How to Work From Home: 5 Practical Tips to Keep You Motivated
5 Top Ways to Stay Motivated While Working From Home
There are many perks to work from home and it is easy to see why this trend has been steadily increasing in the UK. Studies show that people working from home are generally happier than their counterpart– decreased stress, increased productivity, improved health and a better work-life balance are just among the many pros.
The benefits of working from home or telecommuting are appealing yet committing to it may not always be an easy task as it means imposing high self-discipline and a great deal of time management.
To avoid the potential work-from-home pitfalls like distraction and isolation, here are 5 practical tips on how to stay motivated while working from home.
1. Designate a workspace
While it is very tempting to just bring your “office” to wherever your laptop can roam, this convenience can be both a blessing and a curse. Experts advise people who work from home to assign a designated workplace to enhance productivity and boost concentration.
Setting aside a specific place in your home as an organised and clutter-free work area can help put your brain in a working mindset. The ultimate key in setting your workstation lies, of course, in focus and comfort so you can work from home without any complications.
Tip: Try keeping a green plant near your desk. Scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Uppsala University of Sweden recommend putting office plants to improve concentration and reduce stress levels by detoxifying the air around them. Many telecommuters also swear by opening a window and working in a bright airy space to prevent them from feeling like being stuck in a house all day while working from home.
2. Plan and structure your day
Because working from home gives you a leeway to be very flexible with your schedule, it is very easy to be sucked in to work any time of the day. While it is okay to work on your own time and your own pace, keeping a routine and sticking to it can help you set goals that would keep you on track. Having a daily schedule that you can stick to while working from home helps establish a proper work vs home life division.
Tip: Start your day by taking a shower and getting dressed. You do not have to go all fancy with full-on makeup or suits but getting out of your sweatpants and pyjamas can help you feel more motivated and put together. Because your appearance can affect the way you feel, feeling and looking sloppy can turn in sloppy work.
3. Avoid the distractions
It is fairly easy to get sidetracked when working unsupervised at home so it is important to deal with obvious distractions with utmost self-discipline and self-regulation. Social media and mindless surfing could be your productivity’s biggest scourge.
Instead of being intermittently distracted when you are working from home by idly browsing on your newsfeed or watching cute cat videos, set short internet breaks as a reward. In that way you can get work done and feel as if you have earned the time. There are many free downloadable software apps that can help you from wasting time online, our pick is Time Tracker.
Tip: The right kind of sounds can help drown out distractions. There are many scientific research suggesting that music can affect your productivity and focus. When you are working form home, you can choose w hatever hits your sweet spot, be it the classical route, electronic or ambient, the effectiveness of music in increasing your productive output depends on how immersive the task at hand is.
4. Have a downtime
Remember to get out and take a break when you are working from home! It is very easy to be glued to your computer especially when the kitchen and bedroom is just at arm’s length. Besides the fact that too much sitting can be harmful to your health, doing yourself a favour by peeling yourself off from the screen and taking a short walk outside is restorative and can help you become more creative.
Kimberly Elsbach, a professor at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management, who studies workplace psychology says “Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking. It’s also detrimental to doing that rumination that’s needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha’ moment”. You read it right – get out, take a break and that’s as per doctor’s advice!
Tip: Just because you work from home does not mean you always have to be at home. We suggest going to your local café from time to time. Not only does the change of environment stimulates your creativity, it can keep you from feeling isolated. It also provides an avenue for some much-needed socialising. If you don’t want to spend some quids on tea but want to have the creativity-boosting ambience of a buzzing café, we suggest you try Coffitivity.com.
5. Know your motivation
More than any tip that we can offer, the biggest factor in staying motivated is understanding why you do what you do in the first place. When you find yourself slacking off while working from home, take a moment and remind yourself of your goals. Are you doing this job to earn extra money for something that you really want? Are you working from home to spend more time with your family? To pay off our loans and bills, perhaps? Remember to not lose sight of these motivations.
Tip: Take a pen, write your goals down on paper ( no, not on the computer) and commit to making them. While you may say that this is a bit cliché, there is an actual scientific proof by a psych professor at Dominican University of California showing that people who write down specific goals are more likely to achieve them. Reflect and write away!