3 Tips to Stay Motivated and Efficient While Working from Home
I’ve been working from home for the last five years, so when I saw Meredith Haberfeld’s session at SXSW titled, “Remote Workers are People too,” I knew I had to attend. As Meredith pointed out during her presentation, working from home isn’t for everyone. Telecommuting is a skill, and according to her, is best suited for people who are “self-generated and motivated by setting and achieving personal goals.” And as someone who has worked virtually — and hired people to work virtually — I wholeheartedly agree with her. The good news is that for those who are self-disciplined and can get things done with little to no supervision, working from home is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Working remotely has a lot of benefits – more work/life balance, no commute, and saving money on food and dry cleaning are just a few. However, it can sometimes get a bit lonely and hard to stay motivated while sitting in an office solo every day.
Here then are three things you can do to stay on track and keep your momentum going:
1. Have a Set Morning Routine, Just as if You Would if You Were Heading to an Office
Here is mine: every morning I wake up at 5:30 a.m., work out, then shower and do my hair, makeup, and get dressed, ready to conquer the day. My goal is to be ready to start by 8 a.m. – this gives me plenty of time to not feel rushed, get the kids ready for school, and start my day off right.
And have you ever heard the quote, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” It’s true! The better you feel about yourself, the more confidence you will have to take on anything thrown your way. So get into the habit of waking up a bit earlier to spend time on you – it will be worth it!
2. Stick to a Schedule
Working from home makes it easy to work past 5 p.m., telling yourself you will leave in five minutes, and then ending up shutting down close to 8 p.m. In fact, working excessive hours is a common theme I hear from my virtual buddies, and having a set schedule to stick to can help a lot. So give yourself a cutoff time every evening, and set an alarm to make sure you follow it. Why? Because it is so important to disconnect each day to take time for family or personal time; if you don’t, you will burn yourself out from working too much. And the more routinely you follow the schedule you set for yourself, the easier it will be to clock out when you tell yourself to.
3. Find Virtual Friends for a Social Circle (in Addition to your Regular One!)
Working from home can be extremely peaceful and can eliminate distractions that come up working in an office, but it can also get a bit lonely too. Therefore, it’s important to have virtual friends to socialize with when you start feeling isolated – i.e. ones who can relate to your situation. Joining social media groups with people in your industry or who have common interests is a great place to generate conversation throughout the day. If there are other people from your company who work from home, reach out to them to setup weekly or bi-weekly chats to keep in touch. You would be surprised how much a brief, friendly conversation can improve your mood on days you are feeling secluded from the rest of the work force!
If you are thinking of converting to this type of streamlined job format, where work and home go hand in hand, it is important to get into a routine, stick to a schedule, and find new ways to socialize to set yourself up for success. You will be in good company, since the work-from-home phenomenon is here to stay: in fact, with more companies moving to a flexible working environment, the amount of people taking advantage of this trend continues to increase year after year. According to www.globalworkplaceanalytics.com, the population of regular work-at-home employees has grown by 103% since 2005, and over 3.7 million employees now telecommute at least half the time. Just be sure to consider the tips/factors above if you are thinking of taking the plunge!7