Working from home? 5 tips to help you stay motivated
People may think that working from home is living the dream – no more 9 to 5, no more boss looking over your shoulder or smart corporate dress code. You can spend all day in your pyjamas eating ice cream and watching Orange is the New Black whilst you procrastinate over your work, right? Well, not so much actually. Working from home IS great, but it has its downsides too. It can be hard to stay motivated when you’re your own boss. Everything from what time to start work to how long your lunch-break lasts is suddenly your decision. Staying motivated throughout the day can be difficult, especially if you share your home with children, animals or your partner.
Luckily, there are ways you can increase your motivation, banish the blues and enjoy working at home - our top 5 tips will have you breezing through that 3pm slump like a pro!
Regular breaks are essential
It may sound counter-productive to take regular breaks when you have a heavy workload piling up around you, but here’s why it’s important to ensure you take a breather. Research shows we can only concentrate fully for around an hour, after which time our brains find it more difficult to maintain continued focus on the task at hand. So by scheduling regular, short breaks, you’ll stay focused and actually achieve more! These breaks don’t have to be long ones – a quick trip to your local coffee shop or even five minutes spent in the kitchen whipping up a healthy berry smoothie or making a coffee can give you the mental boost you need.
Boost your energy levels
Working from home is a great opportunity to focus on healthy eating – there are no excuses to hide behind, such as not having the time to make a salad to take to work. When you’re at home you can eat to suit your schedule, so if eating little and often works better for you, it’s easy to do this.
Make sure you always eat a healthy breakfast to start your day, and have healthy, nutritious snacks to hand at all times.
Raw snack bars, soup, fruit or a handful of nuts can give you the boost you need to get through that mounting pile of work. For lunch, opt for nutritious, protein-packed options such as a light tuna or chicken salad, or vegetable soup. In the winter, spicy vegetable and lentil soups are a great high-protein option that will help you focus.
Use an app to stay organised
There are plenty of apps out there designed to help you better plan and organise your time, particularly when you’re working from home. It’s all about finding the right app for you; one which feels intuitive to use and suits your needs. Whilst making a list with pen and paper can also help you to plan your time, you may be more likely to stick to a plan if you receive regular reminders from an app. Try time tracker apps such as Paymo or organiser apps like NowDoThis, where you can create to-do lists that help keep you focused. Visit Creative Boom for a whole host of other useful apps for freelancers.
This tip may sound obvious, but distractions really are the freelancer’s enemy. Whatever type of freelance work you do, you need peace and quiet to concentrate. If you live alone, lucky you – it should be easy to put your head down and get on with your work. If you’re sharing your house with your partner, kids or pets, or you work irregular hours when everyone is home, this might not be such an easy task! Make sure you have a designated office or work room where you can close the door, and be strict with others in your household about your working hours. They really shouldn’t disturb you unless it’s an emergency (or maybe if they’ve made you a cup of tea).
Set regular work times and let your family or significant other know – pinning a timetable to the fridge can help everyone else in the house know when you’ll be unavailable. Switch your mobile phone off or onto silent mode and avoid social media sites unless you’re using them for work purposes.
If all else fails, pack up your laptop and head for a café or your nearest library for a few hours of uninterrupted work time. If you live in or near a big city such as London, check out co-working spaces, where you can often rent a desk or office space for very reasonable prices, amongst other like-minded professionals.
When you’re working in a desk job, particularly from home, it’s important to monitor your activity levels. Make the most of your flexible work hours and fit in a workout at lunch time, go for a walk with the dog or meet friends at the park for a run. Socialising is important too, as the chances are you spend the majority of your day working alone. Renting a desk in a co-working space not only means you’ll get out and about, it also gives you the opportunity to network with other professionals and make new friends.
Hitting the gym or heading to a yoga class when you finish work is the perfect way to make the most of time you would spend commuting in a regular job. Use that hour wisely and de-stress with yoga or burn off lunchtime indulgences with a daily treadmill workout.
Working from home can be great fun – you’re your own boss and you set the hours, nobody else! With these handy tips to help you stay motivated, there’s nothing standing between you and a successful freelancing career.