Monday, November 5, 2012

Working from home: staying motivated

Today's the big day. The day I start working from home. The day my laptop and a desk in my living room become my workstation - the place I write people's stories, do research and do interviews. I'm both excited and nervous about this change in my life. I feel like it's going to be a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that I can work in my PJs and a curse in that I have to find the motivation to get out of bed everyday. I mean, how easy would it be to just sleep until 3 p.m. when you don't have anyone to answer to at 9 a.m.? Seems pretty easy and appealing to me. But, somehow, I have to resist the urge to sleep in and resist the urge to spend the entire day surfing the web instead of working. It's going to be tough. I know this already and today is my FIRST day in this position.

So, with the best of intentions and desire to make working from home as productive as possible, I did a quick Google search to find some tips for staying motivated. Here's what I found:

1. Boost productivity and focus by forcing yourself to have only ONE application open at a time on your computer when you’re working. Allow only a 10-minute window at the end of each hour to check email accounts and social media sites.
I think this tip was written just for me. I am the queen of multi-tasking. This is going to be a tough thing to kick, but I'll give it an honest go.

2. The key to staying productive is recognizing the difference between using household chores to avoid work and taking a 3-minute mental break for laundry, a quick stretch or sprint up and down the steps to get your blood moving.
I know myself well enough to know I will choose cleaning over work any day. So, this tip is an important one, and I think the way to ensure I stick to it is by cleaning up the living room every evening before bed. That will ensure I wake up to a clean workstation, giving me less excuses to clean and procrastinate.

3. Although there are a lot of great informative, interesting and educational shows on television, the workday isn’t the time to be doing all that “learning.” Instead of frittering away hours in front of the tube (or the YouTube) turn that digital distraction into a reward for a good day’s work.
I don't know that this will be a challenge. I don't have a TV in my house and I'm the WORST for keeping up to date on YouTube videos and memes.

4. Simple awareness of your workday habits, bumping up your discipline and creating balance between work and leisure are your best weapons in the fight against wasted time and negative productivity.
I really hope that I can make the best of my 9-5 hours, putting them to good use rather than wasting them away. I have the best intentions, so fingers crossed I keep it up and don't give in to the urge to stay in bed, clean the house or waste time watching and reading things that aren't relevant to my work. Wish me luck!!

Do you have any tips for staying motivated and being a productive home-worker? I'd love to hear them!

If you still have some time on your hands before you go back to doing the work that you're supposed to be doing right now, check out The Oatmeal's comics on working from home. They're hilarious!


  1. For sure you have my dream job! Congratz! I say organize, organize, organize...that always works for me! Great tips! Good luck!

    ~SimplyyMayra :)

  2. First off welcome to the wonderful world of working from home! I've been doing it for the past couple years and I absolutely love it. Though it was very hard to get into a nice routine that worked for me, but after some trail and error I found it.

    One thing I would add to the list is do everything like you would do as if you were going into work, setting an alarm and getting dressed. Now you don't have to set the alarm as early as you normally have it go off, but maybe only an hour later. And I found that actually getting dressed makes me already feel more productive and not like I am staying home on a day off. That's not to say I don't still wear my pjs some days, because honestly there are those days where that is the only thing you want to wear.

    Best of luck, I know you can do it!

  3. Congrats on your new job!! These tips seem super healpful. I've never worked from home but I think they sound like great ideas.

  4. This was a wonderful post for me to read I'm blogging instead of writing my research paper. Oops.
    I wish you luck on this working from home venture..I know I couldn't do it.
    Maybe some advice...get a desk for your work place rather than just using random tables in your living room. That helps me, anyway. I can't efficiently do any work if I am not at my desk.

    ok...back to paper writing!

  5. These are great tips! I am really not all that great at staying productive while working from home. I get everything I need to get done done, for sure, but it often takes hours of putzing around before I get there. It's definitely a process! :)

  6. this is fantastic. I totally need this to help me everyday :)

  7. Oh, I'd never do working from home. I know that. I'm a homemaker now, but I live off a daily checklist. I have a checklist app on my phone- without it to keep me motivated, I'd veg all day. Weakness admitted. These are great tips!

  8. This is so exciting! Totally my dream, so I'm happy for you and jealous at the same time :)

  9. I like to use the reward system when I work from home. Five minutes of solid work and I've earned that episode of Doctor Who ;D

    But seriously, good luck!

  10. What a big step to begin working at home (I have the hardest time being productive at home so good on you) good luck, those tips all seem great!

  11. These tips are great. I am the absolute worst when it come to getting work done at home, especially if I'm using my computer...oh hello internet. Good luck staying focused and I hope you enjoy the flexibility of working from home.