Working from Home – 9 Ways to Get Going

Overcome a lack of discipline, structure and motivation

I help you to prioritise your activities and find the time for business and life whilst still being incredibly productive. Feel free to follow me on https://twitter.com/thetimedoctoruk or like me on https://www.facebook.com/Thetimedoctoruk

We have all been there, some days it’s hard to get motivated when you’re running your own business and working from home. There’s no boss to answer to, no one to hold your feet to the fire and no immediate repercussions if you goof off and spend the day watching videos on netflix, or playing the latest Game of Thrones instead of working.

Here are some ideas to get you going when you’re working from home and have one of those days:

  1. Plan your day in advance. Start with what is most valuable to your business. List everything you want to do that day and write a 1, 2, or 3 beside each tasks. The 1’s are the projects you must work on today. The 2’s are things you’d like to get started on if possible and the 3’s are things that could wait until next week. Don’t fall into the trap of being busy at low-value tasks.
  2. Close your browser window. When working from home and with no one else around it is easy to get distracted by social media. Don’t Facebook or tweet or read the news when you’re supposed to be working, use it as a reward, when I have completed this task I will catch up on Facebook for fifteen minutes.
  3. Work in short blocks of time. Set a timer for thirty minutes and work on one project during that time. Then get up and walk around for five or ten minutes. Get a glass of water or a snack. Then work another thirty minutes.
  4. Focus. Perform only one task at a time and give your full attention to that task. When you absolutely can’t focus; get up and take a short walk. Let your mind clear and then return to your computer with new energy.
  5. Push through the hard times. Sometimes when working from home, there’s nothing else to do but sit in your chair and make yourself do the work. Put words on the screen, put paint on the canvas, play the notes on your guitar. If you want to work for yourself enough, you’ll put in the time and energy. If not, maybe it’s time to job hunt.
  6. Determine your most productive time periods. One of the advantages of working from home is the ability to be able to work when you want to and at the times of day to suit you. Some people work best during the early morning, others late morning or afternoon. A few are night owls who do their most creative work at 2:00 a.m. Plan your schedule around your productive hours. Do the most important tasks of the day during that time.
  7. Remember how it used to be. Think about what it felt like to get up every morning and go to a job. You rushed out the door, drove in traffic for ten minutes to an hour, got stuck in traffic, hurried in the door late to see your boss scowling at you, sat in your cubicle all day doing work that bored you, and came home every night tired and grumpy. You wanted more. Now it’s up to you to hold on to what you’ve worked for and make it a success.
  8. Write down ideas. When you think of a brilliant idea while you’re working on something else, take a second and make a note in your idea document or your spiral. Then get back to work. The idea is safely saved for another time.
  9. Review at the end of the day.  Review your list of tasks. Marking off your completed projects will make you feel good and inspire you to work harder the next day. Start your list for tomorrow’s projects.

Remember why you’re working from home. Was your original motivation more money? Freedom to work from anywhere? Choosing your own work schedule? Spending more time with your children? Find a photo that represents your motivation. Place it above your computer and always remember why you do what you do.

If you would like more regular support in the area of time management and work/life balanace you may wish to consider joining nearly 700 members of my free facebook group the Time Management Academy. I would love to see you there.

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Till next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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19 thoughts on “Working from Home – 9 Ways to Get Going

  1. A fantastic collection of reminders Mike. The ‘ideas’ tip reinforced nicely how to safely keep the wonderful thoughts in one place (and take a moment (not an hour or two) to write it down and come back to it at another scheduled time. Great!

  2. Tweeted, and just joined your Facebook group! I love the idea of a place I can go to get hints (other than your wonderful blog, of course!) for helping me with time management. I have started making a list the night before now, so I am ready to start the day–and do prioritize! But still love the Pomodoro Technique!! I have my timer set right now!

  3. Another awesome post, Mike. It seems like you’re always talking directly to me. I do always try to review the end of the day. I make notes of what I didn’t get done and what I need to start with the next morning. The staying focused thing, I’m working on it :)
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    • A few people are saying that Diana, I might be onto something here :-), Point 7 is something we should all do from time to time, sometimes it’s hard to accept just how far we have come.

  4. This is a very helpful and informative article for someone who works from home. Lots of great tips that I am going to try and implement.

    • Thanks Julia, glad you found it useful, as I say sometimes we just have to push through, thanks for the comment about the speed of the site, I do compress images and everything is cached so will do a speed test and see what is happening, thanks for the heads up

  5. I cannot tell you how powerful this series is. As someone who moved home from the tradition office 6 years ago, these are much needed reminders.