Stay Motivated When You Work From Home
The importance of motivation when working from home will probably be one of the most important factors in determining if your home-based business or employment will become a success. Most people have become so conditioned to having to travel to their place of work with all the conditions that go with it that the perceived ‘freedom’ from an office-based environment when working from home can result in a lack of motivation.
After all, we all consider our home to be a place of refuge where we can find relaxation and pursue our own social and leisure activities. Therefore, without careful thought and planning, many people fail to adapt to home-based work as easily as they thought they would.
In fact, many people often find the lack of human interaction that they were used to in, say, an office environment drains them of energy and they’re not as productive or as creative as they were when they had colleagues to bounce ideas off. Nevertheless, providing you set yourself some basic ground rules, you can stay motivated and enjoy your new working arrangements.
Avoiding DistractionsIf you thought you often got distracted in the office, you’ll soon discover that there are even more distractions at home which, if not kept in check, will soon result in a total lack of motivation. There’s the TV, of course, then the phone – you’d be surprised at just how many friends assume it’s OK to call you during working hours because you’re ‘at home’.
Then there might be issues around children, pets and things like household chores, e.g. doing the laundry, mowing the garden. To maintain your motivation, therefore, you need to be strict about separating your work-based activities from those other tasks that you’d normally have seen to after you finished work when you were in an office environment.
Make sure you tell friends to call you after you’ve finished work and tell them that visiting you when you’re working is off limits. Don’t have the TV on in the background either.
Keeping Office HoursOne of the best ways to retain your motivation is to set yourself ‘office hours’. Remember, if you have a family, it’s not just about your needs – your family has needs too so, whilst they should respect your need for time and space to get the work done, it’s important to make time for them too, otherwise they may end up feeling neglected and become resentful which is bound to have a detrimental effect on your ability to remain focused and maintain your self motivation.
Keeping to office hours doesn’t necessarily mean having to work from 9 to 5. Perhaps, you have young children you need to get off to school. Therefore, you may decide to put in an hour’s work before the children get up and then come back to your work once you’ve taken them to school. After all, working from home should be about giving you increased flexibility.
Of course, you may occasionally have to work longer hours to meet a deadline but it’s still important to get into the habit of having set working hours that you stick to rigidly if you're going to retain your personal motivation.
Planning Your WorkloadMany home-based workers suffer from a lack of motivation simply because they’re not organised and haven’t bothered to devise a plan for what they’re going to work on each day. Even when working from home, you might find there are elements of your work which you enjoy less than others. The secret here is to complete the tasks that you don’t particularly enjoy completed either first thing or at a time when you know your energy levels are at their highest.
Plan your day into task categories. For example, set aside a time when you’re going to deal with e-mail correspondence and work related phone calls. Obviously, you might need to respond to a particular e-mail or call outside of your allocated slot for this but by breaking down your tasks into separate manageable ‘chunks’, this will help you to stay organised and, more importantly, to keep your self motivation level high.
Choose a Designated Space For Your WorkWhether it’s a spare bedroom, a proper study or the conservatory, make sure you have a designated space for your work and that those you are living with know that it is off limits whilst you’re working. They need to respect the fact that you are working and that they should not be giving you any distractions during these hours.
Remember It’s a Home TooFinally, remember that as well as being your workspace, it is a home too. Therefore, respect those you are living with too. Don’t lock yourself away beyond your usual work time. Take some time off to devote to your family first then if, occasionally, you have to work longer at certain times, then come back to it later.
Even if you live alone, make sure that you don’t get sucked into a culture of long working hours. That will only result in a lack of motivation. Give yourself rewards for your achievements – whether that’s a long soak in the bath, a trip out somewhere or a social gathering with friends.
The important thing is to keep the ‘work’ part separate from your ‘home’ life and to get the balance right. Those who are successful in working from home are those who retain their personal motivation and organise their work/life balance in such a way that they don’t start resenting why they began working from home in the first place. It’s not for everybody but it can be the ideal solution for many people.