When you’re a sole proprietor, freelancer, independent contractor, or remote worker who primarily works alone, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is to stay motivated. That’s because you’re not getting that camaraderie and stimulation of being in an office that can sometimes give you a boost. Now, more than ever, working at home can be a struggle when it comes to motivation. That’s because the majority of us now have to due to the Coronavirus. But, here are some ways you can stay motivated when working in isolation during COVID-19.
You need to know the “why.”
“If you really want to keep going with your business and eventually reach success, it’s important to know the why behind what you’re doing,” suggests freelancer Miranda Marquit. “Do you have that internal motivation to understand why it’s important for you to do this? What is your driving factor?”
“When you know what you are meant to do, and you can use entrepreneurship to get there, self-motivation is easier. You are motivated to keep going because you have the answer to the why of your business and your life. This gives you reason to keep moving forward.”
Set a schedule.
Even if you’re not a schedule-type person, setting a schedule is a necessity when working alone. Even though you have the freedom to set your own hours, having a daily schedule creates some semblance of routine so that we’re not wandering around aimlessly.
For example, I wake-up before everyone else in my home so that I can go through my emails, review my calendar, go for a scenic walk outside, and then eat a healthy breakfast. I’m then off to work in my home office by 7 a.m. But, I never forget to leave some wiggle room for phone conferences with clients or running personal errands.
Bonus tip: time tracking software has helped me monitor my time and helped me stick to my schedule. It’s also made my productivity since it helps eliminate the time spent on unnecessary work.
Get involved in local groups.
Another way to get out of the house, and get a dose of motivation, is joining online networking groups. This is because it allows you meet potential clients and exchange ideas with other professionals.
Set up a competition with yourself.
This works particularly well if you are naturally competitive. Even just by saying to yourself, “I bet you can’t get this article done in an hour.”
Set a timer and just do it.Turning tasks into a competitive game is both fun, and most importantly, motivating.
If you’re gonna compete against yourself, then you’ll need a reward to compliment it.
Start by using a carrot-and-stick approach for self-motivation where you build rewards into your schedule. These rewards can be as simple as taking a five-minute break every hour, or as big as a family vacation at the end of a major project.
Break tasks into smaller chunks.
Jot down each chunk down in order. Start and complete the first chunk, then go check your email or get on Facebook – but just for 15 minutes. Set a timer. Go back and pick up on the second chunk and so on.
You can use the the Pomodoro Technique to help you stayed focused for a set period of time.
Know who to call on “those” days.
There will plenty of “those” days — especially when just starting out. That’s why you should avoid those energy vampires and contact people who are positive and supportive.
Don’t have a go-to-person? Develop a support team who you can depend on for encouragement and motivation. It could be your spouse, best friends, or another freelancer who can lift your spirits lend a listening ear.
Declare war on distractions.
Turn off your phone, as well as email and social media notifications. And, make use of internet blockers like Antisocial, Cold Turkey, FocusMe, and Rescue Time stop getting distracted and improve your productivity.
Post-it notes with inspirational quotes.
Place these quotes in places where you’ll see them frequently – like on your fridge, computer screen, or bathroom mirror. This can be a big boost when working in isolation during COVID-19.
If those notes don’t get you motivated, then create a playlist of songs that inspire you. Even books, movies, and YouTube videos can provide you with inspiration and guidance.
Lists are psychologically rewarding. Just think about the satisfaction you get when you cross completed items off your list. And, when you cross those items off, you’re usually more motivated to move on to the next item.
Keep in mind that you need to complete the first item on your list before moving on. If you put your least favorite task at the top, you’ll get it out of the way so that you can focus on more enjoyable tasks.
Humans weren’t meant to multi-task. It’s just not possible and does more harm than good. That’s why you need to single ask of you want to stay productive and motivated.
If you want to singletask like a champ, eliminate distractions, take breaks, prioritize your lists, and ignore notifications.
Fit in fitness.
Get your energy pumping by scheduling exercise into your daily routine to avoid the frustration of working in isolation during COVID-19. Whether if it’s kicking off your morning with a workout, taking a walk after lunch, or hitting the gym at the end of the day. Exercise can revitalize you and boost your stamina.
And, when you feel like you’re about to drift off, do some jumping jacks or run in place. It’s a simple way to restore your energy.
Whether you’re a freelancer or remote worker, think of your work like riding a bicycle. The only way that you’re going to keep your balance is by moving. As rowing coach, Mike Spracklen, asserted, “the best form of motivation is progress.”
Remember, if we all do our part, then working in isolation during COVID-19 will be temporary and we will be able to physically meet and social once again.