Working from home is the dream, isn’t it? You can come and go as you please. Well, mostly. You can dress the way you want, work from your couch or bed, and even browse the web as often as you want without having to worry about your boss peering over your shoulder.

But, how does this amount of freedom and flexibility affect one’s productivity?  When working remotely as a virtual assistant or in any other capacity, it’s imperative you put structure and rules in place for yourself. Sort of like creating your very own office culture but at home – a home-work culture if you will.

Staying motivated as a VA or freelancer can prove quite tricky but it all comes down to self-management and sticking to the set of standards you set out for yourself.

In this article, we look at a few simple yet effective tips to ensure you maximise your productivity while simultaneously using the privilege of working from home to your advantage.

Get dressed

Ah… the delight of working in your pyjamas. If you’re not seeing anyone that day, then what’s the point in getting dressed, right?

Wrong! However tempting it may be, it’s crucial that you get up and get dressed just as if you were getting ready for a day at the office.

If you’re thinking about staying in your lazy clothes all day, then how can you expect to be anything other than… lazy? It’s psychological.

Don’t believe us? Here’s what Dr Karen Pine, the professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire has to say:

“When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear,’ so when we put it on, we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”

Look, you don’t have to dress as if you’re working at a law firm, but just put on some pants for goodness sake!

Create your very own office space

What a pleasure it is waking up with your laptop rested upon your bedside table. No having to shower, zero travel costs, not a qualm in the world except for simply rolling over, wiping the sleep from your eyes and turning the thing on.

No! Again, psychological. If working in your pyjamas will affect your productivity, how do you think that working from the place you rest your head at night will influence it?

Not only that, but it could also prove quite stressful. Think about it for a second… if you work from your bed all day, then how can you expect to find peace and rest in a place that is synonymous with deadlines and commitments?

Our advice?

Create your very own workplace at home. Yes, an actual desk and chair. Not a TV tray and sofa. Creating a dedicated workspace is integral for maintaining a healthy work/life balance, especially when you’re working and living in the same place.

It helps you stay on task and keeps your work hours from being interrupted. At home, there can be many distractions and so, by setting up an office like environment, your productivity will inevitably increase.

Know how you’re spending your time 

Flexibility is a major plus side to remote work if you’re able to be diligent when needed. You need to have self-control, which means limited 2-hour lunch dates or watching funny animal videos on YouTube.

By creating a schedule for yourself, and sticking to it religiously, you’ll avoid the issue of being unproductive. Have a plan in place. Again, treat it as if you were at the office which means including in necessary breaks and waking up at a set time every day.

This will ensure you get what you need to do, done. Which means no missed deadlines! It also helps to write one down at first, or even use the multitude of apps out there designed for schedules and daily/weekly checklists.

It’s also important you stick to a set number of working hours every day.

Get out of the house

If nothing else but for the sake of your very own sanity, make sure you get out of the house as often as possible – at least 3 times a work week.

Whether this means going for a walk, going to the gym or for a swim or run, just, whatever you do, don’t let your home become a prison of your own making.

It sounds dramatic but it can be incredibly toxic to stay inside for days at a time, and besides, fresh air works wonders for your mind and productivity. It’ll leave you feeling re-energised and refreshed, raring to get back into your daily tasks.

Work from a co-working space

Remote work doesn’t necessarily mean work from home now does it? You know what we’re getting at, and it has to be done. Even if it’s just for a few hours, once a week.

Why? Human interaction is important. Without it, we naturally start to feel lonely and isolated, which can lead to a lack of motivation.

Remote work is all about balance and self-control. From a business perspective, to ensure a successful remote career, it is better to find a niche and become an expert in it because then there will always be work. You’ll also need to manage your client’s expectations as you do have a life outside of work after all. Just don’t confuse the two.

You probably read this because you’re struggling with staying motivated while working from home. Well, just stick to these 5 tips and you’ll be fine! If you read it because you’re looking to start a life of remote work, then why not consider becoming a virtual assistant? It’s like being a personal assistant, but virtually. Over the internet that is.

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