Working from home can be tough. With Netflix at your fingertips and all your creature comforts within arms length, it’s no wonder so many of us entrepreneurs struggle to stay motivated when you work from home.
But good news for you guys, since I’ve been blogging from my couch for the last four years I’ve pretty much mastered the art of working from home. So today I’m sharing 9 ways to stay motivated when you work from home!
1. Eliminate Distractions
First thing’s first. If you want to stay motivated while working from home, you’ve got to eliminate any major distractions. Distractions are what will keep you from focusing on your work, and as we have all experienced at some point or another, distractions are, well, very distracting. So in order to get in that motivated mindset, you’ve got to eliminate those distractions from the jump. Are you a serial Instagram scroller? Put that phone in another room. Do you check Facebook every 5 minutes? Download a tool that blocks certain websites from your computer for a set number of hours per day.
2. Work with Music
Working with music on in the background is a phenomenal way to get you motivated. For me at least, working with music drowns out any noise inside my head, almost taking me into a meditative space. It provides instant clarity. The music that works best for me is instrumental and beat-heavy (some of my favorite Spotify playlists are here and here), but what’s important is putting on whatever takes you into the zone. So pop in those headphones, blast that playlist, and get ready to work.
3. Sandwich Annoying Tasks with Fun Tasks
Unfortunately there is no job out there that is pure sunshine and rainbows; even the best jobs have their annoying parts. For me, some of those tasks are accounting and answering emails. And don’t get me wrong, they’re totally necessary, just not my favorite. So in order to stay motivated I try to sandwich annoying tasks with ones that are more fun, like photographing something I’ve been really excited about or writing an awesome new post. By starting with something fun, you get your brain into work mode, so that by the time you’ve got to do that annoying task you’re kinetically on a roll. And once you finish that annoying task, you have something else fun to look forward to!
4. Create Small, Digestible Goals
Big picture ideas are great, but without smaller, digestible goals, it can be easy to loose track of your end objective. I love setting mini-goals for myself, because each mini-goal becomes a win in itself. So you end up feeling much more accomplished and excited to continue on when you are able to set milestones for yourself. Bonus points if you create a to-do list. Maybe it’s just me, but crossing items off of a list is so satisfying!
5. Take Breaks Often
My holy grail of being a self-starter: take a lot of breaks. Our brains aren’t great at being pushed to constantly work; they need room to breathe and digest. So I will often work for an hour or so, then get up for 5 minutes to play with Tilly, make a cup of coffee, or eat a snack. My brain is able to chill out for a hot second, and once those 5 minutes are up, I feel way more ready to get back into my work than had I powered through with dwindling energy and motivation.
6. Reframe Undesirable Tasks
Building off of #3, sometimes it can help to reframe the way you think about certain tasks in order to be more motivated to do them. Like I said above, I hate accounting. It’s just annoying to me. But one way I’ve started to reframe accounting is thinking of it as a way for me to see how well I have been doing in the last month or so. So instead of “ugh, I have to write six invoices,” I think to myself “if I get all my invoices done, I’ll be able to see what my profits were for the month!” Re-wiring the way you think of undesirable tasks makes them so much more manageable, and helps you to push through them.
7. Reward Yourself
This is basically the adult’s version of “if you finish your vegetables, you can eat dessert.” Because let’s be honest, when it comes down to it sometimes we have to treat ourselves like little kids. So I like to reward myself for the things I accomplish, because ultimately it pushes me to power through my work. For example, if I’m having a particularly unmotivated day, I tell myself “if you can write this post within an hour, you can go watch an episode of that TV show you love.” And let me tell you, it works 11 times out of 10.
8. Get Your Heart Rate Up (especially in the morning)
I am by no means a morning person, but I have to say that forcing myself to work out in the morning has helped immensely with my motivation for the rest of the day. On days when I don’t work out in the morning, I find my mind feels more sluggish and groggy. And on days I do, work feels legitimately 2x easier. So I highly recommend you do something to get your heart rate up first thing in the morning, whether that means 50 jumping jacks or a full-on HIIT routine.
9. Set a Game Plan for the Day
Starting your day off with a game plan is a great way to motivate and map out what’s to come. You have a set number of tasks to accomplish and you know exactly what you need to do for the day, the steps you need to take to complete them. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or aimless it really helps to talk through what I need to complete for the day. even better, making a list, even if it’s small tasks, and checking them off helps to feel like you’re getting stuff done and moving forward even if it’s small things like “update calendar” or “install image compressor” etc. By the end of the day you can clearly see what you got done (or didn’t!) and set a game plan for the next day.