Tuesday, August 22, 2006

10 Ways to Stay Motivated When Working From Home

Learn how to keep yourself motivated when you are working from home.

When you work from your home, it can be difficult to keep up the energy necessary to keep on doing what you need to accomplish. You may be all too aware of your comfortable bed beckoning to you from the next room, or develop a sudden urge to clean your house. How do you keep your motivation up and keep on going, without your working at home experience turning into a misery?

1. Schedule structured breaks. After you complete a task or set of tasks that has taken an hour or two, go ahead and go do the dishes or start a load of laundry. You will get up and get your blood pumping a little harder, and feel as though you’ve accomplished something around the house as well. If you make this into an efficient routine, you’ll feel like a dynamo!

2. Pump up the jams. Turn on your favorite music and let it wake up those brain cells and get your feet tapping. One of the advantages of working at home is that you don’t have to worry about what your coworkers might think about your choice of music or the volume at which you listen to it.

3. Open the doors to your house and let the fresh air and sunshine in. This is another advantage that you have. Since you don’t have to work in a stuffy office with florescent lighting, why pretend that you do? Make your environment pleasant, and let breezes and sunlight lift your mood and boost your productivity.

4. If you have wireless internet, and working on the computer is part of your job, purchase a laptop computer and take your office outside altogether. There is nothing like working at a table with a big umbrella outdoors. Take your phone with you. Put on some sunscreen. Be careful not to tell too many people about your office arrangement, because they will be jealous!

5. Give yourself rewards for staying focused for specific amounts of time. For example, after you have completed a couple of hours of work, go and make yourself a tall glass of iced tea and sit down on the couch for five minutes, away from the computer or your workshop.

6. Since working from your home can be very isolating, make sure that you keep up with your friends. You have the ultimate in scheduling flexibility. Call up some of your friends who work in offices and ask them to lunch. You don’t have to worry about when you lunch break is, so you can gladly accommodate their needs. Focusing on the perks that you gain from working at home can be very rewarding. You may also want to join a professional organization so that you continue to meet new people and make new friends and contacts.

7. Take your work away from home for a while, if possible. If you use a mobile phone and a laptop, the world can be your office. Go to a local coffeeshop with WiFi and sip a latte while you are working. Feel how very cosmopolitan you are. This also gives you a reason to wash and style your hair in the morning.

8. Tell your spouse or a close friend about the goals that you are setting for yourself each day. Then you can report back to them that you met or exceeded them. If they are supportive folks, you’ll get some of those pats on the back that we all love to have every now and then.

9. Don’t be a bad boss. Give yourself a break when you need it. Don’t work through the weekend just because you can. Don’t sit in bed with your laptop working on layouts or reports late into the night just because the work is there. Follow a normal routine and you’ll feel fresh to work again the next day. Don’t forget to schedule an occasional long weekend and vacations if you are self-employed.

10. Keep track of your accomplishments. Chances are, few others will, so it will be primarily up to you to self-evaluate and give yourself good feedback for a job well done. Think about giving yourself long-term rewards. Just as employees might receive an employee of the month reward at a conventional job, you should give yourself the same opportunity. Set goals for the week, month and year, and reward yourself accordingly for accomplishing them. For example, go to a nice restaurant at the end of a productive week. Treat yourself to a pedicure or custom car detailing after a month of meeting goals. After a year, go on vacation for a week or two.

If you take good care of yourself, and set the appropriate boundaries between your work life and your home life, it will be easy to remain motivated. Also, focusing on the benefits of working at home helps as well. Be sure to utilize those benefits and not shut yourself up in a closet-like office for most of the day. Enjoy the sun, the long lunches, the mobility and flexibility that working at home can offer. What more can you ask for?

Written by Michelle Gaut

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