5 Tips for Motivating Yourself When You Work From Home

I've spent the majority of my adult life working from home when I've not been in academia, and since graduating, not much has changed in that front. Whether I'm consulting on historical projects, writing books, working on my blog/YouTube channel or creating content for clients, motivation can sometimes be difficult.

Personally, I feel like I have a small leg up on others as I've been able to successfully motivate myself for over 10 years now and am totally used to it. However, for some, transitioning to working from an office to working from home can be a huge challenge, and I totally get that. It can be easier to get things done without distractions or without designated breaks. This is opposed to at home where you can give into your desire to binge watch Kimmy Schmidt and online shop whenever you feel like it, because hey, no one is looking over your shoulder to stop you. It can be especially hard if you work for clients or for an employer and the subject matter isn't one you're incredibly interested in or have any kind of passion for.

While my motivation has considerably suffered over the past couple of months (I'm supposed to be working on a book project that I've just really had a hard time picking up again after the first draft), I am writing this post just as much to remind myself how to get motivated.

1. Get Into a Work Headspace by Moving Physically

If you're a writer, you've probably heard about writers that get up, make their coffee, get dressed and shower, leave the house just to come right back inside the house to begin their work day. While that sounds ridiculous, it's actually a great way to trick your brain into getting into the work space. If you have a chronic illness, sometimes rolling over in you PJs is all you can do, but changing locations is always a great way to get into a different headspace. Work on your couch, at a desk, or at a local restaurant with WiFi. This will put you in the mood to work.

2. Set Up Reward Systems

This is something I've really helped works with my motivation levels. If, for instance, a  new TV show episode of the series I'm watching dropped last night, I might set a goal for myself into order to watch it. This might include reading x number of pages in research, typing out a set number of words or editing a set number of pages. I also do this when I'm working out, but instead I tell myself, "You can lower the intensity of your exercise after 10 more minutes." Usually, I just end up adding ten more minutes anyway to the mind game, and I push through til the end.

3. Have a Schedule

This isn't always easy if you're juggling other things in your life, as when you work from home, you are often expected to get things done around your work like cleaning or washing dishes. You may also unexpectedly have to tend to children or pets. However, try and create a workable schedule as much as possible. This may mean working from 9-12 one day and 8 to 8 the next, but as long as you know what to expect, it can be easier to get on with your work.

4. Learn to Say No to People in Your Personal Life

People often believe working from home is code for sitting around watching The Real Housewives. Those of us who do work from home know this isn't the case. However, that means there may be an expectation that you do more chores than your partner who has a conventional job, that you can come have lunch with a friend at the drop of a hat or that you can commit all day to a project at your child's school. While having flexibility means that sometimes you can do these things, don't fall into the trap of doing them all of the time. You still need your work done, and planning to do everything but work isn't going to finish the novel or pay the bills.

5. Focus on the End Goal

Sometimes this can be difficult, especially if you're working on an independent project where the end goal isn't completely clear. But keeping your eyes on the prize does help tremendously with motivation. Even if you're working for a client on something you don't really care about (I spent a year writing about vitamins, I kid you not), focus on the paycheck that will follow.

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