For nearly 20 years, I’ve worked remotely from the comfort of my home, and while many of my friends envy me, waking up every day to conquer my commute down a flight of stairs into my home office still requires motivation.
Many misconstrue the concept of working remote and believe that those of us who have the ability to work from home equates to having time to put a load of laundry on, stepping away to make yourself a sandwich whenever you want and the leniency to set your own schedule.
Regrettably, this perception couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sure, there are people who work remote and manage to find the time to do household chores throughout the day, but the reality is that those who are doing so are not as productive as those that don’t.
In my field of work, I’ve had to find a balance that best suits me which requires structure, consistency and accountability, in turn providing the secret to my success all these years.
Whether you’re self-employed or working for a corporation, having boundaries when working remote is a necessity. I’ve personally spent the past 19 years working for myself, but recently accepted a job with MobiusPay where I still maintain the same work ethics as I did while being self-employed.
While some of my remote motivation tips may not work for everyone, I’ve found these to tremendously contribute to my overall happiness and wellbeing which is essential in life for everybody!
So here goes:
- Shower First Thing
Taking a shower before sitting down to work helps to rejuvenate your soul, revitalize your mind and prepares you with a clean slate to start the day. Regardless of what yesterday may have delivered, showering before having to face the hurdles can potentially provide new prospective on a stale situation.
- Put Some Clothes On
While working in your pajamas may seem like a perk, it is in fact counter intuitive as it prevents you feeling fresh. Some even suggest dressing as though you were going into an office cause as we all know, when you dress to impress you feel good and feeling good leads to positive motivation.
- Create a Workspace
Sure, you can work from anywhere in the world if you have a laptop and internet connection but having a regular work environment helps provide structure as well as being able to separate work from home. I had a wall and door built in my home office so that I can physically close the door at the end of the day and walk away. Having the ability to separate your workspace from your home is vital for your mental health.
- Have a Consistent Routine
Get on a schedule! Some say to wake up early, but I believe if you just keep regular hours every day the consistency helps to train your brain to acknowledge when to work and when to pull the plug. Once upon a time I’d work till the wee hours of the morning and would sleep till whenever I woke up. This became a very unhealthy way of living as I found myself missing the light of day for weeks on end, but since introducing a routine not only my motivation has drastically improved but so has my productivity.
- Create a Daily “To Do List”
To hold yourself accountable for the day’s tasks, creating a daily to do list can provide an oversight of your successes achieved at the end of the day which in turn promotes a feeling of accomplishment. Furthermore, you can then assess what must be transferred over to tomorrows list to ensure that you tackle all the projects on your plate.
- Avoid Online Chatter with Friends
It’s normal to have general banter online with those you work with during work hours but, try to avoid full blown conversations that are not related to work. This deters you from spending countless hours being unproductive because if you’re unproductive you will eventually fall into a negative mindset because you won’t be completing your required workload.
- Take a Break
This is my biggest problem with working remote. I have a terrible habit of losing track of time and often find myself questioning where the day has gone and how I haven’t eaten all day. Taking regular breaks have scientifically proven to provide more throughput so I now have a timer on my phone to alert me when it’s time to step away from the screen to breath, refill my water bottle or grab something to eat.
- Remove Possible Distractions
Unless you work in social media or require information from social media that relates to work, you should save social media screen time for non-office hours. We all become victim to liking posts, watching cat clips and other mundane things that really serve no purpose, so if you want to remain motivated and focused with work, avoid social media usage!
- Change of Scenery
One of the biggest advantages of working remote is that you can work from anywhere. If you find yourself dreading the day ahead, pick up your laptop and venture out to a new location. Maybe a coffee shop, a beach bar, a restaurant or even your back yard, as a change of scenery can deliver positivity and new perspectives.
- Have Boundaries
After 19 years of being self employed and legitimately working around the clock to accommodate international clientele, I’ve now discovered that the world will not end if I do not answer every Skype message or email that’s received after office hours. Having boundaries set is vital to being able to separate business life from personal time. Obviously, there will be exceptions from time to time, but I strongly advise enforcing set hours as best you can to avoid feeling overwhelmed and over worked.
- Be Organized
Find the groove that fits you! If you tend to have a lot of paper around your desk (like I do), find a way to keep it in an organized pile till you can tend to it. Have pens, staplers and other office supplies in an organized fashion so that you never find yourself spending time searching for things. Being organized doesn’t mean not having a mess, it means you have control and knowledge of your surroundings.
- Communicate with Peers
Whether its colleagues, clients or customers, be sure to spend time communicating with others during your workday so that you fill the void of feeling alone. The beauty of working remotely is that you can choose to do this when it suits you and you can avoid it when you’re simply not in the mood. It is strongly advised to coordinate weekly meetings with your peers to go over goals as well as share accomplishments and failures as this provides the sense of unity and promotes healthy relationships in the workplace.
- Stretch Regularly
There’s a reason why Apple created an app that reminds you to move! Sitting constantly at a computer can have some severe, long term consequences. After 20 years of sitting on my ass in front of a computer I’ve gained weight, have serious neck problems and wear glasses earlier than what was expected. For your own sanity, take 60 seconds every 30 minutes to stand up, reach for the sky and then touch your toes. Do a couple of neck stretches, roll your shoulders and seems you’re already moving, do a few squats too. Getting your blood flowing, even if only for a minute, can drastically improve your overall motivation as it releases endorphins that can trigger a positive feeling in the body.
- Stay Hydrated
Seems like a no brainer, but so many people fail to hydrate their body throughout the day. As much as 75% of the American population are dehydrated due to lack of water consumption. Did you know that 60% of our bodies are composed of water with 85% being in our brains?
Hydrating regularly assists the body to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients as well as detoxify our kidneys and liver. Failure to stay hydrated can result in many health concerns so this is not just advice for working remote but in general for overall well-being. And it’s so easy to tell if you’re dehydrated. Just look at the color of your urine, if it’s dark you need more water.
Solution: always keep a bottle of water on your desk!
I know there’s a lot of different tactics others suggest but these are the focus points that I’ve found to work for me after 20 years’ experience of working remote.
My mission and purpose of this article is to hopefully supply at least 1 new habit that you will implement that will help improve your motivation and increase your happiness cause in the grand scheme of things, being generally happy, regardless of what you do or where you work, is the primary objective in life.
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