Being an entrepreneur, running your online business from anywhere in the world, and working on your own schedule, sounds like a dream. But is it as easy as it seems? While there are plenty of perks to working from home, it can also be difficult at times. Here are the top tips I have on how to stay motivated and organized when working remotely, so that you really can have it all!
Let’s start this off with talking about your work space. If you’re working from home, it’s really important to have a dedicated space you work in. This could mean having your own room as an office, or even simply a desk which is just used for work. I HIGHLY recommend not having this space in the same room you sleep in, as you want to be sure to dissociate work from rest.
Next, make the space unique to you! Have photos, art, plants, etc in the space - anything that makes you feel inspired and happy. What would that be for you? For me, I always keep my space organized and clean, since having a clean space helps me focus. I also have it filled with plants, because I love having them around me while I work. Having a work space that you enjoy being in will make you want to “go” to work, and get the tasks done you need to do in a day.
Another important part of working from home and staying organized is setting up a routine that works for you. Here are some example of things that help me with planning my day!
Every night, before I go to bed, I write out my list of things to do the next day. I think it is important to do it before the next day starts so that you can clear all your ideas and thoughts out of your head before resting, knowing you have them all written out. I organize it by work, and personal tasks. Because I am a freak when it comes to organization, I also list them out in order to be completed, and add an estimated time frame of how long it should take and when it should be done by. Pro tip: I usually allot more time than needed for each task so that if something takes longer than expected, I have time to catch up. It also helps me feel accomplished if I do complete the task on time or earlier than I estimated.
When creating daily tasks, or even larger goals, it’s important to break them down into manageable steps, and to give more than expected time to do them. If you create a list of tasks to do in a day, and have far more than you think you can accomplish, you will feel defeated by the end of the day. By making your list and goals manageable and easy to accomplish, you will finish the day feeling good about what you were able to do, and ready for the next day!
Along with writing lists, as part of my daily routine, I make sure to get some fresh air in the morning. Getting a bit of movement and sunshine in really helps start my day on a great foot, and helps wake me up. Though this may not be for everyone, I suggest finding ways to start your morning out right before getting to work.
Show up for the day! What I mean by this is make sure to get ready and get dressed for work. I know it sounds silly to do, but working from home can cause you to become a bit of a hermit. I’ve had my fair share of days waking up in my pyjamas, working in those same pyjamas, and going back to sleep in them. By getting ready and dressing up for your day, you feel more motivated to work, and present. Trust me when I say this will change your outlook on your day.
Along with spending time outdoors, and getting ready for the day, I make sure to leave my house at least once a day. It’s easy to stay locked up in your home all day when you live and work from the same place, so make sure to get out for a bit! For me, it’s going for morning and afternoon walks, and going to the gym. For others it might mean working from a coffee shop, meeting friends for lunch, attending a workshop or class for something you are interested in, the list goes on.
Set Your Limits
While working from home is amazing, there are different distractions you may have to encounter that you wouldn’t in an office space. Do you live with anyone? Do you have any pets? Are you working in a space that will distract you? These are all important things to consider as well.
When it comes to living with others and working from home, see if there is anyway to work in your own room/space. Not having others around to distract you can really help. Don’t be afraid to set limits and expectations with them on what is and is not acceptable as well. I always tell my significant other that working from home should be treated the same as if I was working at an office. Just because I am home does not mean I am available to chat, help with things, etc. I know it sounds silly, but be clear on what you need to do to be productive and treated like this is your job.
Another tip, don’t multitask! It can take your brain 5 - 20 minutes to get focused on a new task, so if you are jumping from one thing to the next, you are wasting a lot of valuable time. Stick to your list of things to do, and only move to the next task once it is complete. Set those limits with yourself to be organized and efficient.
What about other distractions? Is your office space near your TV? Do you have quick access to social media that can distract you? Is your phone on and close by as well? Try your best to limit anything that can distract you while working. This could mean, as mentioned earlier, having a dedicated space just for work or turning off your phone while working on specific things. If you find it hard to not check these things, set up time to do so! Give yourself rewards for getting things done.
What Else Should I Do?
So you’ve got your space set up, you’ve created a daily routine, and planned out your goals. You’ve done all you can to limit your distractions and be productive, but is that enough?
It’s definitely a great start, but working from home can be a bit lonely at times. That “water-cooler” chat you get at an office space no longer is there - and as much as we may have gotten annoyed by colleagues at times, you’ll likely miss having people around to interact with.
If possible, work from a public space for a few hours! Whether that is a coffee shop, or a library. Even better, see if there are shared work spaces that you can join and work from. Working around others who are in the same mindset as you can be ultra motivating.
And to finish off my list of things to do, remind yourself of what you are grateful for. Why is working from home/ for yourself awesome in the first place? Maybe it means you get to stay at home with your kids, or perhaps that you have a kitchen full of food to eat from all day, or that you are able to travel and work at the same time. Keep those reminders somewhere you can see them, and read them anytime you need. It’s important to remember why you are doing this, and what you are thankful for in this experience.
Those are just some of my tips, but I would love to know what others do to stay motivated and organized working from home! Please do share your experiences below.