10 Tips and Tricks for Staying Motivated While Working From Home
By Andi Fisher
1. Create a stimulating environment. You want to have a positive atmosphere and because you work from home you have the ability to surround yourself with positivity. I myself have positive quotes and pictures of my family hanging on a board in my office. Family pictures are a great way to stay motivated as a reminder that no matter how hard the job gets you have a family to provide for. I also have my favorite scents burning (away from my desk) in my office. A past boss of mine swears that burning sage creates positivity and motivation. According to the “Moving towards Peace” website: Burning sage can promote wisdom, clarity and increase spiritual awareness. Click here for more details. Or visit: http://www.movingtowardspeace.com/mtpblog/the-ancient-art-of-burning-sage.html
2. Set goals. It is important to set goals and find motivation in meeting those goals. When I worked for a Recruiting Agency a few years ago I used to post my goals on the wall of my cubical. I had little blocks that I would color in every time I made a placement. Seeing the different colors and the progress I was making really motivated me. Other recruiters starting doing the same thing and it actually turned into a friendly competition in our office. This reminds me of weight loss motivation. People normally get motivated after seeing a few pounds dropped so if you see that you are making improvements and meeting goals it may help you stay motivated. Progress makes perfection.
If you are just getting started at a new job it may actually help you get motivated in the beginning. Meeting your company’s goals and requirements may also have incentives so remind yourself of these incentives when feeling less productive. Remember, every day is a new day. Whether you are in sales, tech support, customer service…etc. Just because you had one bad day doesn’t mean that you’re bad at your job. Some results are just based on the luck of the draw. You can’t sell every product to everyone you talk to and some technical issues are out of your hands. Don’t get discouraged and move on to the next call.
3. Take a break. Use your breaks. Stretch. Get something to drink or use the bathroom. I know sometimes we get busy and decide to work through our breaks but it is important to use your time effectively including break time. Even if it is only ten minutes make sure you get up and walk away from your work space. It is easy to get burnt out if you never take a break and walk away.
4. Forgive your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has had a mean, nasty or irate customer at one time or another too. Just tell yourself: “next call.” I used to tell new hires when they were upset about an experience where someone got rude with them to always remember that there will be a “next call.” Even if that caller is screaming at you or attacking you personally just remember that there is going to be a next call. These unfriendly customers don’t know you and they’re not upset with you personally. They just want someone to take it out on. Lucky you, right? You get to be that person. Remember that you need to just let them vent and get it out. As long as you stay calm and don’t lose your cool they may even apologize and realize that you are only trying to help.
If you didn’t meet your weekly/monthly goals, if you haven’t been meeting the top performance list, if you gave wrong information to a client etc. you have to forgive yourself, learn from your mistakes and move on. When you are too hard on yourself and you don’t let go of the mistakes you’ve made it keeps you from being confident and successful. Acknowledge your mistakes, think about how you can improve or what you can do the next time and move on. Holding on to the guilt of something you can’t change or mistake that you’ve made will only hold you back from great things so remember that everyone makes mistakes and you’re going to make more in the future, so forgive yourself and move on.
5. Stay Organized. Keep your desk and work area nice and neat. When you’re working from home it is even easier to have things cluttered and stacked up but you will be surprised how a clean work area will help you stay focused. When my desk is messy and unorganized it reminds me of other things around the house that need to be cleaned up which can cause unnecessary stress. You want to have a clear head and find things easily when you need them.
I do a good spring clean about once a month. I dust, vacuum, rearrange my office and even steam clean my carpets about every 2 months. The fresh smell of a clean office can stimulate your brain and keep you on track. It is a lot like “creating a stimulating environment.” If you have an unorganized work space you are more than likely going to have an unorganized mindset. Everything in my office has a specific place and I even use a label maker for organizing my files and folders.
6. Reward Yourself. Even if you aren’t making the kind of money to get rich off of it is still important to celebrate your wins and reward yourself for your hard work and accomplishments. Rewarding yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go out and buy something or spend money. Maybe it is an hour of time alone to take a bubble bath or read a book. Is there something that you REALLY want and although it may not cost a lot of money you feel a little guilty spending the money on yourself for it? Make a list of those type of things and when you meet certain goals purchase something on your list and cross it off once you’ve purchased it. I am someone who likes to make lists and I enjoy checking each item off. The feeling of crossing things off one by one feels good and I can see the progress that I’ve made. A few years back I used stickers to track my progress. Every day that I met my goals I would put a smiley face sticker on my calendar for that day. If at the end of the month I had a certain amount of stickers, I rewarded myself with something I really wanted (within reason).
7. Read a book that relates to your job. In the past I worked a pretty hard core sales job. I used to get really motivated when I read sales books and I couldn’t wait to try out new techniques. Even if the book you’re reading isn’t giving any advice on how to be more effective, learning about the industry or the company you work for can help you get motivated. Knowing more about your company or the industry can give you a better explanation of what you do and it should remind you of why you do what you do in the first place. Sometimes we can feel like we are just doing the same thing over and over again or that we’re just a number. However it’s important to remember that you are an important piece of a bigger picture.
8. Talk to your co-workers. If your company has a blog or a job board, take some time to read tips and tricks that your co-workers write about. Give your own suggestions. Helping other people is a huge motivator. Everyone likes feeling needed and sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way for someone else but you may also be giving yourself advice too. Most people enjoy giving advice and helping others while in the meantime we are giving advice that we should be taking ourselves. We’ve all heard “it’s easier said than done,” so remember to listen to your own advice too. Either way, giving or receiving advice can help and even just make you feel a little better. You may find out that there’s a simple solution to a problem you’ve been having or you may just find out that you’re not alone and your co-workers may be having some of the same issues that you are having. 9 times out of 10 if you are struggling with something, someone else is too.
9. Just let it out. Now, what I am about to tell you next could end up causing less motivation so be careful...BUT sometimes we just need to vent. My suggestion on venting is to make sure you go to someone that is not associated with your work. A family member, spouse, parent…etc. The last thing you want to do is vent to someone you work with and end up not sleeping at night thinking that your co-worker may spill the beans. You also don’t want to promote negativity or give off the wrong impression to someone you work with.
Constant complaining and a negative attitude doesn’t help anyone but sometimes we do hold things in for so long and before we know it we finally just explode. I think we have all been there. We hold in the big things and finally just go off because of something small like stubbing a toe. So, it’s good to have a support system that you can go to when you are going through difficult times before you end up exploding and then regret something you might say. Just be careful who you vent to.
10. Stay Positive. It is easy to make something out of nothing. When you are going through a stressful time you can take things the wrong way. Emails are a perfect example of possibly taking things out of context. When reading a work email you can’t see the person’s facial expressions or their tone of voice so it is easy to assume the worst. Sometimes supervisor are writing numerous emails a day and just trying to get to the point so don’t take it personally. 20 other people may have gotten the same email that you’ve just received. Instead of thinking the worst, try to think positive. Let me share a story of how positive words turned to real positive actions and emotions.
I’m sure you have all either read or heard about “The Secret” book by Rhonda Byrne. The book claims that positive thinking can create life-changing results. Well, I was reading the book about 7 or 8 years ago and what started as a joke at work actually proved the book’s message. At the time, I worked with about 5 other females who’d all been in the same office even longer than I had been there and I had been there for almost 5 years at the time. We all worked long hours and spent A LOT of time together so of course we were very close and sometimes we even fought like sisters. We knew everything about one another and we were all different ages and had different lifestyles. 2 of my co-workers were in their mid to late 60’s, one in her early 50’s and 3 of us were in our 20’s so there was lots of estrogen in one small office.
Anyway, I started reading “The Secret” because a client of mine had given it to me. I’m not going to lie, my co-workers and I were a bit of a negative and sarcastic bunch who definitely played jokes, called each other out and made fun of one another. Well, all my co-workers knew that I was reading the book and I was trying to stay positive. The book talks about rephrasing your words and thought process to promote positive actions rather than thinking negatively and being less constructive with words.
I think one of the examples used in the book was if you’re getting a haircut and you say/think “well this is going to look terrible” you will more than likely end up with a bad haircut and hating how it looks but if you go in thinking/saying “I can’t wait to get my hair done, it’s going to look great!” You will probably end up loving your hair.
So, while I was reading this book and following “the secret” I started by thinking how to positively say something before actually saying it out loud. I went around the office spreading my positivity and joy, complimenting others and finding the good in any of the chaotic situations going on at work. Like I said, it started as a joke but then everyone (finding it funny at first) decide to play along. We were all complimenting one another, helping out around the office, and no one was making a big deal out of the things that we would normally complain about. I recall our new system at the time having some technical glitches and hearing one of my co-workers saying “no big deal, guys I will write everything out on the client sheets and once the system is up and running I will enter everything back in to the system”. We were always getting frustrated by our new system and it caused a lot of extra work when it wasn’t functioning properly. If it were any other day that our system went down we probably would have all been cussing and getting all stressed out. Instead, what started out as a joke, being almost sarcastically optimistic and enthusiastic actually turned into real genuine positivity and we were all more proactive. It all happened by honestly just trying to poke fun at the fact that I was reading “The Secret” book.
The point of my story is that positivity is contagious. We were all genuinely happy to help one another and we had so much less stress in the office because of it. Life is already stressful and it’s easy to let it get you down but remember my story the next time you’re stressed out. By thinking and speaking positively, you may surprise yourself!
If you have any suggestions or tips on getting or staying motivated, please comment below!