How do stay motivated while working from home? What’s the secret to regaining motivation when working remotely?
Managing to stay motivated working from home is an ongoing task for every remote worker. It’s also a task that’s never quite complete!
What helps you stay motivated and achieve work-life balance one week won’t necessarily work a month from now. Lack of motivation while working from home can sneak up on you at any point of your journey; that’s what makes having an arsenal of motivational techniques absolutely essential!
I know not everyone loves the lifestyle of working remotely. Maybe you were forced to do so, or been given the flexibility in your job but you’ve never learned how to motivate yourself to work from home.
Whether you work a corporate job from home, split your time between home and the office, have your own small business or work online and travel full-time, these tips will make your experience much more positive.
Physical Things To Help You Stay Motivated Working From Home
Motivation might feel like a mental task, but don’t underestimate the effect that your physical space has on your enthusiasm for your work life.
#1. Invest In Your Sleep
A good day starts by waking up feeling refreshed and focused. After all, think of the inverse situation: waking up tired, already depleted, and defeated before the day has even begun.
That’s a disaster for motivation and productivity. An investment in your sleep will trickle down into every area of your life, including your work.
#2. Set Your Alarm
Setting your alarm gives structure to your day. It can be tempting to treat working from home as something that’s in between holiday and vacation but you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you do so.
You’re still working from home so get into that work mindset and set your alarm! Of course, after late nights or extra-stressful workdays, there can be value to sleeping in. After all, why not use the flexibility that working from home gives you?
As a rule, though, setting an alarm provides a stronger start to your workday.
#3. Block Off Digital Distractions
All remote workers struggle with digital distractions when they’re unfocused. Learning to push through and stay focused online is a life-changing skill for remote workers.
Don’t feel like a victim of your distractions; minimize them instead! You can do a number of different ways:
Delete the apps from your phone that distract you. If you find yourself uncontrollably opening social media every ten minutes, delete it from your phone. This will remove the app from your phone, not delete your entire account. When your work is done, simply reinstall and pick right back up where you left off.
Do the same on your laptop by blocking off specific websites that distract you. Use the “go f***ing work” Google Chrome extension (warning: mature name) to achieve this. After you’ve identified your problem websites, add these websites to your extension.
Set it up in just a few minutes:
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#4. Schedule In Breaks
We’re all human, and we all need a break from work (even if it’s hard to make the time).
The human mind can only focus on a single thing for a limited amount of time before productivity and quality of work go down. Even if you’re on a productive roll, you will benefit from a break!
Get a fresh perspective by taking a break by even walking away for a while; it’ll likely help you come back even more focused and refreshed.
Or, try the trusted Pomodoro Technique where you work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break.
For every break, challenge yourself to do something that is radically different from the work you’re working on.
- Do you sit behind your laptop? → Get up and do something that involves movement.
- Does your work involve anything physical? → Find somewhere to relax and maybe just have a cup of tea.
You’ll be amazed at how much more time of laser focus you get if you take the time to take a break!
#5. Get Dressed
Even if you wear a “personal uniform” or have a capsule wardrobe where you re-wear the same clothes, make sure you put them on.
Ever heard the phrase “never work in bed”? Your brain will start associating your bed with work and as a result, falling asleep will become much harder.
Well, the same is true for the clothes you wear. While wearing your robe while you work on the couch is fun for a day, it will have a deteriorating effect if it becomes the norm. Your brain will associate work with relaxing, making being productive and staying motivated all the more difficult.
#6. Perfect Your Home Office
To reach maximum productivity, space needs to be a reflection of you. It should be physically comfortable, visually inspiring, and suit your work style. At a bare minimum, your workspace shouldn’t be working against you.
If your space is uncomfortable or distracting, it’s hurting your motivation and needs to be addressed immediately.
Likewise, be reflective about what IS working! This can lead you to realizations about your work style and help you find that perfect workspace within your home.
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#7. Move Your Body
Having a stagnant, unchanging vantage point day in and day out is not an inspiring way to work. It’s essential for mental clarity to move your body and get away from your workspace throughout the day.
This has huge mental returns, but even bigger physical benefits. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to chronic health problems. If you reflect on your own past, I bet you can already see this.
Have headaches, neck pain, or any other minor discomfort crept their way into your life after transitioning to working online? You owe it to yourself to make movement a part of your life.
From basic stretches to a yoga routine or a daily walk for some fresh air, consistent movement will work wonders for your physical and mental health. Get up, and create a workout plan that works for you!
#8. Start Your Day With Self-Care
Going from your bed directly into your inbox may feel like “attacking the day,” but it’s not going to help you stay motivated working from home in the long run.
Start your day with self-care instead. Some simple ideas include a…
The right morning habits can change your life! At the bare minimum, it will change your day.
#9. Do Something Enjoyable When You’re Done
Just like starting your day right, you need to END your workday strong, too.
Don’t fall into a counterproductive routine of working as long as you can until you’re exhausted and unable to perform anymore.
You shouldn’t get dumped into your you-time like a piece of trash ricocheting down a garbage shoot into an overflowing dumpster.
A motivating routine offers a sense of closure from your work, and something to enjoy in your you-time.
Even worse is the habit of overlapping your you-time with the end of your workday. This can look like: losing steam on your work, so you put on Netflix in the background to make you feel like you’re “just finishing up work” while relaxing.
You deserve *real* you-time. No one else will make this happen when you work from home; it’s on you to reward yourself for a day well done.
Do this by drawing a clear line between working hours and off-hours, and plunge into your free time with something enjoyable.
This could be anything: taking a walk, cooking a delicious meal, taking a shower, or journaling. Building in relaxation and unwinding into your routine is essential to staying motivated working from home.
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#10. Create An At-Home Meditation Space
A text from your boss. Calendar invites. The “ding” of your inbox, day and night.
When there are no physical boundaries between you and your workspace, your brain starts to feel like it’s constantly bombarded by work. This can even give the impression that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to detach from work at home, but I assure you that’s not the case!
Define times and spaces where work is simply not allowed. A fun way to do this is by creating a special meditation space where you’ll go to wipe your mind clear of work thoughts and worries.
#11. Build In Human Interaction
This tip to stay motivated working from home is essential for anyone who lives alone. Search for a class or a local community group that revolves around one of your hobbies or interests.
Even if you have a partner or roommates, it’s natural to feel lonely when you used to get a lot of stimulation and social interaction at work.
If you’re physically isolated from others, you can still get social stimulation online. Consider joining a community of remote workers or online social groups that are related to your hobbies.
#12. Track Your Goal Progress
Don’t forget to track your progress! Sometimes it seems like you’re never going to reach that big dream you have. Keep in mind that a dream is not the same as a goal.
A goal is something that can be measured and ticked off and it’s something you need in order to fulfill a dream.
What do you need for your dream to come true? Is it money? Well, how much are we talking about here? Set a clear goal and focus on tracking your measurable progress towards that goal.
Use tools like spreadsheets or even an old-fashioned notebook and never forget that your dream is waiting on the other side of that goal post!
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#13. Minimize Clutter
Clutter in your home steals from you. It steals focus, peace, and creates a feeling of disorganization. Reducing clutter in your life will result in improved motivation and self-esteem.
Does the task of decluttering your home seem overwhelming?
#14. Prioritize Your Health
It’s easy to feel too busy for doctor’s appointments and rest, but do not make a habit of putting work ahead of your health.
A sedentary lifestyle has natural consequences. When aches and pains emerge, don’t just accept them as your new norm. What can you do on your own to reverse daily wear and tear?
Walking more? Drinking more water? Stretching? Getting a standing desk?
Be invested in making yourself feel good, and then see a doctor when complaints start to grow roots. Make a list of healthy habits you can start!
#15. Invest In Quality At Mealtimes
Time off from work should help you recharge and rest. Most of all, it’s a time that you should enjoy! When working from home, however, after office hours can quickly become “just time when you’re just waiting until you have to get back to work.”
Putting some time into cooking good food is an excellent way to start investing in yourself. Don’t give in to the temptation of having TV dinners night after night.
Remind yourself that focusing energy on something that is NOT work-related is an excellent way to detach from work stressors that echo in your head after hours.
Put time aside in which you or someone in your household cooks a healthy, home-cooked meal so you get all the nutrients you need to recharge!
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#16. Never Eat In Front Of Your Computer
Staying motivated is all about having something to balance out all the time spent in “the office” so you don’t feel like all you do is work.
What better excuse do you need to walk away from work? Use meals, especially your easy-to-skip lunch break, as an opportunity to take a moment to get another form of stimulation.
A middle-of-the-day break has massive mental payoffs. Don’t fall into the temptation of eating on autopilot.
#17. Use Every Trip From Your Desk To Do A Chore
Wouldn’t you love it if your home could clean itself? This habit is the next-best thing, and it’s super important because your environment can and WILL impact your work from home experience.
Working inside of a messy home is *fatal* to focus.
But if you’re not careful, just “cleaning up” can become a crutch you use to procrastinate and avoid difficult tasks. Use your naturally-occuring trips away from your desk to clean your home.
- Getting up to go to the bathroom? → Take a dish with you.
- Going into another room to grab something? → Fold a blanket on the way.
- Time to scrounge up a snack? → Transport the laundry basket as you go.
Always leave the space better than you found it, even if it’s just one dirty coffee cup. This has a massive compound effect on your home, and by the end of the day, it’ll be like someone snuck in and cleaned your home for you!
#18. Don’t Check Your Phone Too Often
Being constantly available to every email, text message, and notification will eat through your day and focus like termites.
Create boundaries for yourself around when you will and when you won’t check your phone. Enforce this boundary by putting your phone on do not disturb or even setting it physically away from your workspace.
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Mental Things To Help You Stay Motivated Working From Home
At its core, learning how to stay motivated working from home is a mental game. Utilize these tips to help program yourself to stay focused on autopilot.
#19. Value Downtime As Productive
Ever have those hours when you catch yourself just staring at your screen? You’re physically there, but nothing’s happening?
A harsh reality: just because you work a lot doesn’t mean your time is well spent. In order to stay motivated and sharp, you need breaks.
That means that you should value downtime as being just as important and productive as time spent working. Every moment of downtime is nothing less than an investment in the coming worktime!
#20. Invest In Hobbies
Hobbies are often overlooked by people with demanding careers or businesses, but they can serve as a powerful source of inspiration and ideas. Are there a few things in the back of your mind that you’ve already wanted to try?
Maybe playing the harmonica, learning calligraphy, or mastering handmade dumplings? Bonus points if your hobby is completely unrelated to work! There are so many hobby ideas to try! Remember, your downtime should be a contrast to your working hours.
Your hobby doesn’t have to be (and maybe even SHOULDN’T be) relevant to your career. Furthermore, pursuing a hobby should always be a result of following your interests.
How many times a day do you choose to do something just because it’s fun or interesting to you and not because you HAVE to?! You don’t have to justify it. Create balance by spending time on both the things that you have to do for work and things that you choose to do!
#21. Actively Manage Overwhelm
It turns out a heavy workload isn’t always the result of being overworked.
Many people perceive their workload as manageable as long as they feel they have an adequate amount of time and resources to complete the tasks within a set timeframe. When that feeling goes, it’s replaced by feelings of stress and being overworked.
Actively work on managing feelings of overwhelm by putting systems in place to keep track of what needs to be done at what time. This can be via online organizational tools or finding a planner that you love!
👉🏽 RELATED POST: Avoid Burnout At Work
#22. Time Your Tasks To Increase Efficiency
Have you ever felt like a task was taking you 10x longer than it needed to? That feeling was probably right, and it’s *the most* demoralizing feeling. However, you can stop it dead in its tracks by timing your tasks.
Here’s how to do it:
- Decide how long a task should take to complete. Be realistic
- Set a timer for that amount of time
- Hit start and set out to finish that task before the timer goes off. No distractions!
This turns your tasks into a race against yourself that you can win. It’s a very powerful motivation technique that only requires the timer app on your phone.
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#23. Confront Procrastination
Have you ever spent a day spontaneously cleaning the house just so you didn’t have to do your taxes? Your taxes still need to be done and will be there tomorrow, but at least you didn’t waste the day, right?. Even worse, have you ever felt GOOD about a day like that? I most certainly have!
When you work from home, taking time off never means you have to do less. It just means that you probably have to do twice as much work tomorrow in order to make up for that time spent cleaning the house today.
Think of procrastination as the silent assassin that kills your motivation. Even though you may *think* you’re spending your time well, what it really does is make your workload more overwhelming than it needs to be.
Brutal honesty is the way out. Take a critical look at where you’re wasting time and actively work on tackling procrastination!
#24. Make Friends Online
When you work from home, you have no, or at least fewer, interactions with coworkers.
Working remotely is a lifestyle and a certain level of loneliness can become part of it if you’re not careful.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. Look for friends online that are in the same boat as you are. These are people who understand your successes and struggles because they are dealing with them too!
A feeling of community will ease loneliness in big ways.
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#25. Switch Up Your Motivational Tactics
Something that helps you stay motivated working from home for this month won’t do it forever. Don’t hold tight to a specific routine or tactic that isn’t serving you at this moment.
The ultimate WFH hack is to learn what helps you stay motivated *today*, not yesterday or in an ideal world. No boss or business partner is walking through your front door to tell you what you physically or mentally need to stay motivated today. It’s on you to be reflective and honest with yourself!
#26. Manage Your Boredom
Feeling lonely and bored at home? Boredom is one of the biggest complaints amongst people who work from home, and it’s an ongoing battle. You can combat boredom by working remotely from a new environment, such as a cafe or a coworking space. Consider switching up your environment in an even bigger way by working online from a new city or country (AKA being a digital nomad)!
Boredom itself is normal, but start paying attention to it if it begins affecting your ability to perform your job. This may be a sign that it’s time to begin the job search or weigh the benefits of starting your own online business instead of staying where you’re at.
#27. Make Time To Give Back
Working online from home can make your “world” very small. It’s healthy to zoom out to get some perspective.
There’s no better way to do that than giving back! This is particularly important if you live alone or work online full-time. You must insulate yourself from work becoming the only meaningful part of your week. Here are 25 ways to give back to your community to inspire you!
#28. Understand Your Emotional Hang-Ups
No, it’s not just you: working from home can be like riding an emotional rollercoaster.
In order to understand what makes you lose motivation, you have to reflect constantly. Maybe there’s a weekly task on your to-do list that you procrastinate and stress over for days, yet it only takes you two hours to complete.
Or perhaps your client or team calls are wrecking your schedule and it would be beneficial to stack them all into one day of meetings.
Be inquisitive and consider journaling how tasks make you feel so that you can find what SERVES YOU, so you don’t feel like you’re constantly serving your to-do list.
#29. Track Your Bad Habits
Take note of any habits you have that are making working from home more difficult than it needs to be. Common pitfalls to avoid are checking email constantly, ignoring signs of fatigue, or sinking too much time into that biggest baddie of them all, your phone.
Don’t underestimate the effects any of these habits have on your productivity! Be honest with yourself and take a critical look at how you spend your time. Here are some bad habits you need to unlearn.
#30. Remember WHY You’re Working From Home
Do you work from home so that you can travel? Or be closer to your family? Maybe for your health?
Whatever your motivation is, make it visible. Intentionally set your computer password, your phone or laptop background, or add a vision board adjacent to your workstation.
In Gmail, you can even override your inbox background to be a beautiful photo.
Personally, I work online to travel more, so you can bet that my Gmail background is of my next travel destination!
👉🏽 RELATED POST: Am I burnt out or lazy?
#31. Set SMART Goals
When you’re in control of the work you do, it can sometimes feel like you’re never done YET somehow you’re also not making any progress.
The proven answer to this is setting SMART goals for work. Break up your daily workload into tasks that you can check off and set yourself a goal that is realistic for the day.
We all know you’re never going to write a book in a day so deciding you will write the first draft of a given chapter might be more realistic. As long as you can divide something into manageable tasks, you can both measure your progress and walk away feeling proud of the things you’ve finished.
Our jobs have a huge impact on our life balance, and that impact is even more extreme when you work from home. On a professional level, your emotional well-being impacts your productivity and career satisfaction. It also touches every level of our home lives, from our health to our relationships and how we set up our physical space.
Get Your Slay Your Goals Guide
Ready to get motivated and achieve your goal? Get the Slay Your Goals Guide, with the ten steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Psst, being motivated is only one of the ten steps.
Taking care of your emotional wellbeing and avoiding burnout become paramount. These tips will work wonders to achieve that and guide you to stay motivated working from home. But tell us – how do YOU stay motivated working from home?
Share in the comments below so that you can inspire the rest of us!No desire to work at home today? Click here for 31 ways to get and stay motivated working from home, remotely, or virtually by @KaylaIhrig. #WorkFromHome #WorkFromAnywhere #WFH #Motivation #RemoteLifey
How do you stay motivated working from home?
More About Guest Contributor
Kayla is the blogger, website traffic consultant, and remote work enthusiast behind Writing From Nowhere. She helps business owners get more bang for their buck with their content marketing and lives for conversations about increasing traffic, blogging better, and bucket lists.
Last Updated on August 25, 2022