If you find it hard to stay motivated while working from home, you are not alone.
In the beginning, it’s easy to find the focus, passion, and drive to bring your dream into a reality, but it’s common for that to taper off.
When you work from home, and no one is supervising, it’s easy to get a little too relaxed.
Unless deadlines are looming, you might find yourself easily distracted and doing everything but working.
Over the years, I’ve tried many ways to motivate myself when I’m just not feeling productive.
Different things fire up different people, but if you’re at a loss, perhaps give one of these motivation tips a try.
Things to Try to Get Motivated and Increase Productivity
1.) Accountability partner:
Find someone in your niche to create mini-challenges with. I’ve done this with a blogger friend.
We used to keep a shared Google doc with a list of blog posts to work on. You can see in real-time when the other person checks something off their list.
If you have any sort of competitive nature, catching up to them is a motivator.
2.) Start small:
If your projects seem overwhelming or your goals too big to achieve, break them into bite-sized chunks.
If you make lists (if you don’t, I don’t understand you at all, please tell me how you live your life), itemize even the smallest tasks.
When you cross off a few super doable things, you get that satisfied feeling of accomplishment which usually leads to more productivity.
3.) Change your system:
Speaking of lists, how is yours working out? Do you rewrite a new one on paper daily? Do you have a list of your lists?
Do you use Google Sheets and have a hard time getting it to load because it’s so ridiculously long? <– me currently.
Maybe it’s time for a change. Asana is an awesome task manager I used with my sister briefly. I’m not sure why we stopped other than task management is an ongoing struggle.
4.) Just start:
The blank page of a new blog post is often a brain-freezer. Once you start typing a few sentences, it’s likely the words will start flowing.
Whatever it is you’re working on, just start even if you’re not feeling it.
5.) Remember why you started:
There’s a reason you started this journey, whatever it may be.
Why do you want to work from home? Are you trying to get out of debt? Saving for a family vacation? Need to pay bills but from home and away from energy vampires?
Whatever the reason is, let it motivate you.
6.) Get visual:
Vision boards and dream walls are cool, but sometimes I go overboard with them.
What works better for me is a goal sheet that I can color in the lines with my progress.
If your home office or the space you’re working in is cluttered, it’s hard to focus.
Try to create an open and clear area, so your brain is less stimulated by whatever hoarding situation you’ve got going on. <– again, me.
8.) Listen to music:
Music is an underrated game changer. The right song can change my mood completely.
Load up your playlists with songs to pump you up and also calm you down if you’re anxious.
9.) Get moving:
Sitting at a desk for hours upon hours is terrible for us all.
Get the blood pumping back into the brain by frequently stretching or doing some jumping jacks at the very least.
10.) Reward yourself:
Create small, reasonable rewards that motivate you.
I recently saw a blogger put a dollar value on each task. Like completing a blog post is $1.00, for example. She uses checkbook registers to keep track.
At the end of a day, week, whenever you decide, transfer the amount you earn into a separate account or use it for your reward.
11.) Let go:
Remind yourself that you cannot control everything. If you’re upset about something you saw on the news, focusing on it all day will not change it.
Direct your energy toward what you can control – getting stuff done in your business.
12.) Be consistent:
Find a routine that works for you. Does your brain feel the sharpest in the morning? Put your most difficult tasks in that slot.
Having a routine and creating work hours is helpful for many.
13.) Be flexible:
Having said that… know that your routine needs to be flexible.
Personal life situations pop up, or even technical difficulties with your computer, your blog, etc. can throw off your day.
For this reason, try to avoid procrastination if you have deadlines.
Know that no one wants to hear your excuses if they are waiting on your project. Just a harsh reality.
Keep track of what you do each day. Simply jot down your actions throughout the day.
If you flip back a few pages and it only says “Netflix”, It’s time for an intervention. (This isn’t judgment; it’s just easy to fall into the binge-watching time warp.)
Make your to-do lists ahead of time. Depending on your project, you can break down tasks and have lists for weeks.
There’s usually no reason to wake up and wonder what you should do. Have that planned.
16.) Be optimistic with a hefty side of realism:
Listen, when I started this work from home stuff in 2010, I had it all figured out.
Failure was not an option. No one could stop me from reaching my dreams, blah blah blah.
Since then, I’ve been kicked enough times to keep it real.
Now it’s more like, yeah I got this, but a bunch of BS is going to happen along the way, and I’ll have to get that too.
17.) Change your scenery:
One of the biggest perks of working from home is the freedom to move from the desk to the couch.
Okay, more like the desk to the deck or somewhere nice outside away from flying stinging things.
Move around a little to see if a different spot in your house changes your productivity.
18.) Watch your self-talk:
Watch your mouth when you’re speaking to you!
When you’re in a funk, it’s easy to beat yourself up verbally.
You have to be your own cheerleader instead. Depending on your home situation, others might be listening and learning by example, as well.
19.) Remove a hurdle:
What’s on your list that’s making you completely shut down? For me, it’s photos. When photography is required, I freeze.
The solution for me on this blog is to use mostly stock images. My goodness is that freeing.
See if you can hire out for anything on your list that’s jamming you up.
20.) Brain dump:
If you can’t focus because you have too many other ideas running around in your brain, do a brain dump by creating a mind map.
I love mind mapping on paper, but it’s even better in digital form!
You can move it around and restructure everything. It’s actually how I planned this entire blog.
I use the free version of MindMeister (referral link), and it’s helpful for me to organize my ideas to clear my mind.
21.) Eat the frog:
I know above I said start small, but if a to-do doozy is haunting you and halting productivity, do that first.
Once you get your most dreaded task done, everything else feels like playtime.
22.) Close tabs:
I see you. You have 12 tabs open on Chrome and 6 more open on Safari.
Close the tabs you aren’t working on to shut out distractions.
23.) Get dressed:
Many people get ready and dressed in business casual attire for their work at home gig.
Personally, I feel like this interferes with one of the biggest work from home perks, but I also get it. Give it a try to see if it works for you and let me know.
I’ll be the one over here in yoga pants.
24.) Think ahead:
Remember how accomplishment feels. There’s a type of euphoria felt after completing a challenging task or even after a productive day.
I know I rest easier at night when I’ve crossed off more of my to-do list.
25.) Stop multitasking:
Allow me to be a hypocrite for a moment because I am a huge multitasker.
When you think about it, though, doing several things at once isn’t good for a lot of reasons.
Multitasking breaks your focus, distracts you, and makes it take longer to complete something fully.
We want that feeling of crossing a job off our lists. It takes longer to do that when we’re hopping between 23 browser tabs.
26.) Get healthy:
This is going to make some people mad, but it works for me, so I’m sharing it.
Cut out the junk food!
Once I stopped eating sweets, my mental clarity and energy skyrocketed.
If you follow a lot of successful entrepreneurs, you’ll most likely see that they have serious health and fitness routines.
This is not just for vanity, my friends. The brain power a healthy lifestyle provides is life changing.
If you lack motivation right now, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Burnout is real, so it’s important to take breaks and practice self-care.
As long as you hold yourself accountable and don’t let breaks turn into quitting, taking a step back can be beneficial.
What do you do to stay motivated while working from home?