Working from home can be great. You can have a more flexible schedule. A work schedule that is more suited to your life and responsibilities.
You have more wiggle room. And gosh that’s great. It sure helps in life.
You can schedule a mid morning dental appointment, knowing you can make up the hours later on that day.
But there is a real pitfall to working from home that can throw a wrench in your plans IF you don’t know how to deal with it.
How to Stay Motivated and Focused
I’m talking about motivation. Or actually about the lack of motivation that can start slowly creeping in over time. Because it can happen.
Working at home can be quite isolating over time, especially if most of your work is done online.
Over time, it gets easier and easier to spend more time on social media rather than Using social media for promoting your business.
Which is exactly what you need to be doing. That and about a dozen other things, including a couple of longer term projects, right?
But……along the way we lost a bit of focus. Has 25% of the work day gone by already today and all that’s been done is dealing with emails and posted on Facebook?
That’s a focus problem. And a lack of focus leads to no motivation.
As a result, our work hours seem to be longer (!) and our productivity level is going down. You ever ask yourself if you’re losing motivation?
Being distracted is being “not in focus”. It’s that simple.
Stay Motivated when you Work from Home
Let’s look at some “should do’s” and a few “shouldn’t do’s”.
Some of these might seem pretty obvious to most of us, but it’s easy to start being way too casual just because you sleep and work in the same building. Way too easy. I know; I’ve been there.
The next thing you know, some of us haven’t even brushed our hair and it’s lunchtime.
Or we’re not even rolling out of bed until mid morning. Don’t become this person….
Plan and Do these things every single day
Get dressed every morning
You may be working from home, but that doesn’t mean you should hang around in your pajamas all day.
You don’t have to wear a suit, but get out of your sleeping stuff and into something normal. Get ready for the day!
Make like you’re going out to work, just a bit more casual.
Open your curtains and let the light in
Natural light will lift your mood and help you focus. And supplement the light with artificial lighting if you need to.
It’s much easier to work in brighter conditions.
If the weather is good, be sure to open a window to let in some fresh air.
Take breaks like you work in an office outside the house
Working for eight hours straight, all by yourself, is enough to make anyone a little stir-crazy. Take your mid morning break and do some stretching.
Or just get up and move around if you have been in front of your computer. Grab a glass of juice and a snack.
Take a one hour lunch break. Have something to eat for lunch. If you have time get out for a walk.
Don’t think about work; this is your time. Give yourself a mental break from thinking of the job.
Meet up with a friend so you get the human contact you’re missing by working from home.
Set aside a proper work space
Placement of your work space can make a LOT of difference in your level of productivity. Are you too close to your TV (and why is it even ON if you are working?)
Too close to the kitchen, so you find yourself distracted by those dirty dishes in the sink?
Where can you find space to work at home? You are going to have to carve out a spot – you need a dedicated work area.
Find that spot and make sure you have enough room to work.
Make your work space a distraction-free zone! This is a MUST. Keep non-work-related items out of your office.
Try and keep a tidy and organized work space. Keep your papers organized and stacked, rather than set down on the coffee table, dining room table and kitchen counters.
Keep all your work related supplies and equipment at your desk. And everything else away from your desk.
Other than a nice spot for your coffee mug of course.
You’ll find that you are better able to focus on the task at hand.
When you focus, your productivity goes up, right? Focus!
Plan to NOT do these! (And watch your productivity grow)
Handle personal business during work time
If you work from home, many times family and friends assume that you can take calls whenever you want.
They may even want you to do things for them at their convenience, and just do your work later.
They can call during your lunch break and expect YOU to work around THEIR schedule.
If you’ve already explained that you can’t talk during work hours, but they call anyway, let their calls go straight to message.
If they come around when they know you are working, just don’t answer the door.
Not being always-accessible may be off-putting to some of your friends and family, but your business and income is important too.
Unless they are going to start throwing money your way each month to pay your bills, don’t pick up the phone.
Obsessively check your email
Make a plan and stick to it! If you get a lot of work-related email, check it in the morning when you start work. Or right after you put in an hour on that new project you are working on.
After you have checked and answered important emails, shut your email down. Now focus on the next task on your daily list.
Anyone can wait for an email reply, so don’t feel obligated to reply right away.
If you get a lot of emails, this can be a huge time suck. Are you on any newsletter email lists that you really don’t read?
Then unsubscribe. The less distraction in your inbox the better.
Think about turning off Facebook notifications so you aren’t bombarded with those emails.
Try and keep your email time down as much as possible.
Focus instead of specific tasks and projects that you should be working on.
Stay off social media
This one may be hard to do IF you are a blogger or otherwise rely on social media for your business. If your business isn’t web related, stay off social media for the entire workday.
Social media can be a huge time suck. It’s one of the biggest time sucks I know.
If you have to be on social media for your business, do what you need to do (Instagram post, FB post, Pinterest pinning) and then get off.
Close down all your social media. Focus on the next task on your daily list.
Work too hard
If you can work smartly and efficiently during work hours, you won’t have to do “overtime”.
Imagine, no after hours work and no working on the weekends. Doesn’t that sound great?
Working smart leaves you with more time to spend with family, and getting out of the house on your time off to have some fun will make you a better worker.
The Importance of Balance in Your Life
Working from home isn’t for everyone, and it won’t work for every job.
Running an efficient home office takes dedication, motivation and self-discipline.
Don’t let your work take over your life. Enjoy your life when you are not working.
Develop roughly the same routine you followed when you went to your job before you worked at home.
That was a schedule you had to get used to and it usually works quite well. Say eight hours a day at work and 8 hours at least for sleeping.
The rest of the time is yours. Both for your other responsibilities and your leisure time.
So stay focused, set aside a proper work space, take time to get dressed every day, and take breaks as needed.
You’ll make it through your work days without feeling isolated.
Want to read about some of the Benefits of Working from Home?