Working from home comes with lots of pros and cons. It offers flexible working hours and eliminates the need for daily commutes. On the other hand, working from home competes with personal privacy and (sometimes) the motivation to complete daily tasks.
A lack of privacy and disrupted work life balance while working from home can be pretty easily resolved. You can create designated office by allotting a small area somewhere at home that you’ll use purely for working. That way, your brain won’t associate your kitchen table with endless Zoom meetings.
A lack of motivation, however, can have far greater consequences. It’s also harder to correct than just putting up a divider screen between a corner of your living room and the rest of your home. That’s because motivation burns from within. It’s a flame that pushes us forward – and when it goes out, it can cause even the most productive people to avoid work.
Tips to Boost Motivation at Work from Home Jobs
Fortunately, there are countless ways to boost motivation while working from home. So if you ever feel a lack of motivation creeping in and require a boost, here are some handy tips.
Ask Why You Started
Some employers allow and encourage working remotely, especially in a post-COVID environment. And if you’re a freelancer, it’s the most obvious option that lets you work during your free time and make good money. Without an additional commute! The next time you feeling unmotivated, remind yourself what you enjoy about working from home. What freedoms does it offer you over the traditional workspace? What would you miss if you had to go back to a on-site office?
There are lots of great things that working remotely brings to your life. Flexible working hours with commuting leaves you more time for the things you enjoy. More quality time for friends, family and hobbies. You’ve got the ability to travel (without taking time off work) if you ever need a change of pace.
Create a Flexible Schedule
Creating a flexible work from home schedule will also keep you motivated and crossing items off your to-do list. If you’re a freelancer, you can decide own work hours. If you’ve got set times you need to work for an employer, get approval for a shifted schedule that best fits your life. There are only 24 hours in a day, after all. Since about 8 of those will go to working, make sure you know exactly what you need to be doing and when. Setting up a routine will help you buckle down if you know what to expect. For example, you can spend the first 30 minutes of each workday checking and replying to emails while sipping your coffee. Blocking out time will help boost your productivity and help keep your workload appropriately loaded. Of course, there will occasionally be deadlines or changes that require you to adjust your schedule every once in a while. But ultimately knowing what your typical day looks like will help keep you moving forward.
Create Daily Task Lists
If you have a day where you struggle to motivate yourself, focus on immediate tasks at hand that are easy to accomplish, as well as any pressing deadlines for the day. Creating a check list and padding it with easy accomplishments that you can quickly cross off will actually help motivate you. Researchers have shown that checking items off a list of to-dos releases a bump of dopamine – the feel-good neurotransmitter. You can even add items that you’ve already completed, just to cross them off!
Checking items off a list satisfies our brains desire for what psychologists call “cognitive closure” – which results in a productivity boost.
Identify Causes for Demotivation
Understanding why we lose motivation can been hard to pinpoint. Everything seems to be going right, and then suddenly you’re struggling to find it in you to complete even the simplest of tasks. Sound familiar? It’s a pretty common dilemma, especially when you’re working remotely.
Why does this happen? Well, just about anything can cause personal demotivation. It could be a lack of work-life balance that causes physical or mental fatigue (or both, honestly). A job that you once loved can feel stale after a while – especially if you thrived in the social environment of an office.
Other causes could be inadequate pay, lack of appreciation, too many distractions or even too much mental clutter. And the only way to prevent them from demotivating you while working from home is by identifying them astutely and going about their elimination. Truthfully, you may not be able to determine exactly what’s gotten you in a rut. But the first step to fixing a problem is identifying it!
Switch Things Up
Work from home doesn’t mean you always work from home, per se. The beauty of teleworking is that it can be done from just about any location (provided you have access to decent WiFi). If you’re sick of the same workspace, consider take yourself on a small holiday somewhere new. Combining business with pleasure works wonders for the morale and boosts your motivation. You could also stay with friends or family for a week or two, just to cut down on travel costs.
If needed, let your employer you’ll be working from another location for the a little while. A cheerful vacation with family can fix that sagging motivation and inspire you to work harder and better for quite some time. And as long as you’re still getting your work done, there should be no objections!
Separate Your Work Life from Your Home Life
One prime cause of demotivation while working from home is that overwhelmed feeling of being constantly connected. You hear the ping of every email landing in your inbox, well after you’ve closed your laptop and signed off for the day. Household chores need to be balanced with work-related tasks. We want to get ahead of the next day’s work, so we try to preemptively knock out a few of things that you would have normally left for tomorrow. Each of these things is another brick that paves the road to burnout, which is the motivation sapper for the majority of workers.
To avoid burnout (like the plague), you’ll need to put some distance between you and your work (huh, also like you would with the plague…). Instead of merely closing your laptop, shut your computer down so the chimes of late-night emails won’t disturb you. If you struggle with working more hours than you should, consider adding a reoccurring meeting to your calendar at end of your work day, every day. You’ll get a notification at when you’ve only 15 minutes left so you can wrap things up before you sign off.
Staying Motivated is a Commitment
It can be tough to stay motivated when you’re working from home. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible! Many workers find that they can be more productive working from home than the office. Committing to your personal wellness by enjoying your life outside of work will ultimately remind you why you’re working in the first place. Remember, you’re working to live, not living to work. Everyone has days when they feel unmotivated. It’s normal and doesn’t make you a bad employee. If you struggle to get yourself remotivated, consider talking to your manager (if you’re comfortable with it). Your manager will likely be understanding and wants to help you get back on track. If your lack of motivation stems from your job itself, they can work with you to find new ways to updated your role to keep work from getting stale.