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How to stay motivated and work effectively when you’re stuck working at home

Working from home as a freelancer definitely has its perks – freedom and flexibility in your schedule, not to mention no commute, no work attire, no loud coworkers or office distractions. 

But even if you are a self-confessed introvert and adore your alone time, having isolation suddenly forced upon you, as these uncertain times has done for all of us, can definitely take its toll. Not to mention those that have instantly been shifted from a social working environment to being stuck inside, struggling to get the same workload done, or taking on completely new responsibilities!

To continue to be productive, you must learn how to stay motivated at work when your home has become your new and only office.

Failing to find that critical motivation can lead to procrastination, decreased productivity, and mental distress. Here are some useful tips on how to stay motivated so you can be happy, healthy, and productive while working from home.

#1. Create a schedule

This can start from the moment you wake up. We have all heard the importance of starting your day right with some kind of morning ritual, whether this is doing some form of exercise, or sitting down with a coffee and your journal. Try to avoid your smartphone or any kind of screen in the morning. From there, give yourself a set time to sit down to your work, a set time for your breaks, your meal breaks, and what time you will finish.

#2. Establish a dedicated workspace

If at all possible, create your workspace in a room that has a door you can close so you have more privacy. If this is not possible, use a dedicated corner of your space as your office. Make sure you have some good home office equipment. At a minimum, get a high-quality chair, one or more monitors, a laptop stand and a good desk. An ergonomic keyboard and a good mouse will also come in handy.

#3. Set a timer to work in chunks of “power-time”

Also known as the Pomodoro technique, it allows you to focus for short bursts of time, rather than dragging out work over longer periods of time. This is typically practised as working for 25 minutes on a single task, take a 5-minute break and repeat this four times. After this, take a longer, 30-minute break. 

This can work well especially if you have a task that you dread, use the 10-minute rule – set yourself a 10-minute timer and get what you can get done in 10 minutes. Break it down into smaller, manageable chunks.

#4. Create small rewards

Rewards are some of the best motivators. Knowing that we have something to look forward to boosts our mental and physical energy levels.

Always reward yourself after completing a certain number of tasks or finishing an entire day of hard work. There are many different ways to reward yourself, such as taking a coffee break, listening to a podcast, eating something you like, or calling a friend.

Just make sure that the rewards are big enough to keep you motivated but not too big that it becomes distracting.

#5. Give yourself a passion project/hobby to challenge yourself and keep your mind creative

This could be something as simple as learning to watercolour after work, cultivating an indoor garden, or learning a new skill online. Make sure it is something you will look forward to and doesn’t feel like a chore.

#6. Get yourself a “work buddy” 

Having an accountability partner can help you stay motivated. This could look like using services like Focusmate, where you can sign up to have a remote working buddy on a video call with you for a focused block of work time. Or join a community of like-minded creatives! Our fave is the Cool Wow Collective (currently on a membership pause) but there are some amazing masterminds and co-working groups to get amongst.

#7. Get moving

Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to increase our energy, lower our blood pressure, help control our weight, and strengthen our immune system. It also decreases stress, increases our confidence, helps us sleep better, decreases depression and anxiety, and improves blood flow to our brains.

Try different methods of getting in your exercise, whether you like to get in some intense exercise before the workday, taking a brisk walk in the middle of the day or wrapping up the workday with some at-home Pilates or yoga.

#8. Practise self-compassion

Don’t forget that some days will just be low energy days, and that you shouldn’t beat yourself up for your lack of motivation or how little you think you have accomplished. You will have good days and bad days – listen to yourself and take the time to look after yourself, mentally and physically. 

#9. Create a strategy to help yourself switch off

This is essential to keep yourself from constantly being in “work mode”, which is very easy to do, when your work is in the same place as where you eat and sleep and relax! Read our blog How To Switch Off When You Work From Home for lots of handy tips!

Staying motivated when you work from home can be a challenge. But you have a choice. You can give in to the pressure or use the current situation to become your best self.  

Transparency disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. Please know that I will only ever recommend tools that I use within my own business and can truly vouch for.

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