Staying Motivated: Home Office Edition

how to stay motivated in the home office

Working from home can be challenging, especially when it comes to staying motivated. From household distractions to a lack of structure, there are many obstacles to staying focused and productive. However, with the right strategies, it is possible to create a positive and motivating work environment at home. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated in your home office:

1. Create a dedicated workspace: Establish a separate workspace in your home, preferably in a quiet room with a door that can be closed to minimise distractions. This helps create a boundary between your work life and personal life, allowing you to focus better.

2. Declutter your workspace: A cluttered environment can impact your productivity and mental clarity. Take time to organise your home office, removing any unnecessary items, and creating a neat and organised space. This includes dealing with digital clutter, such as unneeded files and emails.

3. Get dressed for work: While the comfort of pyjamas or sweatpants may be tempting, dressing appropriately for work can boost your motivation and productivity. It helps signal to your brain that it's time to work and can increase your focus and alertness.

4. Create a schedule: Structure your workday by creating a clear schedule. Set specific work hours and break times, and stick to them as much as possible. Break down large tasks into smaller, manageable blocks of time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

5. Take regular breaks: Working non-stop can lead to burnout and fatigue. Taking short breaks throughout the day, such as a 5-10 minute break every hour, can boost your energy, improve your focus, and enhance your motivation. Use these breaks to disconnect from your work, whether it's taking a short walk, stretching, or making a healthy snack.

6. Limit distractions: Social media, TV, and household chores can easily distract you from your work. During work hours, keep your phone out of reach, turn off the TV, and set ground rules with family members or roommates about when they can interrupt you.

7. Practice self-care: Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial for maintaining motivation. Eat healthy meals, stay hydrated, and ensure you get enough sleep. Also, incorporate activities that help you relax and manage stress, such as meditation or exercise.

Characteristics Values
Create a dedicated workspace A separate room with a door, good lighting, and ventilation
Wear the right clothes Dressing professionally can boost productivity and motivation
Create a schedule Establish a clear routine with fixed work and break times
Take regular breaks Take a 5-7 minute break every hour, go outside, or do some exercise
Limit distractions Turn off phone notifications, put your phone on "Do Not Disturb", and keep your personal cell phone out of reach
Practice self-care Eat healthily, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly
Reward yourself Set up a rewards system to boost motivation and hold yourself accountable
Connect with colleagues Check in with colleagues to feel more connected to the business


Create a dedicated workspace

Creating a dedicated workspace is essential for staying motivated when working from home. Here are some tips to help you set up a productive and comfortable workspace:

Choose the Right Location

Select an area in your home that allows for privacy and minimal distractions. If possible, choose a spare room as your dedicated workspace to create a sound barrier between you and the rest of the household. However, if you don't have a separate room, consider setting up your workstation in a dining room or kitchen, as these areas usually offer ample counter space and good lighting. Ensure your chosen location provides access to natural light and allows you to make work calls without interruptions.

Get the Right Furniture

Invest in a comfortable and supportive chair to prevent aches and pains, especially if you'll be sitting for long periods. If possible, get an ergonomic chair designed to provide proper back support. Additionally, ensure your desk or table is the right height so you can maintain good posture while working. If you're using a laptop, consider getting a laptop stand to raise the screen to eye level and avoid neck strain.

Organise Your Workspace

Keep your workstation clean and organised. At the end of each workday, declutter your desk and put away any items that are not frequently used. Organise your essential work tools and supplies into zones to optimise your productivity. For example, Zone 1 can include items you need immediate access to, such as your laptop, mousepad, notebook, pens, and phone. Zone 2 can be for items used throughout the day but not as frequently, such as research materials or a calculator. Zone 3 is for items used less frequently, like your stapler, printer, or filing cabinet.

Enhance Your Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in creating an effective workspace. If possible, position your desk near a window to maximise natural light, which can enhance your mood and boost your energy levels. If natural light is limited, use desk lamps or wall-mounted lamps to illuminate your workspace adequately. A well-lit space will reduce eye strain and create a more pleasant working environment.

Add Personal Touches

Personalise your workspace to make it a place you want to work in. Decorate your space with plants, artwork, or family photos. Include items that spark creativity and inspire you. You can also adjust the lighting to create a more inviting atmosphere, such as using a warm lamp or adjustable lighting to change the settings as needed.

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Set a schedule

Setting a schedule is an important part of staying motivated when working from home. Without a structured workday, it's easy to get distracted and let time slip away from you. Here are some tips to help you set a schedule and stay motivated:

Establish Working Hours

Decide on a start and end time for your workday and try to stick to it as much as possible. Having a consistent schedule will help you establish a routine and make it easier to separate your work life from your personal life. Share your schedule with your boss and colleagues so they know when they can reach you.

Create a Daily Plan

At the beginning of each day, make a list of tasks that you need to complete and the expected time you will spend on each one. Prioritize the most important tasks and set aside time for deep work, which requires more focus and cognitive skills. Review your list throughout the day and evaluate your progress at the end of the day.

Take Regular Breaks

Breaks are essential to help you stay motivated and avoid burnout. Step away from your computer and find an activity that allows you to mentally and physically disconnect. Take a short walk, stretch, make a snack, or spend time with a pet. Getting some fresh air and light can do wonders for your motivation and well-being.

Schedule Check-Ins

Stay connected with your colleagues by scheduling regular check-in meetings. This will help you stay on the same page and provide structure to your day. It will also give you a sense of accountability and help you stay focused.

Set Time Blocks

If you have flexible working hours, consider setting time blocks for your personal activities and outside-of-work hours. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and ensure that your colleagues know when you are unavailable.

By setting a clear schedule and sticking to it, you'll be able to stay motivated, productive, and focused while working from home.

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Take regular breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential to staying motivated when working from home. Working non-stop can leave you feeling drained, and it can also take a physical toll, causing muscle and joint problems or repetitive strain injuries. Breaks are necessary for your career and well-being.

Benefits of Breaks

Breaks can help to prevent decision fatigue, increase attention and focus, boost creativity, strengthen memory, and renew motivation after a stressful period. They can also help to lower stress and anxiety and improve overall well-being.

There are various theories on the optimal timing of breaks. Some sources suggest taking a break every 60-90 minutes, while others recommend more frequent breaks, such as every 30-60 minutes. The Pomodoro Technique, a popular productivity method, suggests taking a 5-minute break every 25 minutes, with a longer 15-20 minute break after four cycles. Ultimately, the timing of your breaks should be based on what works best for you and your work style.

What to Do During Breaks

During your breaks, it is important to step away from your computer and do something that allows you to disconnect mentally and physically. Taking a short walk, stretching, making a healthy snack, or spending time with a pet are all great options. If possible, try to get some fresh air and spend time outdoors during one of your breaks.

Scheduling Breaks

To ensure you stick to your break schedule, consider setting alarms or adding your breaks to your calendar or planner. By making a commitment to taking regular breaks, you can form a habit that will help improve your productivity and overall health.


Wear the right clothes

Working from home can be challenging, and it's easy to fall into the trap of staying in your pyjamas all day. However, what you wear has a strong psychological impact on your motivation. According to Dr. Karen Pine, a psychology professor at the University of Hertfordshire, dressing too casually can make you less focused and alert.

So, what should you wear to stay motivated when working from home?

Firstly, find a balance between keeping it professional and comfortable. On days when you don't have any virtual meetings, it's probably okay to wear a more casual outfit, prioritising comfort. But on days when you do have virtual meetings, dress as you would if you were attending in person. This will help set your focus and confidence, allowing you to represent yourself and your company in the best light.

Secondly, wear clothes that make you feel good. This could be a pop of colour, a favourite cardigan, a neutral shirt, or a pair of comfortable pants. Putting on something that makes you feel confident and unique will help you feel ready to tackle the day.

Additionally, consider the level of formality of your outfit depending on your schedule. For example, if you have an important meeting, you may want to dress more formally.

Finally, while comfort is key when working from home, avoid wearing pyjamas or extremely casual clothing, as this can impact your motivation and productivity. Instead, opt for outfits that signal to your brain that it's time to work, such as comfortable pants and a soft, ribbed-knit cardigan.

By dressing for your day and choosing outfits that make you feel confident and focused, you'll be well on your way to staying motivated while working from home.


Eliminate distractions

Working from home can be challenging, with many distractions that can pull you away from your work. Here are some tips to eliminate distractions and stay focused:

Create a Dedicated Workspace

It's essential to establish a separate workspace to signal to your brain that it's time to work. Avoid working in your bedroom, as it can interfere with your sleep and the privacy of your personal space. Instead, set up a home office or use a kitchen table or a desk in a quiet corner of your home.

Block Out Distractions

Physically block off your workspace from the rest of your home using a screen or a decorative bedsheet as a curtain. This simple act of creating a defined workspace can help reduce the temptation to wander off or get distracted by things like the television.

Manage Your Devices

Your phone and other electronic devices can be significant sources of distraction. Utilise the "Do Not Disturb" mode on your phone to block calls, texts, and notifications until you decide otherwise. You can also adjust the settings to allow certain important callers to reach you. Additionally, consider blocking distracting websites and turning off push notifications on your devices.

Schedule Breaks

Taking regular breaks is crucial to staying focused and avoiding burnout. Schedule breaks throughout your day to disconnect from your work mentally and physically. Take a short walk, stretch, prepare a healthy snack, or spend time with your pet. If possible, step outside and get some fresh air to clear your mind and boost your motivation.

Declutter Your Workspace

A cluttered workspace can be distracting and affect your productivity. Take time to organise your home office, removing any unnecessary items, papers, or trash. Create a filing system for documents and archive important emails to focus on critical messages. A clean and uncluttered environment allows your brain to focus better on the task at hand.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively eliminate distractions and create a more productive work environment when working from home.

Frequently asked questions

Create a dedicated workspace that is separate from the rest of your home. Make sure you have the right equipment and furniture to work comfortably and productively.

Dressing for work can help you feel more professional and motivated. While you don't have to wear a suit and tie, wearing something that signals to your brain that it's time to work can help increase your focus and alertness.

Create a schedule or routine and stick to it. Break large tasks into smaller, manageable chunks and set clear objectives for the day. Take regular breaks and spend time outdoors if possible.

Turn off your phone notifications and keep your personal cell phone out of reach. Use productivity software to help you stay focused and on task.

Check in with your colleagues regularly. Call or message them to update them on your work or the status of a project. This will help you feel more connected to your team and the business.

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