As more and more people are working from home, either due to a change in their career path or because their company agreed for them to telecommute, or because they are self-employed, I often get asked how I stay motivated in a home-office environment.
Some of you know that I sold my former company and as a result have begun working full time with LifeOrganizers.com. I love my new position and I get to work from home. What’s not to love? Well, if you are anything like me, getting up in the morning and not having a pre-defined schedule to stick to or an office to report to can be challenging.
To be honest I was dreading the idea of working from home. I was worried I would not be able to be productive and seriously considered renting a small room in a business center a few miles away, just so I would have to get out of my pajamas and fuzzy slippers. But something interesting happened: the simple act of setting my alarm clock, getting the coffee going in the morning, and sitting down in front of my computer got me started thinking about all that needs to be accomplished.
If you are working from home full-time, establishing a routine that resembles the one you had at the office is crucial. Pay attention to the rhythm of your own thought process and learn to recognize the time of day when you are least productive to take care of busy work, like paying bills, scanning receipts, or doing expense reports; save the high-productivity time for the meatiest, most demanding part of your work day. It may take some time to figure out when this is, but if you set a timer and scrutinize your own productivity, it will make it easier to be highly productive in your home-office.
Here are my tips for staying motivated while working from a home-office:
· Set-up a desk/work area out of view of anything that distracts you too much like laundry waiting to be done or personal hobbies that you enjoy
· Get up at the same time every morning
· If morning exercise energizes you, then work-out, jog, bike, do yoga or meditation, etc...
· Put on the same clothes I used to wear when I had an office to go to (minus the high heels)
· Coffee and breakfast rich in fiber
· Read and answer emails for 30 – 45 minutes then close the program to reduce distractions
· Go to all social media platforms and monitor, schedule posts and, tweets for one or two hours
· Read the news or do some work-related research, check my RSS feeds, work on website enhancements and content and photos
· Break away for Lunch (if I have a business lunch meeting, it is nice to get out and meet at a restaurant)
· If afternoon exercise energizes you (and helps clear your mind, then work-out, jog, bike, do yoga or meditation, etc.
· Return phone calls, answer emails, follow up with people and move projects forward before the business day wraps up (business associates, customers, vendors, etc.)
· Save some time each day to set goals and tasks for the next day, week, month or year
· Use an electronic calendar and a work diary of tasks and when they were completed to keep track of commitments and deadlines
Communicating with people on LinkedIn, social media, email, telephone and in-person keeps you connected and in a circle. Keeping a work diary (especially if you are self-employed) keeps you accountable and boosts your self-worth. Try meeting up periodically with other “work-from-home” professionals in your community to trade strategies and motivate each other! The world of telecommuting can be daunting at first, but as creatures of habit, it will probably be easier than you think to stay motivated!