Let’s be honest, there’s a certain allure around working from home … the idea of both sitting on the couch in your jam-jams, watching Netflix and meeting your deadlines at the same time. But because you get to work from home, and you’re not working at an office with certain systems set in place to help you and the business achieve your goals you are responsible for creating your own system that encourages productivity! Since working for myself, here are a few things I have put into place to keep me focussed on my goals, and I hope some these will help you too. The good news is that most of these tips can be applied while still wearing your jamies … and once you make it to the end of this post you’ll receive your free daily planner.
1. Get up early and achieve one small goal
I know not everyone is a morning person, but when you get up early and do one small thing that gives you a sense of achievement you begin the day motivated to chase after that feeling. For instance, when you get up do something small like immediately wash the dishes or make your bed … or even go for a run. All these tasks will make you feel proud of yourself and leave you feeling motivated for the rest of the day.
2. Focus on one thing at a time
Often when you have a million things to do, you try to do them all at once. It’s only at the end of the day that you realise that you haven’t left your desk all day, and you still can’t tick anything off on your list as completed because everything on the list is now 5% completed except for the 3 new things you had to add.
The best advice someone ever gave me during times like these was to focus on doing one thing at a time, getting it done, and then only moving on to the next thing. Yes, this is easier said than done, but when you feel like you don’t know how you’re going to get everything done try to remember to just start with one thing and complete that before starting to think about the next thing.
When things are especially crazy what I like doing is making a list of everything that needs to be done and allocate a time to each task. Then I start with all the 15 minute tasks and complete them, crossing off as many as possible items and then I move on to the longer tasks.
3. Do the thing you hate doing first thing in the morning
Everybody has that one thing they really dread doing, whether it be replying to emails, filing documents or placing orders. A lesson I have learnt, is to ignore that little voice in your head that says “leave this really tedious task for the end of the day, and do this really fun thing that you’re really excited about first” … because if I’m being honest with myself I’ll know that I’m just going to end up postponing that task until tomorrow, when the exact same thing will happen again.
I’ve also realised that this ties into tip number 1 … when you complete something you were really dreading first thing in the morning you feel proud that you’ve achieved something and can then enjoy doing the things you’re passionate about, without feeling guilty.
4. Always remember your why
It’s very easy to think of goals you would like to achieve, we’ve all vowed to read more, quit carbs and do online courses amongst others, but it’s so easy for life to get in the way and your goals to fly out of the window. We’re all only human after all. But the important thing is to not let life get in the way of the things you are passionate about! When you set a new goal, be sure to establish what the reason is for your goal, and then when things get tough that very reason should be the fuel that keeps you going!
5. Keep your intrinsic motivation going
Admittedly this tip I got off a Ted talk … The Puzzle of Motivation which basically comes down to the idea that people tend to think that setting up a reward for yourself or someone else in order to increase motivation to get something done more effectively is not as effective as you may think …
The Ted talk discusses a study that showed that rewards only work with manual type of tasks where the person already knows exactly what to do, how to do it and does not need to solve a problem in order to complete the task. It showed that tasks that required creative problem solving were completed less effectively when there was a reward provided.
So how this can be applied in your daily work is by identifying when you or your employees need to do manual things like filing or answering emails a reward like leaving early or cocktails after work may help. But when a creative project needs to be completed like creating a new logo design rather create a free environment for it to be completed in without any rewards or incentives … you can always decide to give a reward afterwards but don’t use it at the beginning as a motivational tool.