Everyone loves the idea of working from home; staying comfy all day, no horrible commute and no having to put up with office politics. However, the reality is that although the thought of working from home is attractive, it can be incredibly hard to keep motivated and keep performance standards high.
I worked in an office environment for years alongside my photography job until I decided to bite the bullet and work solely on my own business at home. In this blog I will provide you with the help you might need to keep motivated whilst working from home.
1. Make your bed
When you suddenly find yourself with an abundance of spare time you (definitely me) may find yourself watching more YouTube videos than you care to admit. One of the videos I found myself watching was a motivational speech by William Harry McRaven, a retired United States Navy Four-Star admiral. I was really moved by this particular speech, McRaven opens by explaining that
“if you want to change the world start by making your bed”
As I can’t really say it any better or add any more on the matter, I’ve included his video in this blog. Definitely give it a watch.
2. Get Dressed
One thing I instantly started doing when I started working from home is working in what were basically pyjamas, because, well, why not right?
Because you should never underestimate the power of power dressing, that’s why. I soon noticed a definite change in my productivity on the days I decided to dress as if I was going to work as opposed to the days I worked in my comfy clothes.
For similar reasons to why you should start the day with making you bed, dressing as if you were going to work will successfully put you in the correct mindset to start your day as you mean to continue it. Motivated and successful!
3. Set a schedule and write it down
The best advice I could give you on this subject is to do your best to treat your day exactly how you would as if you were going to a job that wasn’t working from home. Get up at the same time every day for 5 days and give yourself 2 days off, give yourself lunch breaks and finish at the same time. It’s easy to lose track of time when working from home, it’s also easy to check your notifications and just quickly answer an email at 9pm in the evening. Setting a schedule won’t only help you set a steady routine but will also help you have the rest time you need.
Schedules are also a great way to control some of the mental disarray some people can experience. For example, people who are self-employed can have so many things go through their head all at once, marketing, accounts, the job itself, writing down what needs to be done in a set schedule will help you prioritise and deal with one problem at time relieving some of that anxiety and stress.
This is a great website going into further information as to why a routine can benefit you.
4. Set yourself competitive goals and rewards
For those of us who are a little competitive and work better with incentives who else can you compete with when you work from home other than yourself?
Whether its daily, weekly or monthly goals it’s always helpful to motivate yourself by treating yourself to little rewards once you’ve completed them. For example, for myself, if I managed to confirm 5 bookings last month, I will aim to book 7 this month and if I manage it I will treat myself to a little something-something. The reward can be something relative to the size of the task, or you can create a “treat cupboard” with chocolates/bottles of beer etc that you can go into every now and then when you feel like you’ve accomplished something over and above your standard daily task.
5. Keep up to date.
Set some education time aside in your weekly schedule, because keeping up to date in the world of your business will give you the confidence you need to keep on giving it your all.
It’s not always easy to keep up to date with how quickly things change both in the workplace and out. It’s made easier when you work for a company who provide training, it’s harder when you work for yourself and don’t have access to what’s new. Here are a few things you can investigate during your education time.
-Forums & blogs. There is a plethora of online forums and blogs (such as this one) you can find which will give you helpful hints and tips on pretty much anything to do with your business, whatever your job maybe.
-Books. Call me old fashioned but I still love reading books and there are all sorts of great reads you can get. I recently bought The busy girls guide to photography & A beautiful mess photo idea book which are both amazingly helpful and look great on the bookshelf
-Invest in a class. It’s the most expensive option, especially when you can access free information online, but for me personally this is the best way to learn, with someone physically there you can bother with loads of questions.
-Network – Joining networking events for both businesses in your field and businesses in general will help get the word out there for your business amongst other professionals and help you talk to other like-minded people who you can share ideas and proposals with
6. Get some fresh air.
A few months of working and living from home I soon found myself practically clawing at the walls with cabin fever.
It’s so important to remember that just because you’re working from home it doesn’t mean that you’re trapped there. Going back to the point of setting a schedule, I can’t stress how important it is that you dedicate some time in your daily routine to make sure you get some fresh air and stretch your legs. Venturing outside will help you produce vitamin D from the sun (when it does come out), which is essential for many bodily functions including supporting our immune system. Fresh air also gets more oxygen into your lungs, giving you more energy and sharpening your mind.
7. Separate business and leisure
This point is looking at where in your house you spend your time. I didn’t really have anywhere specific set up when I first started working from home, I just sat on the sofa with my laptop and worked like that.
As soon as I moved from the living room to a room recently set up as a small office, I moved away from distractions such as the TV and the dog wanting lots of attention. This massively helped me with my blog writing as without the distraction I was able to stay in the “zone”(which is a real location that takes about 30mins to get to) and ultimately helped me smash through my work. It’s important to do everything you can to make sure you remain focused.
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re exempt from having those bad days everyone at work can get. Separating your working area from your home area means that if you do have a bad day you can remove yourself both physically and mentally from that area and move yourself into a relaxing place of rest.