I work from home, 365 days of the year.
I have a lot of friends who question how I get any work done. They’ll ask me things like:
‘Don’t you get distracted?’
‘Man, if I worked from home, I’d just sleep all day and never get anything done.’
Truth is, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and consequently, I can’t pay my rent.
It’s not hard to get work done when you need to pay rent or buy food.
Just like it isn’t hard to work from an office under the same principle.
But, at times, it can get a little gruelling to be isolated and working on my own terms with no one around me to motivate me to keep going.
Here’s how I stay motivated.
The key to remote working is to compartmentalise your life. Make sure you know that day is day and night is night. Without that, all hope is lost… trust me.
I shower before I work, too. I put on clean clothes and make sure to follow a morning routine of coffee making and breakfast eating.
I take a lunchtime run around the park or to the grocery store.
I split my work up into chunks, putting time aside to write blog posts and articles, and other time aside to develop things like SEO strategy and work on social media promotion.
Compartmentalisation is the building block of good remote working. If you’re working from your bed in your underwear everyday, you’ll quickly lose your mind (that’s not to say the odd day working from your bed when you’re hungover isn’t essential).
I watch Vloggers on YouTube
Believe it or not, I find it oddly motivating to watch vloggers hard at work. Casey Neistat (Casey Neistat) and Peter McKinnon are my two go-tos, mainly because they’re coffee-drinking, fun-having travellers who seem to want to push themselves in their work.
I like that idea. We should all try to learn a little more and work a little harder.
Their videos are a short and to the point, too, and I’ll often watch one or two videos when I take lunch as a way to fuel me for an afternoon of work.
I maintain an active social life
On average, I see friends maybe four or five times in a week. Whether it’s rehearsing with my band, breakfast with my brother, getting dinner and drinks with my friends, seeing free movies at the club or playing chess with my housemate and friend, I’ll always be engaging with people and doing something.
People are important. As a remote worker, I’ve learned not to take my friendships for granted. I’ve learned to surround myself with only positive people. I’ve learned to get out and get some real life in me. Sitting alone in the dark and writing endlessly is unhealthy. A dose of real life is an important lifeline.
I study new skills
Masterclass.com is a dream. If you don’t know what it is, I highly recommend it. Check out their classes here. I just finished a writing class instructed by none other than James Patterson.
It was insane.
Getting lessons on writing from an influential expert is more motivating than anything I’ve written in this blog post. If you’re not learning from the best and studying new skills and exploring new ideas, you’re stagnant.
Next on my list is the chess course taught by master chess player Garry Kasparov.
Margaret Atwood’s best writing advice was this:
Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.
I run on the regular.
I’ll do yoga (when I can be bothered).
And I’ll swim and lift weights (also when I can be bothered).
I don’t need to explain why exercise is important. All you need to know is, as a remote worker, it’ll energise you, and it’s a great way to take an active break.
I discipline myself
Food comes after hard work. A second cup of coffee also comes after hard work.
Self-discipline is an important lesson we should all try and learn (and not just when we’re working remotely). It helps us to build a positive mindset that drives self-confidence.
I’ll put it this way: As a remote worker, if you’re not confident in what you’re doing, you just won’t do it. It’s that simple. Nobody is making you. Nobody is breathing over your shoulder. If you can’t discipline yourself enough to get a job done (and done to a standard you’re happy with), you should go and work in an office.
The office is my arch nemesis
I recently took a visit to a really cool office space in Dublin. There was fake grass, bean bags, an endless supply of free coffee and all the books I could ever imagine reading.
But it was still an office. People still stared at screens, sat in cubicles and discussed office politics in the break room. As fun as the facade was, it didn’t mask the fact that people still had a job to do.
Truth is, I hate office culture. Commuting is a waste of my time, time that could be used to work before anyone else’s day has even begun. Free food is redundant when I can cook a healthy meal for myself at home (and use that time to take an active screen break), and I live across from two beautiful parks, so I often get to exercise in the fresh air and shower at my own place, rather than running on a treadmill in the gym.
I also get to pick and choose where I work. My laptop is all I need, the rest can be designed by me.
If I’m feeling social, I’ll head to a favourite coffee shop and get some work done. If I want to take it easy, I’ll work from home. Heck, I can even just up sticks on Tuesday and book an AirBnB in Paris and work from there if I really want to.
Free reign, then, is my biggest motivator. It’s all about retaining control over my ability to make my own choices. And that’s all the motivation I need.