Remote work and freelancing have been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. Having a distributed team gives companies the chance to avoid the overwhelming costs that go into setting up and running a traditional office and at the same time gives the freelancers more freedom and better work-life balance. It’s therefore no surprise that entrepreneurs like Matt Mullenweg have been advocating remote work for years and have gone so far as to call it the future of all business.
Unfortunately like all good things in life, working remotely also has its downsides. One of those downsides is the difficulty many people face in maintaining productivity. If you have worked from home for any length of time then you know how difficult it can be to stay motivated. Sometimes getting through the work day seems all but impossible. Luckily there are several ways around this problem. We’ll explore some of them here, but keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You will have to experiment with various techniques and find out what works best for your unique situation.
Start with some easy wins
Have you ever noticed how you get a sense of accomplishment when you check off a task on a todo list? Well the reason behind that is simple: dopamine. Your brain rewards you with the happiness hormone when you finish a task. It’s therefore very helpful to finish a few simple tasks at the start of your work day to get the dopamine flowing. Once you’re in the “zone” you can tackle much more complex tasks with ease and stay motivated for the rest of the day.
Choose the right music
One of my favorite things about working from home is that I can listen to my music without worrying about disturbing coworkers. I’m sure a lot of remote workers and freelancers would agree with me. Also, studies have shown certain kinds of classical music to be a temporary IQ booster. Listening to Mozart before an IQ test literally improves the score!
So overall, listening to music is a great idea. However it’s important to choose the right kind of music. Here are a few suggestions:
- Up-tempo music is usually well suited for repetitive tasks
- Simple tunes are better for creative work
- If you get distracted easily, try ambient nature sounds
I personally love listening to game and movie scores during my work day. These soundtracks are often designed to boost focus which comes in handy when you’re trying to solve a problem or be creative.
When you are not in an office environment, it is easy to get distracted, especially if you are living with other people. Frequent distractions affect your productivity which in turn lowers your morale and your motivation level. This can have an adverse snowball effect. So it is recommended that you try to create a distraction-free environment. If possible assign a room as your home office and try to get most of your work done there. Obviously you may need a change of scenery every now and then in which case you can work out of your favorite coffee shop or a co-working space.
Using social media during work hours is a big no-no, even if your company hasn’t explicitly forbidden it. Once you open your favorite social media site you can lose hours. This lost productivity in turn ruins your motivation level.
Remote work has countless advantages but staying motivated can be a challenge. Hopefully the points discussed here will help you stay inspired throughout your work day.