Working at home can be a blessing. You have less stress, more energy, can focus on tasks and be able to reach your goals. But staying motivated while working at home can be a challenge, especially if you live alone like I do.
Those of us who work an outside job as well as an online job from home have the benefit of connecting with others before we come home. However, the disadvantage is that we have fewer hours to devote to our passion online.
But during those times when I am at home, I have the same struggles to keep motivated and get work done. During Thanksgiving I have a week off and try to keep to a to do list to make sure I get something finished. It is more difficult at Christmas when I have 3 weeks of vacation. The temptation is to procrastinate.
When working outside the home, you typically have others around you to keep you on task and motivated to finish. There is an energy to working with others that keep you alert and fresh that is lacking sometimes when working from home.
It is important to maintain motivation at all times, but especially if you are working from home. You are your own boss and typically no one is going to check in on you or monitor your performance. I know on vacations, I often put off tasks until the “next day” several days in a row until I kick myself back on track.
Tips to Stay Motivated:
Visualize Your Perfect Productive Day – It is important to think about what your vision about productivity and expectation. Each of us has different ideas about what a productive day looks like and it is difficult to know when it is achieved unless we are specific. Write down what you want to accomplish on a perfect day and be specific about the type of tasks that are important. Use as many details as possible so you will know when you are successful.
Outline Benefits — If you want to make changes, list the benefits you will experience. For instance, if you want to learn how to make videos, how will this help you? Will it get you more traffic, connect you with your audience, help you repurpose blog posts, etc. There are always numerous benefits to every change or situation. The more benefits you can list, the more likely you are to make a change.
Identify Problems – When you make your list about a perfect, productive day, list any potential problems that may occur. What could hinder your progress? What could prevent you from making progress. What are the distractions you could face? Dealing with potential problems help you find solutions early.
Seek Out Tools or Resources—When you examine your details of a productive day and identify potential problems, look for tools or resources you can use. There are online tools to help with time management and organization. There are also mastermind groups that can answer questions you may have about certain processes and faciliate you staying motivated. . Look for Facebook groups where you can ask questions. There are answers available if you will ask.
Sometimes in class students tell me that no one will help them. I ask them who they have asked for help and they look confused. They believe help should come without asking. But other people can’t read minds and people who ask will get answers while others sit and wait.
Stay Motivated and Avoid Perfectionism
Forget Perfection – Your first product will not be as good as you 100th. That’s just a fact. But that should not stop you from creating the first product because you learn by doing. You will make mistakes but that is less important that developing the process.
And I guarantee that others are not as critical of your work as you will be. Staying motivated is difficult when we try to be so perfect we feel we can never quite achieve success.
I look back at the first teaching resources I created and sometimes I cringe. However, some of those products are my best sellers. I hate the colors, I hate the cover, and the font is downright ugly. But others don’t seem to see that. While it is important to have joy in what you do, the person that created that 5 year old product is a different person today.
Staying Motivated with Smart Goals
Vision boards – Some people use vision boards to visualize their goals. I created a board years ago. It had a car on it, cruise, beach, as well as monetary goals. Each day I would look at it and focus on those goals I wanted to achieve.
Use SMART Goals – Outline your goals using the SMART system: Specific, the more specific the better you will be able to reach it. M: measurable. How will you measure success? A: Achievable.
I also tell students my goal is to be an Olympic ice skater, however I have terrible balance and have never been on ice skates in my life. Not achievable. Understand the difference between being realistically achievable and not. R: Realistic/ Relevant. Does this goal move my life goals further? Is it realistic at this time? T: Time bound. Set a time for achieving this goal.
I achieved each of those. Perhaps it was less due to the vision board and more because it created a visual reminder of what to focus on each day. I think sometimes people believe there is some magic in just creating the board. But if it is not used to reflect and focus, then it may not have the desired effect. A vision board is can be a visual reminder of how staying motivated helps you succeed.
Get Support – Even when working from home, you need the support of colleagues. You need support and if you do not have that at home, find people or groups online where you can share struggles and successes on a regular basis.
Be a Problem Solver
Sometimes we lose motivation when problems arise and we don’t know what to do. And staying motivated is challenging when we have problems that take us off task. Often it is more than one problem and it creates a snowball effect. But you can be a problem solver if you focus on your goals and needs. If you know what you want to achieve, you can solve the problems and set up the day for success.
Eliminate clutter, both external and internal clutter that stands in your way. On those days when you are overwhelmed, pare down your tasks to the few that you can accomplish. Success will help you stay motivated.
I would love to hear your tips for staying motivated. Drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your secrets.