keep themselves motivated and organized during their daily work life.
1. Take short breaks. Don’t try to force yourself to stay at your desk and focus for long periods of time. Take short breaks to stretch, get a drink, or go for a walk. I like to get outside and take 10 minutes to walk around the block. When I get back, I can focus much better and I’m more productive..
2. Take advantage of your most productive times. Everyone has different times of the day when they are most productive and able to focus the best. Know the times that are best for you, and try to eliminate distractions and get as much as possible accomplished during these times.
3. Do your easiest tasks when you are not at your best. First thing in the morning and late in the afternoon are not good times for me to be able to focus. I use these times to do small tasks that don’t take as much concentration. That way I still get productivity out of these times, and I save my best times of the day for the most important work.
1. Make a daily to-do list: Having a to-do list gives you visible goals to achieve, helps your time management, and keep things in order.
2. Viewing the big picture: I take time to see and understand the goals of my company, and where I fit in, in making them happen. When you look at the big picture, you are more likely to be ok doing some small menial task and not get discouraged, because you realize that it is for the greater good of the company.
3. Be proud: Be proud of your work. Tell friends and family of what you are working on. Know that you are adding value to your company, and add your own personal touch to everything you have your hand in.
1. Review your day the night before: In a fast paced business like the music industry my schedule is always evolving. In the past, I would have many tasks pile up and it never seemed like there was enough time to get everything done. My solution was to review the following days action items the night before. This process takes the decision making out of the process each morning, and allows me to dive right in to knock out my highest priority items, and stay focused on the task at hand throughout the day!
2. Establish a morning ritual: When I developed this habit, I threw out my alarm clock. I don’t need an alarm to wake me. My passion wakes me, and that feeling is amazing! My morning ritual starts the night before when I go to sleep consistently around 10pm. This allows me to comfortably, and naturally, wake up around 6am each morning. It takes willpower out of the equation and I wake well rested and ready to take on the day! I begin each morning with a gratitude poem. This allows me to go to a grateful state at any point throughout the day when challenges arise. After a small breakfast, I exercise for 90 minutes to get my blood flowing, followed by 30 minutes of reading. Only after my routine is complete do I check my phone, email, messages and begin the day. This process establishes my mental set point for the day and allows me to maintain focus and motivation consistently.
3. Choose a career that you love: It is easy to stay focused and motivated when you are working for your purpose. When work is our passion, we are naturally motivated to achieve at a high level. If the daily grind has derailed the passion you once had for your career, I recommend sitting down and writing down your WHY. Ask yourself, why do I spend 8, 10, 12
hours a day in this job. What impact does my work have on others? What do I intend to gain from this work? If we can refresh our passion for our work, it takes will power out of the equation.
1. Break down tasks into bites. Some goals and projects will seem so large that it’s hard to motivate yourself to get started and keep going. Breaking down the goal or project into steps that take hours or a day will help you stay on track.
2. Set realistic timelines. Nothing kills drive like feeling overwhelmed. Set deadlines for your goals that are tough, but realistic. If the goal is to write your first novel in four weeks, you might want to reconsider.
3. Keep it in perspective. Look at your milestone goals in the context of your one-, five-, and ten-year plans. That means that one shortcoming won’t mean failure and that the sum of small successes can add up to a big win.
Note from Leslie:
I’m going to admit that avoiding slumps has been one of my biggest challenges during my home-based career. It’s difficult to work and be excited when you’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. Here are some tricks I use:
- Start the day with your passion project. Too often we put off the “fun” stuff for the things we HAVE to do. While you certainly need to take care of the things that have to be done (job, bills, etc), there’s no reason why you can’t eek out a little bit of time first thing in the morning to work on the thing that brings you joy. You might have to get up a little bit earlier, or take care of a “have to” the night before, but starting the day with something that excites you can help set the mood of the day.
- Try not to do too much. I love to do so many things, and I get pretty excited about all my projects. Unfortunately, there’s only so much time in a day, and so often my projects don’t get the time they need, so they flounder, which leads to me feeling discouraged. A few times a year, I assess my projects, and get rid of ones that no longer excite me.
- Get real about time. This is another area I struggle with. I often miscalculate how much time something will take, which is why I often take on too much.
- Take care of yourself. Boring but true…what you eat, how often you move, and how much sleep you get impacts your energy and mood, as well as your health.
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