Motivation tips

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?

16 thoughts on “Motivation tips

  1. Pingback: Top tips for finding motivation | Live and work at home

  2. I love these tips – and use a lot of them. Lists are magic! Also, planning the day every evening before you shut down. I love those digital sticky notes in the latest version of Windows (might have been in earlier versions, but I didn’t notice them until I switched to 8.1). I have my morning, evening and weekly routines (mostly chores – housework and animal care); my to do list for the day (which includes Morning Routine and Evening Routine); an “Important” list, which are things I’d like to get onto my daily routine but I’m not there yet, like training Argos, taking a walk, working with Vos (my horse), etc. Then there’s a general To Do list, where I write down everything I need to do whenever – stuff from that gets shifted over onto the daily To Do list when I see a gap. It sounds complicated, but they’re all neatly arrayed on my desktop, an it is SO SATISFYING to put a little asterisk next to each item completed!

    • Wow, I think you’re even more of a list fiend than I am. I didn’t think that was possible. But an asterisk? I draw a big line through everything I complete – that’s even more satisfying!

      • Lines are good, but aren’t an option on the digital sticky notes. And as for being a list fiend … Making them digital and disposable is a HUGE breakthrough for me. Used to be I’d create pages and pages of carefully itemised lists of, essentially, everything required to make my life perfect. And then I’d color code them. And then I’d break down the lists into what I thought I could accomplish in a week … a month … a day. And THEN I would cross them off … for about three days … only there were always more things to add to the lists. And if I missed a deadline I had to remake the lists. And there was no point in having spring gardening activities still on the lists in summer. And in the end I always had way, way, way more things waiting to be done than I had crossed off.

        This way is …better. It works. I can see what I need to do to stay on track, and if I have a bad day, no problem – it disappears. Easy…:)

  3. I think all these tips are really great. I’m a big fan of lists – and going for a walk. It’s just good to get out, and even if it isn’t the greatest weather, it still really helps. I find ‘finishing’ the day really hard – as it seems very difficult to move myself away from the computer. I do think commuting helps in making the break away from work, but I do need something to help me make the break when I work at home (psychologically, at least). So any tips appreciated!

    • Thanks Marija. You’re right – I think a tip needs adding about setting boundaries around work and making that break. I’ll work on that one and add it soon.

      In the meantime, I’ll share that it’s my son who helps me make the break, as I have to go and pick him up from school every day and I try to make that signal the end of the working day. I confess that this doesn’t always work as he’ll often go straight out to play with a friend, or dive for the playstation so I become rather redundant as a mother again! But I took the decision recently to make that after-school time my ‘nesting’ time when I do the laundry and cooking and home-related things, whether the boy needs me or not. As I’m doing that I’m often still thinking about work but at least I’m not sitting in front of the computer and slowly I come back to my non-work self.

      I know you have children – can they help you make the break? Or have you thought of taking your walk at the end of the day, where it could act like a commute?

  4. Things are rather in that fluid state at the moment… where I mostly spend my day looking after my pre-schooler (he only goes for a couple of sessions per week) so work is slotted in as and when. I work on and off after my daughter comes home from school. So around 6 p.m. when the social media PR work/stuff threatens to engulf me that I feel like it’s very difficult to take a break, and yet that’s when everybody needs me and dinner needs to be made… So, yes, any tips would help! Thanks 🙂

  5. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award | the learning, earning and fitness mama

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