15 Tips To Stay Motivated While Working From Home
Drew Hendricks
SEP 15, 2015 11:40 AM
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15 Tips To Stay Motivated While Working From Home

by Drew Hendricks


1. Create your ideal working environment.

A number of employees are starting to use the ability to work from home as an opportunity to curate their ideal working environment, no matter where in the world that is. Whether you are traveling the world or setting up a home office, use the freedom of creating your own workspace to your advantage. Surround yourself with calming colors and comforts that might not be available in a normal office, like a stereo system for your work playlists or a bed for your dog in the corner.


2. Get dressed.

You don’t have to go full suit and tie or pencil skirt and blazer, but dressing for the day can make you feel more confident, productive, and ready-to-work than remaining in your sweatpants or pajamas. The act of changing clothes will mark your shift from sleep time to work time, and you’ll be better prepared for your work day.


3. Surround yourself with the right visual stimulation.

If you work within view of the laundry that needs to be folded, the dishes that need to be washed, or even the television, you put yourself at a much higher risk for distraction. Instead, surround yourself with visual signals that will prompt you to work, such as an office calendar on the wall, work memos or post-it notes on your desk, or even business cards. These subtle reminders will prompt you to work instead of fall prey to omnipresent distractions.


4. Set work and non-work hours.

Working from home leads to a lack of boundaries between the two realms. This is great when you need to go to your kid’s soccer game during the middle of the day, but it can also be harder to shut off from work outside of working hours. One of the best things about working from home is being able to set your own schedule, but make sure you end up sticking to that schedule.


5. Keep everything you need for work within reach.

If you find yourself constantly getting up from your desk to find files or paperwork, you’re just asking to be distracted. On your way from your desk to your file cabinet in the other room, you might pass your refrigerator, kids, TV, laundry, or any number of other potential distractions. Eliminate this risk by keeping everything you need for work within reach. Also consider keeping healthy snacks and a full water bottle by your side to eliminate walkabouts.


6. Take breaks.

Most people think of working from home as the most ideal setup in the world. In a lot of ways, it is. But remote workers are at just as much risk for burnout as in-office employees, often without anyone around to spot the signs. Without distractions from co-workers or a break room around the corner, it can be easy to forget to take breaks. Make sure you build consistent breaks into your schedule, and you’ll actually be more productive.


7. Turn off notifications during productivity power hours.

It’s tempting to receive constant email or Skype alerts to ensure that you aren’t missing anything from your boss or coworkers, but this strategy can actually be counterproductive for your work. Make sure you stay connected and available throughout the day, but also designate specific productivity power hours where you turn these notifications off. It goes without saying that you should avoid Facebook and text notifications during this time as well.


8. Overlap some hours with your colleagues.

As mentioned before, one of the best things about working from home is the ability to set your own schedule, but you should make sure whatever schedule you set includes some overlap with your colleagues, and of course, your boss. It’s great to have time to yourself to get your work done at your own pace, but syncing up with colleagues will allow you to bounce ideas off each other and can give you some external motivations on those days you aren’t feeling so motivated to work yourself.


9. Get out of the house.

Working from home doesn’t mean you actually have to restrict yourself to your home. Figure out your best working habits in order to be at your most productive level, but also split your time between a variety of environments. Counterintuitively, white noise from coffee shops can be extremely beneficial to your productivity when your concentration levels are low. Switching up your work location can also be a great way to keep the afternoon slump from turning into an afternoon nap.


10. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Working from home lends itself to a sedentary lifestyle, and although losing the commute is great for a variety of reasons, you also cut out the potential to walk to and from work. Make up for this by getting up to stretch periodically and setting time in your day aside for working out. Taking a break to be physically active will do wonders for your mental well-being.


11. Watch the food you’re eating.

When you’re working from home, the good news is that your fridge and pantry are right around the corner. But the bad news is that your fridge and pantry are right around the corner. Stock up on snacks that are both delicious and healthy, but make sure you are not constantly eating throughout the day. Also make sure to set specific times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just like you would if you were in an office.


12.  Shut the door.

This might seem obvious, but you are working from home, and distractions like kids or dogs are bound to come in and out of your home office setup. This might be fine while you are doing a certain kind of work, but it is not ideal if you are in the middle of a call or meeting. Simply shutting your door and being clear about when you can or cannot interact with family members will do wonders to fix this common issue.


13. Find other people who work from home.

Especially if you are an extrovert, the solitude of working from home can actually be draining for your mental energy. Create your own social environment by finding others who lead the same kind of lifestyle that you do. If you find yourself traveling while working remotely, make an effort to connect with others who are doing the same. Working from home is becoming more and more common, so you will probably be able to find some working buddies for at least some of your days during the week, even if you are not traveling.


14. Spend some time in nature.

Spending most of our time in urban environments actually hurts our cognitive function. If you take a break to go on a walk, exercise, or even read a book, try to do so outside surrounded by something green. Even just the presence of trees will lessen your cognitive load, so opt for a walk in the park over a walk down busy urban streets.


15. Avoid personal tasks during work hours.

It can be tempting to do household chores while you’re waiting on a call or email reply, but one small task can end up turning into ten. You should also avoid personal favors to friends and family during working hours. Those who know you work from home might ask you to sign for a package, let in a repairman, or perform a number of other seemingly harmless tasks. However, this can turn into a pattern that is detrimental to your productivity. Be very clear with friends and family about when you are working and when you are free. When working from home, productivity is always about setting the right boundaries.

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