Working from home. Sounds pretty nice, right?
It’s something that a lot of us would love and even try to build a life around it (i.e. me).
But for some, it can be a bit of a nightmare. (also me)
A lot of people actually rely on the ritual and accountability that working at a workplace can have.
I really know that feeling, the ONLY thing that would get me out of bed in the morning for years was the fear that I would get fired for being late! And sometimes, not even that would help (I was late for work A LOT, whoops!)
Working from home takes a crazy amount of discipline and willpower, especially during a pandemic when your motivation is at an all-time low!
Fortunately, as a seasoned work-from-home-er (and as someone who generally relies on accountability to get things done), I know the struggles that accompany working from home – and I have some awesome and unusual tips for overcoming them!
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Top tips for maintaining willpower at home! (during a pandemic!)
Now there are a few standards – like having a daily routine and a dedicated workspace that are important, but these tips will go a bit further than that!
My first few tips are pretty standard, thought definitely worth mentioning, and the last few are where things get interesting!
Tip 1: Get creative with your motivation
I think that one of the biggest reasons for my willpower and discipline is that I have very big goals! And I’m very excited to achieve those goals.
That being said, sometimes on a daily basis, it can be hard to maintain motivation when those goals are so far away.
That’s why I also like using daily motivation strategies.
For example: I hate waking up early (but I know it’s good for me) – so I try to make getting up as nice and easy as possible. So I chose my alarm music to be a song that I really like and when I wake up I make myself a latte (which I really look forward to!)
Another way to motivate yourself daily is to plan something you really enjoy doing for after you finish work! And only let yourself do it if you have completed the task!
But sometimes you need a bit more motivation than that. The laziness is real, folks!
Sometimes, “just planning something fun” isn’t going to be enough motivation.
So here are a couple even more creative things you can do to maintain your motivation!
1. Keep yourself on track with a friend. Having a sense of accountability is the best way to motivate yourself, but you can lose that when you’re all alone at home.
Instead, get a friend to check in on you to make sure you have done what you were supposed to and you can do the same for them!
2. For extra motivation – put some money on it! The website stickK allows you to place money on yourself, like a bet. If you do your task, you can keep your money.
If you don’t, then the money gets sent to charity (or a charity or person that you don’t like, which is further motivation to stick with it)! This honestly might be the best motivator!
Related Article: 16 Productivity Tips to Crush Your To-Do List
Tip 2: Eliminate distractions as much as possible
When you don’t have to worry about your boss peering over your shoulder while you’re “taking a break” and looking at videos of puppies eating cheetos, it can be very tempting to get caught up in the weird, but entrancing rabit hole of instagram or facebook videos.
There are also other at-home distractions, such as your family and your oh-so-cozy-looking bed!
Here are a few ways to eliminate those distractions.
- Use Freedom – it’s an app that blocks whatever you want across all devices. So it blocks website AND apps! You can check it out here here! It has helped me SO MUCH to not browse facebook and instagram all the time!
- Have your designated workspace that is secluded (or if you don’t have an extra room, try and face a wall or something, so you don’t look at things that might distract you!
- Have a do-not disturb sign of some sort, so that your family knows not to disturb you when you’re in a deep focus mode!
Tip 3: Find ways to use your willpower LESS
Your daily willpower is limited. And your willpower gets used for every single decision you have to make.
And it is deceiving how many decisions you make in a day!
What kind of breakfast will you have? What will you have for lunch?
Where will your desk be for the day? And should you work on the oh-so-comfy-looking couch?
Will you work out before you work or after you work? What will your workout be?
And as trivial as these may seem, they are slowly depleting you of your will power!
So the solution?
Plan as many things as you can for the day – in advance!
And when you work from home, there are just that many more decisions!
Where will I work? When will I have lunch? When will I start work?
When you work from home, your day almost becomes too flexible and ends up hindering your ability to do work.
Things you can plan:
- your workout clothes (set them out the night before)
- what days you will work out and what time
- your meals for the day (you can try my meal planner!)
- when you eat
- when you start and stop work
- where you’re working – like I said, have a dedicated workspace! Or if you like variety, have different workspaces, but plan when you’ll use them.
And again, invest in a productivity app, like freedom or todoist, to keep you on track!
Related Article: 15 Ways To Cope With The Pressure of “Adulting”
Tip 4: Don’t try to do too much!
This is a common problem for everyone ever. Not to exaggerate, but I think I’m right.
It can be even more tempting when you’re working from home because you have all this magical time because you don’t have a commute and people distracting you at work.
But there’s a little thing called the planning fallacy that you need to keep in mind.
The Planning Fallacy is a human tendency to overestimate how much we can do in a day.
Spoiler alert: you can do a lot LESS than you think you can in a day.
That sounds like a bit of a pessimistic thing to say, but it will actually help you achieve much MORE in life!
Doing less will guarantee that you do it, rather than the alternative: which is planning too many things, getting overwhelmed, and then not doing it.
Over time, you’ll get more done every day if you just stick to things that are manageable.
And most importantly….
When you work from home, it can be very tempting to try to work as much as possible, in an attempt to get things done earlier in the day! That’s a good idea, right?
Well, yes, if you’re doing it right, but doing it right, involves taking BREAKS!
Your brain absolutely needs a break and it also needs fuel, which brings me to my next point…
Tip 5: Eating properly and drinking water!
If I don’t eat properly, I CANNOT concentrate!
There’s lots of evidence out there about drinking water and eating the right foods and the impact they can have on your concentration.
I know from personal experience that the days I eat healthier are the days where I feel the most energized and able to concentrate!
I actually eat a huge breakfast with a balance of fats, protein, and carbs – plus lots of veggies and fruit!
AND I try to drink a ton of water when I wake up to make sure I get hydrated. (This actually influences my concentration the most)
Also, remember that your brain runs on glucose, so you need carbs for it to work properly!! This doesn’t necessarily mean refined carbs and sugars, but things like fruit, potatoes, and whole grains.
The takeaways for developing and maintaining willpower!
- Be creative about your motivation
- Eliminate as many distractions as possible
- Use your willpower LESS
- Don’t do too much (and take breaks!)
- Eat properly and drink water (i.e. take care of your body)
- Most importantly, listen to your body and go easy on yourself!
Some days will be easier than others – and that’s OK! No one can be 100% everyday, so go easy on yourself! Especially now – it’s a goal pandemic y’all – it’s ok if you’re not disciplined 24/7 and doing 110 things a day.