For many of us, the idea of being your own boss – starting a business or setting up as a freelancer - is very appealing. No more commutes or appraisals, working when you want and deciding which projects to take on. And we all know that retraining or learning from home can be really convenient. But trying to stay motivated while working or learning from home has its own challenges. You need to stay on top of your own motivation without getting too lonely or letting your work seep into other areas of your life.
Here are some tips to help make it work for you:
Work at Times That Suit You – and Don’t Feel Guilty if it’s Not 9-5
Humans want to follow the herd. We see everyone else commuting to work early in the morning and home again at night and feel as if we should do the same. But 9-5 doesn’t suit everyone. Some people work better before dawn and others get most done late at night. Take advantage of your flexibility to find the time where you are most productive.
Work with Other People Who Will Help You to Stay Motivated
Working from home can be a lonely business. If you’re finding yourself craving company, try meeting up with other freelancers or students in a library or café. You could even choose to rent a desk in a studio space.
If not, meet online. Chat on Twitter (follow people who are in a similar sector) or join a freelance community online – just search freelance on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus to find one that works for you.
Use Productivity Apps to Help You Stay Focused
This blog reviews some of the best. Have a go at a few different ones and find one that helps.
Create a Work or Study Space at Home
If you work, eat and play in the same space you can end up getting frustrated and bored. You get distracted when you’re working and can’t stop thinking about work when you’re cooking dinner or spending time with the family.
Create a space that’s just for work – whether that’s a desk in the corner or a study office. You don’t have to work there all the time (in fact, the variety of the odd day in a café or library can help keep things interesting) but when you do sit down at home, you know you’re there to work.
Make Sure You Take Breaks and Days Off
It’s all too easy to get distracted in the morning, work through lunch as a result, feel tired and slow down in the afternoon and end up feeling guilty all evening, checking emails on your phone. To break this cycle, make an effort to schedule in relaxation time. Stop for lunch and get up and walk around.
Just as important is to make sure you switch off. Choose a time when you stop checking work emails and stick to it whenever possible.
Set up a little system of rewards to stay motivated. After two more pages, you can have a cup of tea. After four more you can have a biscuit. After you’ve finished this article you can have lunch.
Do you work or learn from home? What helps you stay well, productive and focused?