Working from home has its benefits, that’s for sure. No commute, no overhead, the money you make is your own, you’ve got the flexibility to do what you need to do when you need to do it, you’re your own boss… Wait a minute! These last two can certainly be great perks of the work-at-home lifestyle, but be careful because they can also be your downfall.
Especially now that Spring is here, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the pretty weather and the desire to be anywhere but in your home office doing what needs to get done. Need to run a quick errand? No one is telling you that you can’t, so go; but on a sunny day, it’s all too tempting to not come back and get on task, isn’t it? And as for the fact that you’re your own boss, that’s great, but who’s there to motivate you when you’re just not feelin’ it? You and only you, that’s who!
Whether it’s today or next week or even sometime in the next few years, you will inevitably wake up one day and say to yourself, “I don’t feel like getting anything done today.” And you wouldn’t be alone. Far from it! We all feel that way, at least occasionally. But when you don’t have an office to go to, you’re really not accountable to anyone but you so it’s doubly hard to get motivated and stay there.
Let’s face it, having some strategies in place to get you going and stay energized is never a bad idea, so here’s an overview of what some of the top experts in the motivation field recommend:
#1: Get Up and Actually Go To Work!
Okay, so when you made the decision to work from home, you thought one of the great bennies would be you could just roll out of bed, not shower, throw on some sweats and get busy. That might be okay every so often, but if you’re taking that approach day in and day out, it could be a big mistake.
Starting your day out looking like you’re not really responsible for getting anything done that matters is actually not good for you psychologically when it comes to motivation. Be honest. You wouldn’t show up at an office looking like you just fell out of bed, not with any hope of making something of yourself anyway. Why should you get away with it just because you are working from home? Besides, it’s good to feel like you’re ready to face the day and any challenges it may bring. Feeling physically refreshed and put together is a big part of that.
#2: Set Goals
When you work from home, having goals is critical to success. If money is what motivates you, then you need to set financial goals for your business. You’re the boss. No one else is going to do it for you, right? Think about how much you want to earn today, this week, this month, this year? How many clients will it take you to get there? What concrete objectives do you need to meet over certain time horizons to meet your goals? Write it all down. Many people who work from home use a dry erase or some other posted board to organize their thoughts and objectives week to week. It may sound silly, but when you’ve committed in writing that you have to achieve some concrete task in a given span of time, and it’s staring you in the face, it goes a long way toward focusing your mind and energy…even when it’s nice outside!
#3: Break Bad Habits That Burn You Out
There is such a thing as being too driven, especially when you work from home where so much hinges on you and you alone. When you first decided to start your own business, you were all gung-ho, right? Maybe you worked so hard you skipped meals and forgot to take breaks to stretch your legs or just gather your thoughts. Now that you’ve been doing the work-at-home thing awhile, the bloom’s off the rose, the daily grind has become too routine and you’re crispy! Needless to say, that’s no good for your motivation when you need to find a way to get up tomorrow and do it all over again…with feeling! Make the decision to implement a healthy approach to your work day starting today. Eat a good breakfast, take a mid-morning break of ten minutes or so to stretch and think, take another short break for lunch and make sure your home work environment is comfortable and inviting.
#4: Change It Up A Bit
When times are tight, your small, home-based business might slow down some. You may feel discouraged and therefore unmotivated to keep going. Don’t give up so soon, especially if you made the decision to work from home for all the right reasons and to do something you love. Things will improve; they always do. In the meantime, think about ways you can sell your skills to acquire freelance or other short-term assignments that may not be exactly what you love doing, but that will keep you plugged in and help you pay the bills. Be careful though that you don’t take these short-term assignments too far and lose sight of your first priority, owning and growing your own home-based, small business.
#5: Actively Seek Out Mentors and Customer Feedback
Everyone who has ever owned a business has at one time or another felt unmotivated for whatever reason. It’s just human nature. Sometimes it’s important to hear from someone who’s been there that what’s going on in our lives, our businesses for that matter, is normal and that it will pass. We just need guidance and encouragement to keep on truckin’, even when we’re discouraged, frustrated and unsure of ourselves. Here’s the good news. When it comes to business, there are millions of others just like you who decided they wanted to own their own business and work from home and who have also struggled at one time or another with staying motivated to stick with it and make it work. Try reaching out to someone who’s been in business for themselves longer than you have. Tell them what you’re feeling. Bounce ideas off of them for how you think you can move ahead. Ask for their advice. Share your thoughts and ask for feedback. Being told you’re on track or even how to get back on it and then setting a course for further action can be a huge energy booster!
Another option is to start asking your customers about what it is they think you do well and could do better. You may be thinking that hearing something even remotely negative would be the end of you, but if you start with the positives, knowing what you can improve upon is a great motivator. It will give you concrete things to think about that might just re-energize and inspire you to set new goals.
It's so ironic, yet true…It takes motivation to want to get motivated! In the words of prominent author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, “Motivating gets you going and habit gets you there. Make motivating a habit and you will get there more quickly and have more fun on the trip.” Well said.