Staying motivated when working from home


How many of you work from home? How many find it especially difficult to focus and get back into “work mode” after the holiday season?

It’s a little ironic that I type this while I still have two freelance articles and some editing to complete, but clearly I need the reminders. Here are some things I do to help stay motivated while working from home:

1) Go to bed and get up at a reasonable hour – and be consistent about it

It would be so easy to stay up until 2am every night reading, and then sleep in until noon or later the next day, but I don’t let working from home give me an excuse to do that – I treat this like I would any other job (which is good practice, since I have student loan payments due in six months and am currently looking for a day job). I set my alarm for 8am, but realistically, I don’t get up until close to nine because my cats just know that the moment the alarm goes off is the perfect time to snuggle and purr on my chest. I just can’t say no to them.

I don’t typically get dressed until after my first cup of coffee, during which I have my “God time” (Bible or devotional reading and update my prayer journal). Then I have a quick breakfast, check my email. Then time to work.

Speaking of which…

2) Get dressed

If I stay in pajamas all day, which I can get away with, being at home and all, I’ll just feel lazy and want to go back to bed, which isn’t helpful. So I put on “real clothes,” do my hair, wash my face, brush my teeth, etc. Okay, so I do wear cat slippers, which would be frowned upon in any other office. But I’m one of those people who makes everyone take their shoes off before walking on my carpet, so it’s justified.

Also, this may sound crazy, but part of getting into “work mode” for me includes making my bed. I think it helps set the tone for the day.

3) Take breaks often, but keep them short

I set a timer so checking Facebook notifications doesn’t turn into a 30-minute rabbit hole of looking at my friend’s wedding pictures from six months ago. Visitors often ask how I keep my house spotless, and there are two reasons for that: I have OCD and have always been a stickler for order, but most of my “breaks” consist of household chores. I’ll write a freelance article, then put up a load of laundry. I’ll do some editing, then clean the bathroom. Read a chapter of one of my marketing books, then fold the laundry and put it away. You get the idea.

4) Keep a motivational quote nearby to look at when tempted to give up for the day

Note the deliberately-placed “Nevertheless, she persisted” sign I keep above my computer, made by my friend Joelle at JoBella Wood Designs​. The quote has so many meanings beyond its political context. The picture frame next to the lamp is a quote from Joan of Arc that says, “I am not afraid – I was born to do this” (and yes, I made that one myself).

(And speaking of the lamp – it was made by my husband from a bottle of Syrah. We sell them on Etsy).

Do you have advice on how to stay motivated, whether at home or in an office away from home? Please share!


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5 thoughts on “Staying motivated when working from home

  1. Pingback: * For procrastinators, retirees, and more | Teachezwell Blog

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