It seems to be generally accepted that we need motivation to work from home, yet we assume that having a job outside the home – what? Doesn’t require motivation? Is intrinsically motivating? Just requires you to turn up, motivated or not?
Of the motivation tips I’ve written, I’d say the first is the most important for home workers: remember why you’re doing what you do. Whether you’re reaching towards something (“I want to change the world”) or leaning away from something (“I’m not leaving my son in nursery again”), it can help to get you over any humps you meet in the home working road. After all, the definition of motivation is: the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way / the general desire or willingness someone has to do something.
Knowing your reason for soldiering on is important. But what about the days when your lofty (or not so lofty) goal doesn’t seem to help? I wonder what we can learn from those who go out to work…
What makes an employee get out of bed and go out to work every day? Habit, the ruler of most of our days, probably plays a large part: this is what I do every day. Habits stop you having to think.
I take the boy to school, I come home, I make tea, I sit at my desk. That’s the first part of the habit.
The trick, of course, is in not stopping there. I can sit at the desk and read blogs, stare out of the window, doodle, move bits of paper around, or do any number of things which don’t get the work done. The next part of the habit is to actually begin working. Radical, eh?
Ernest Hemingway said “The best way [to write] is always to stop when you […] know what will happen next. If you do that every day…you will never be stuck.” Knowing – planning – what will happen next is a mindset that helps with any kind of work. If you plan ahead of time what you’re going to do when you sit down in the morning, you have fewer excuses for not doing it.
Building a planning habit will help to build a working habit. Motivation sits in the background, but we also need to cultivate the habit of doing.