We all have days when we can’t get going, when working at home feels just as hard as working anywhere else. Here are some tips that help me find motivation when it seems to be stuck down the back of the sofa:
1. Remember why
Why are you working from home? What’s the big reason you chose this life? My reason for taking the plunge, and sticking with it, is the boy. I can put him first when he needs me to, and that’s priceless. But I also love helping charities I care about raise money, and I love sending my writing out into the world to inspire people. I’m doing these things because I enjoy them most of the time. Did you start your business to make a difference in the world, for yourself, for your family? Remember why you’re doing what you do. Even if doing it feels like hard work today, your why hasn’t changed.
2. Get out(side)
Are you programmed to think that you have to be sitting at a desk to be working? Does your unconscious still think that you’re tethered to the 9-5, even when your conscious minds knows different? You can go somewhere else! Even working in a different room can make a surprising difference to your mood, and I find that getting outside and getting moving, even if it’s just a walk around the block, is almost magical in blowing away the cobwebs and changing your mindset. It can even bring new solutions and ideas when you least expect them.
3. Do something – anything!
If you’re sitting staring at the wall, or you don’t know where to start, just do something. It doesn’t matter what. Sitting at your desk does not mean you’re working. You can be working while tidying your desk, filing, or even putting in a load of washing or planting a row of peas. (Wandering around the winding corridors of the internet doesn’t count. That’s consuming, not doing. Do something.)
4. Tell someone
The one thing that most conventional workplaces give you is people to complain with. I can’t complain to my clients (they wouldn’t be clients for long!) but I do have a family and friends who are willing to listen on occasion. And I’ve recently begun to be converted to networking groups. It’s worth taking time to seek out others who run their own businesses – they are likely to understand your challenges and may even be able to give advice as well as a sympathetic ear.
5. Make a list
Ooh, I love a list. If you’re paralysed by too many things to do and don’t know where to start, write down absolutely everything that’s in your mind, work-related or otherwise. My last one of these lists was about thirty items long and covered everything from finding a recipe to working out my business goals for the year. Once you have a list, you can pick one thing – any thing – and do something!
6. Notice your pattern
When do you hit a slump? At the end of a big piece of work when you’re wondering what to do next? At the start of a big piece of work when you don’t know where to begin? In the middle when it seems endless? Its the start of a school term that does it for me. A week, or two, or three, off, throws me completely off track and I begin to wonder what I’m for. Every time. Once you’ve identified what it is that knocks you off course, you can –
7. Plan for your pattern
If every day you sit down at your desk and don’t know where to begin, plan every day’s first task the night before and get everything ready so all you have to do is sit down and do it. If school holidays send you off-kilter, plan a day off just for you before you plunge back into work. Use it to think and plan and recuperate. Whatever your trigger is, if you plan ahead you can stop the motivation slump, or at least get through it quickly.
8. Take one day off
Give yourself permission to play hooky. It’s much more productive than spending a day fiddling around not achieving anything.
These tips work for me. What works for you?