The remote work lifestyle, whether you travel or work from home, offers a certain degree of freedom. However, with it comes complete and utter responsibility. It’s also challenging to stay focused and motivated, especially when you don’t have the friendly competition of co-workers and there are a million projects around the house you’d rather be accomplishing.
However, with all the distractions and independence, you have to be accountable for your own work ethic. How do you do that, exactly? From keeping a solid routine to setting a milestone and reward, here’s how to stay motivated when working remotely to accomplish all your tasks and stay on track.
1. Get Dressed Each Morning
While it may be tempting to work in your pajamas, don’t be a WFH cliché. After a time, rolling out of bed can make you feel sloppy and lower your self-esteem. Remote workers can benefit from getting appropriately dressed each morning, the same as they would if they were going into the office. At the very least, strap on a comfortable bra with a blouse and slip into a pair of leggings. This way, you can still feel relaxed as you work and make yourself at home.
Each morning, before you start your day, make yourself presentable and dress for success. You never know when you might be called into a last-minute video conference with colleagues or your supervisor. Even if it’s just you going solo, it just offers a boost of confidence. Wear makeup and put your hair up if it helps, too. Set your clothes and makeup out the night before so you have no excuse!
2. Set an Alarm to Wake Up Early
Another way to stay motivated with remote work is to wake up early. While you may not have to beat rush hour traffic or be at the office on time, set the alarm anyway. Sure, you have the freedom to hit snooze a few times (don’t we all?), but try not to sleep in. Instead, keep to the good habit of waking up like you work at a regular job, just like many successful and productive people.
Even if you don’t sit down at your desk right away, waking up early offers you time to prepare, grab some breakfast to jumpstart your day, or get in some morning exercise.
3. Keep a Consistent Routine
Speaking of waking up early, many remote workers find that keeping a consistent routine helps them stay motivated. This is partly due to the fact that remote workers may find themselves with a less consistent lifestyle. Some remote workers are obligated to travel, finding themselves at a new desk in a new city. Besides a trusty laptop, the only consistency a remote worker may be able to attain is a routine work schedule.
Besides a work schedule, a consistent routine can help remote workers stay motivated in other ways, too. They can schedule when to go for a run, check emails, and when to sign off to enjoy dinner and spend time with family to keep a healthy work-life balance.
4. Stay Organized
One of the best ways to stay motivated when working remotely is to stay organized. This goes for a desk, your schedule, and even digital files. Having a disorganized desk, especially, can hinder your ability to locate important documents and slow you down. Instead, create a filing system to clear the distracting clutter and keep everything neatly tucked away in a designated place.
Whether you like handheld binders or prefer a digital means, keep a calendar to store important dates and meetings. Integrate both your work schedule and home schedule so you know what overlaps and can keep track of must-do activities. Having an organized home workspace also helps remote workers find extra time for a little self-care at the end of the week, which can give you that boost of motivation.
5. Minimize Distractions
Besides clutter on the desk, there are other distractions you need to do away with to stay focused and motivated. Social media sites can often be a real-time suck. Open up the Facebook tab, and the next thing you know, 30 minutes have passed. Instead of constantly clicking open social media, news sites or even your favorite blog, install a website blocker extension for your browser!
Getting pinged by your phone is another time suck. If you’re constantly notified by the same social media apps (or even your friends and family making small chit-chat throughout the day), do yourself a favor and put your phone on silent. Instead, set aside time to check these things during lunch or during a scheduled 10-minute break every so often when it comes to remote work.
6. Make Time for Breaks
Breaks can help you refresh throughout the day, especially when you work solo or remotely. With little human interaction like you might get through colleagues at an office, it helps to take breaks and reply to those friends and family members wondering what you’re up to that weekend.
Breaks are also wonderful for stretching your legs and increasing some blood flow. While you may not have water cooler chat sessions, you can still walk to the kitchen and get a glass of water or snack. Better yet, take a walk around the block and get some fresh air, too.
In general, breaks can help you feel more motivated when you feel uninspired, tired or merely lagging midday after lunch. Even five minutes can give you the extra boost of energy you need to focus the rest of the day.
7. Reward Yourself
One way to really stay motivated is to reward yourself. This can be with something as simple as a delicious lunch from your favorite cafe or to make time to swing by a coffee shop for a perky cappuccino and muffin as a treat. If you achieve a big goal, give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back and treat yourself to something extra special, like a night with friends or a bottle of nice wine. You earned it, so the choice is yours!