3 tips for staying motivated while working from home! - The Dainty Squid

3 tips for staying motivated while working from home!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Staying motivated while working for myself is the biggest obstacle I face business wise. I have a habit of getting easily distracted and yanked away from my work. Oh there's a cat beside me meowing? Time to pet it. The living room is a mess? I should just stand there and stare at hoping it will clean itself. But over the last few years I've figured out what the top three things are that keep me motivated to work and help me accomplish things. Despite being really simple they make a big difference in my day and I hope they can help you too.
1. Have a full queue of movies ready. Netflix is a must for me. If I have my instant queue full of movies that I'm excited about and can hit play one after another when one is finished then I can easily sew all day without thinking "Man, today is going so slow". Before I had netflix I'd bring a stack of DVDs into my craft room every day to just pop them in one after another. Movies really help me stay in the zone.

If you don't like to watch movies while you work, try pandora! It's my go-to app when I don't feel like watching movies (I have my ipad hooked up to cheap speakers so I can have mini dance parties at work!) It's taken a little bit of time but almost all of my pandora stations are so finely tuned from listening so often that I rarely have to skip a song.

2. Get out of your pajamas and get dressed. I spent the first few years of self employment in my pajamas. But last year I realized it was really bumming me out. So my 2011 list of goals included "get dressed at least 6 days of the week". I can't even describe how much more motivated I feel now that this is part of my daily agenda.

3. Have a well planned day. Keep a schedule, or running to-do list for each day so you don't finish a project and forget all the other little things you needed to do. If I don't keep a list of everything I want to accomplish in a day I'll most likely finish a project and call it quits for the day.  I find my best lists are very specific too. For example on days I write something like "finish three blog posts" as opposed to "work on the blog" I'll feel a lot more accomplished.

I also like to leave my craft room with all of the next work day's supplies laid out so I can get right into it instead of spending my time searching.

Make sure lunch is on your agenda too! Nothing worse than being hungry at work, it's so distracting. I like to go to work in the morning knowing what I'll have for lunch that day so I don't spend an hour in the kitchen staring at the fridge waiting for something magical to appear (are we seeing a pattern here? I seem to just stare at things when I want them done!)  

Anyone else have any great tips?
xoxo

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54 thoughts

  1. Fab tips - planning is a must! I'm so easily distracted too (also have attention seeking cats!). I think the best one for me is to constantly remind myself how bad it will be the next day if I don't catch up today. It doesn't bear thinking about having double the work to go back to the next day! *shudder* xx

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  2. i feel that dressing up makes me feel motivated. that way i dont feel like going to bed.

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  3. My tip would definitely be to wake up early and don't snooze. Working during "work" hours usually works the best for me, and when I sleep in I get started very slowly.

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  4. This is so recognizable for me :-) I have the same problem with staring at things or sometimes just walking around things in circles, like around my bed, thinking; I should really make my bed...what a terrible habit, isn't it? I should write 'just do it!' on my forehead, haha, maybe you should too ;-)

    Anyways, I do have a good tip: When I am working from home, I always plan something outdoorsy, like a little walk or to get some groceries on my bike, or do some gardening....an hour or so is more than enough and when I come home again, I feel totally refreshed and ready to do some more work. The best time to do this, is after lunch.

    Thanks for your tips, Kaylah!

    www.missmarielouise.com

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  5. I agree with waking up early too! I have the summers off and have found I have the best days when I get up early like I'm going to work. Also agree with getting dressed!

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  6. The one about specific lists is fantastic. I have a habit of writing things like "work on book," "work on blog" and then spending hardly any time on either of those things. Also, I would say, make lists realistic, don't have them twenty items long or you won't even make a dent and then get discouraged.

    Also, I really should organize my work space more... seeing piles of stuff just depresses me.

    Thanks Kaylah!

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  7. Marlous, getting outside is always a good idea! I always feel 100% refreshed after I come back inside.

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  8. These are such awesome tips Kaylah. I too work from home and can SO relate to everything that you've said! I love watching netflix/listening to music while I work - makes such a huge difference!! And I've recently started getting dressed for my day too. I'm a much happier gal because of it. ;) Have a great Wednesday! xo v

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  9. Thanks for the tips! I need to make an effort to get out of my pajamas more.

    -Arielle
    www.humblepievintage.com

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  10. I'm currently working on my Masters in Literature so my tip might be a little different. I carry around a pad and pencil everywhere I go so I can write down ideas I have for my papers. In the car I have a tape recorder, just in case I have a great idea. I also talk to myself in the car to try and work through my ideas. If I don't do those things I will have a great idea and then 10 minutes later completely forget it!

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  11. Great tips! I did the PJ thing and found I was getting really depressed. Now I get dressed but in comfy clothes and it's really improved my mood. I also watch movies while I sew. ;0)

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  12. Great tips. I find that making specific and realistic to do lists helps me out much more than non-targeted lists. Also, having materials laid out the night before def helps me get the day started.
    Thanks for the awesome tips!!

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  13. Good tips!
    I work by myself out of an office so it's kind of like working from home, but I can't show up in my Pajamas. I love the idea of specifying a list though because I tend to do a general overview but never detail it enough to get those things accomplished.
    One thing I do that helps keep me encouraged is checking off the things I have accomplished or highlighting them. That way it motivates me and shows me I am getting things done!
    I also have to communicate a lot with the people I'm in contact so I try to space out time to meet throughout the week so I have people coming in and out of the office on a more constant basis to keep things fresh.

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  14. Regular stretch breaks help keep me clear headed. And yes, there's something depressing about staying in sweats all the time.

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  15. A friend went outside to make some exercise or run, so when he came inside his brain and body were more inspired and with fresh ideas.

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  16. this is awesome! I can't wait till I can work from home! So inspiring!

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  17. Thanks for your advices :D I will try to change my clothes jejeje

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  18. I love this and I want to try some, especially Netflix. I'm trying to be more crafty and I get so distracted before writing a post or trying to design a layout.
    Thanks for these! :)

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  19. thanks for the tips. I need to try it out. I'm so unmotivated
    3lin

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  20. i don't work from home but i'm unemployed at the moment so i can totally agree to everything on this list. especially the plan lunch. it's so easy to forget and then i'm starving and get a headache before dinner. and getting dressed is a must otherwise i feel like a sloth.

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  21. I sincerely hope I get to a point in my life where I can work from home. (Doing what...no clue...not crafty haha!) But these are great tips! I'll use em if I ever get lucky someday and can be self employed :)

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  22. Oh my goodness, your little journal just inspired me so much! It is so darn cute, and I am in LOVE with your handwriting. I'm going to try to change mine to look like yours. :)

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  23. I don't work for home but always wondered if I could stay motivated and be productive! These are all great tips! I especially agree with getting dressed every day, I think if I stayed in Pajamas all day I would just "slug".

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  24. I find that getting dressed is very motivating too!! having a good cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate (depends on my mood) next to you is also helpful :)

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  25. This was SO perfectly timed. I should be doing work right now, but I just finished a project and shipped it off, then accidentally found myself sitting down and reading your blog -- oops!

    I clearly needed some redirection.

    Thanks!
    xx.

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  26. Wonderful tips! It is so hard not to get sidetracked some days!

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  27. I totaly agree with the getting dressed tip. Even on the weekends when I am home, I get a lot more done when I get out of my PJ's and get in gear!

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  28. Something that works for me: I always have anywhere in my appartement a work in process. So, when I get out of my working room and end up in the sofa, I'll still have something to do. All my crochet and embroidery projects are close to me. If I pile everything up in one room, I'll do less. But when I constantly get confronted with what I still have to finish - I work harder. I always have more than one project in process. If I have to finish project n°1 before getting to project n°2, I'll never ever get to project n°3.

    I love to get myself an iPad. I hate, hate, hate silence and I constantly need background-noise.

    Your advice surely helped. Especially the get-dressed-tip.

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  29. I agree with all of these. Especially getting dressed! ;)

    xo
    cortnie

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  30. Great tips! I agree on getting dressed... I used to be such a bum when I first started working from home. I was rarely ever out of my large tees and sweats! But now I definitely try to fix myself up... I feel so much more productive. :) Sea Marie

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  31. Good tips! For me usually it works making lists, as you said, plus...
    1. Since i have a bad habit of being messy, I have to keep the desk at least a bit in order, it helps focusing on what i'm doing instead of the pile of things next to me...!
    2. Making a big cup of tea (maybe with a couple of bicuits too) and drinking it while working, to get the right start!
    3. Making several plylists based on my mood (one for happy, one for sad, one for slepy etc) ready to play depending how i'm feeling that day :)

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  32. That's really true... But it's easy for me i'm a work junkie. I need 3 tips for stop working ;DD Any idea ? Okay, some days i take time for my wonderful man, for cats, for going out but working at home could be dangerous for social life...
    When i've began i listed my hours ... And have a blog is a great way for being on set everyday , sharing our work. It's a challenge to have something to show very often.

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  33. these are lovely---- i would LOVE to know which netflix movies you watch. I have the hardest time filling up my queue!

    breatheandhush.blogspot.com

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  34. Thanx for sharing these tips! I'm definitely going to try the dress up one! It didn't dawn on me till now that maybe being my out-of-bed messy state may be why I'm so slow in getting things done!

    Fang Ting
    ftashion

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  35. love your tips & all the tips in the comment section. ive been working from home for about 6 months & constantly find myself struggling to stay focused on work... i feel guilty working when there is housework to be done. my biggest distraction is the computer so i just started turning it off for a few hours & i am amazed at how much more i get done.

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  36. Katie, you know, I was actually thinking about leaving some recommendations in this post but didn't. But it is something I've been thinking about sharing anyways - perhaps in an upcoming blog post!

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  37. I don't work from home, I have a day job, so all of my 'other work' has to get done when I get home - which can be a challenge! I can totally empathise with the whole 'staring' thing - I'm such a procrastinator and tend to stare at stuff for ages waiting for inspiration or motivation to strike.

    Thanks for the tips, Lois x

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  38. You gave such interessant and helpful things !! Especially about not being pajamas to work !!
    Personally, I like to listen to instrumental music. Like this you have a little sound but not a "noise" and as you don't have to concentrate on the lyrics, you can just work ! <3

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  39. I dont work from home, but I work shift, so somedays just getting out of pj's is a big deal. But just putting on clothes does make you feel much more inspired and you get the feeling of doin and want to do more than sit at the pc looking as lolcats!

    Great tips you had there!
    So happy I found your blog while surfing the net. And I just love your camera collection! Wish I had one as big as yours!

    I dont comment that often, as I read your blog via google reader, but Im here, reading and enjoying what you write!

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  40. Oooh could you please tell us what type of flash that is that's attached to your Polaroid?? I've never seen one of those before except on your blog, and I've been dying to know what it is! :)

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  41. Very helpful tips! I agree that even if you don't have any plans to leave the house you should just put on some clothes. For me having real clothes on changes my mindset. I am not in "lounge" mode anymore.

    www.qacreate.com

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  42. Audiobooks, not movies, do it for me! They help me focus better to what I do with my hands while my mind is travelling. I choose mostly easy to read books but with some suspense like crime novels, mystery or, less often, horror. Popular science books work just as well

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  43. Yes! Getting dressed is a MUST. The tip about setting out what to work on the next day is brilliant! I set out my clothes before bed every night, why didn't I think of this? Thank you!

    http://james1542.blogspot.com/

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  44. These are fantastic tips - thanks for sharing! I've been alternately working from home/unemployed for about six months now and it's definitely hard to stay motivated without these things.

    I live by Netflix too, so I'm absolutely with you. A great series in the queue is worth everything - I recently rewatched The X-Files and it was fantastic. :)

    - Anika
    anikaguldstrand.com

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  45. Nice post! I guess the PJ's explain it, so I will definitely dress up more! :)

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  46. These are such great tips! I'm in law school and there are days where I need to spend the whole day studying. These tips are perfect for helping me stay motivated while being at home all day.

    a dash of GLAM

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  47. great blog and great post! love the "get dressed" tip--definitely believe that helps motivation!

    we just started a blog of our own and would love for you to check it out! www.thestylemaponline.com

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  48. Great tips! I agree with them all! I love your little owl in the window and wish I could work from home! I cannot wait till it happens someday! Hope you had a great Sunday! http://itsawant.wordpress.com/

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  49. this was really really really helpful. thanks!

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  50. Awesome tips and I love your blog ^^
    I always watch movies when I'm sewing, otherwise I can't concentrate :S Sounds weird!
    And getting dressed and shower is definitely something I have to do, to start my day.
    And that tip about audiobooks is also a great one, thanks!

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  51. You're so cool. I want to be you when I grow up. Oh wait, I am grown up. Seriously though, you're like a prettier, successful version of me. You are going to be my role model now, just so you know. And these tips should be so helpful! I plan to work at home too, but haven't managed to motivate myself to do it yet. I'll be like "Oh I have to dye my hair first or paint my nails." But no more! I will start making to-do lists and doing them. I'll even buy a planner. I'll get dressed every day and shower, instead of waiting to do that at about 6 pm when my boyfriend gets off work and wants to hang out. My parents bought me a netbook that I could take to class to take notes, but now that I dropped out of college, I use it to watch movies while I'm being successful on my main laptop. Seriously though, you're really inspiring me! I really did just plan to dye my hair today and work on my blog, but starting tomorrow, I am going to do work!

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  52. Oh I love this post! I work from home and these are great tips, thanks for sharing:)
    <3 Leney

    http://agirlnamedleney.blogspot.com/

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  53. Haha, I totally get the pajama thing! I just moved to a new state and had to resign from my career as an art teacher temporarily. So I am going harder with my etsy shop and indie markets, until jobs open in the fall. I am pajamas everyday til 1 or 2 sometimes. Depressing! The get dressed tip is one I will use.

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  54. Very helpful tips, It is very useful for me.

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