I'm not sure what's going on, but I’m having one of those days where I can’t stay focused. I’ll be busy working on a project and then magically, I end up on Facebook waisting 20 minutes going through my newsfeed. Then I’ll start working again only to be distracted by email, which needs to be cleaned up and reorganized. After spending an hour going through all of my email accounts, I decide I need a pick-me-up, so I make a smoothie. But then I notice the dirty dishes in the sink and before I know it … it’s time to pick up my daughter.
Have you ever had one of those days?
When you work from home, it’s imperative that you minimize distractions and that you maximize your work time. Not staying on task can have harsh consequences ranging from:
- Losing money
- Delivering sloppy work
- Missing deadlines
- Losing sleep because you need to catch up on work
- Missing out on family time
- Increased stress
- Even termination
When you start to feel unmotivated, here is how to stay motivated when you don't feel like working.
1. Eliminate Triggers
When you work from home, you are bombarded with distractions — from household chores and neighbors asking for favors to TV, kids, pets, and Facebook. If you're going to successfully work from home, you need to eliminate the triggers of distraction from your day.
First, identify all the items that distract you during your work day, once you have this list you can create a solution for each trigger. If Facebook is a significant time drain for you, try using an application like Isolator that covers up your desktop, icons, and windows of all other applications, so that you can focus on the task at hand.
Have neighbors that always stop by? Set and communicate your office hours to them and let them know that they need to call before they come over. If this doesn’t work — don’t answer the door. Eventually, they will get the hint. The more aware you are of your triggers, the better equipped you can be at avoiding them and the distractions.
2. Get Perspective
There are going to be days when you just don’t feel like working. When this happens you need to bring yourself out of the funk as quickly as possible. An easy way to accomplish this is to give yourself a healthy dose of perspective and motivation. Try using Pinterest to create a vision board that can be easily accessed. Include quotes, inspiring stories, accolades that you've received, motivational videos, and images of your goals, dreams, and family. As little as ten minutes can change your mood and give you the push that you need to get going again.
You probably started working from home so that you could have more flexibility in your life, so don’t sabotage your position by missing deadlines, delivering sloppy work, or dropping the ball on projects. Make sure to communicate clearly with your boss or clients on expectations, goals, and office hours. Be on task when you’re supposed to be working. Taking advantage of your telecommuting status by abusing the trust your employer has placed in you can put your remote working status and job in jeopardy.
4. Plan it Out
One of the easiest ways lack of motivation can sneak up on you is when you’re ill-prepared for your workday. Without having a clear-cut plan in place, you’re left flailing around not getting anything done. In fact, Dr. Chris Stout, Author of Meaningful Productivity says,
“The real trick that I have found valuable enough and scalable enough to use on every one of my (to-do) lists is to put too much on them. I know that may sound like some braggadocious, over-achieving, masochistic approach to self-harming behavior, but by golly, it seems to work. It’s reminiscent of that old chestnut “if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” There is something magical about having a lot to do that seems to paradoxically aid in getting things done.” [Source: LinkedIn]
I have to agree with Dr. Stout on this one; I know when I have a huge to-do list, I’m always more productive than when I have less to do. But the key is to have that to-do list in place; so plan out your day either the night before or first thing in the morning.
While distractions and lack of motivation will occasionally rear their ugly heads, these coping methods can help you get back to work faster.
What coping methods do you use for dealing with lack of motivation?
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she’s been able to figure out how to find a career path that you’re truly passionate about. Holly’s had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
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