Whether you’re home alone and the house is too quiet, or you’re home with the family and the kids are out of control, you may find it’s tough to stay on task, get your work done, and feel productive. Fortunately, the following strategies can help you stay motivated when you work from home.
1. Create a Schedule
Without a structured workday, time can get away from you. You might find that you start shifting your workdays later and later as you sip an extra cup of coffee. Then, your work hours extend later into the evenings, which causes you to stay up later at night as well.
2. Establish a Dedicated Workspace
You might be tempted to work in bed. After all, it’s likely the most comfortable space in the house. But when you associate your bed with work, it can interfere with your sleep. And trouble sleeping will affect your performance the following day. Most sleep experts recommend reserving your bed for sleep and sexual activity.
3. Work in Small Blocks of Time
Blocking out small amounts of time—and planning what you’ll do during that timeframe—can make big tasks feel more manageable. You might find you have more motivation when telling yourself that you just need to complete one invoice in the next 30 minutes, rather than telling yourself that you have 50 invoices to create by lunchtime.
4. Limit Your Distractions and Interruptions
You might find that you struggle to get back on task each time you’re interrupted. You can stay motivated by limiting the distractions and interruptions you experience. This may mean muting your phone notifications and only checking your email once an hour. Or place your phone on “Do Not Disturb” until you complete a specific task.
5. Practice the “10-Minute Rule”
It can be hard to convince yourself to start working on a task you really don’t want to do. Whether you know it’s going to be boring, frustrating, or just really challenging, convincing yourself to get started is tough. One of the best ways to get moving on something you don’t want to do is by using the “10-minute rule.” Tell yourself that you only have to work on something for 10 minutes. Then, after the 10-minute mark, you can take a break if you want.
6. Reward Yourself
You might find you work best when you know there’s a little reward waiting for you. For example, tell yourself you can watch your favorite show if you get your work done by 6 PM. Or tell yourself you can have a cup of your favorite tea as soon as you finish this report.
7. Challenge Yourself
Sometimes, a little challenge can help get you moving too. For example, you might try to write a certain amount of words in 30 minutes. Once you see how many words you write in 30 minutes, you might try beating that during the next 30-minute time slot.