‘Don’t you ever get distracted?’ and ‘aren’t you tempted to watch TV?’
Those are just some of the questions I routinely get asked as a work-at-home mum. And the honest answer is: no!
I’ve been self-employed for seven years now, working from home with one, two and then three babies, and while I wouldn’t have it any other way, it can be tough – chicken pox gate being the most recent example.
It can also be quite isolating, especially when you’ve handed in your notice and decided to go it alone, going from a busy office – in my case a news desk – with lots of other people to only the cats and a baby – or two – for company.
So, how can you stay motivated? According to the Office for National Statistics 50% of the UK workforce is predicted to work from home by 2020, a significant number of whom will be mums and dads.
With more and more of us juggling parenthood with a career I was interested to come across Mama Got This, a networking club founded by two self-employed working mamas to support working mums like me. ‘Be the CEO your parents always wanted you to marry’ is one of their straplines, which I think is brill, and they’ve come up with some top tips for anyone working from home like me.
5 ways to stay motivated when you work from home
1. Plan a to-do list
Writing a list and prioritising your top three things to get done is a great way to set goals for the day – but make sure they’re attainable. (I set myself mini deadlines throughout the day to keep me focused and on track). Then once you’ve finished, you’ll feel proud, motivated, and ready to do a lot more!
2. Create your own workspace
Setting aside a space that’s purely for work will help to get your brain into ‘work-mode’. (Trust me, working among soggy cornflakes and piles of laundry is not conducive to productivity – see creating a home office when you don’t have an office). Wearing ‘work clothes’ – instead of pjs – can also have a similar psychological effect.
3. Play music
Playing your favourite playlist can distract the part of your brain that may be looking for entertainment, plus music is relaxing and will get you into a good vibe for keeping focused. Make sure your tunes aren’t too loud though, as this can reduce your ability to concentrate.
4. Take a break
It’s a proven fact that regular breaks increase productivity and creativity. Working for long periods of time can lead to stress and exhaustion, so it’s important to replenish your mental resources with a nice cup of tea, a quick 10-minute walk or a TV break.
5. Set your hours
One of the downsides of working from home is the temptation to work long hours, reducing the separation between ‘work’ and ‘home’ life. Don’t fall into this trap. Set your hours and stick to them.
Do you work from home and do you find yourself easily distracted? If you have any top tips I’d love to hear them!