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How to Overcome a Lack of Discipline, Structure and Motivation When Working from Home

Some days it’s hard to get motivated when you run your own business. There’s no boss to answer to and no immediate repercussions if you goof off and play World of Warcraft instead of work.

Here are some ideas to get you going:

* Plan your day in advance. Start with what is most valuable to your business. List everything you want to do that day and write a 1, 2, or 3 beside each tasks. The 1’s are the projects you must work on today. The 2’s are things you’d like to get started on if possible and the 3’s are things that could wait until next week. Don’t fall into the trap of being busy at low-value tasks.

* Close your browser window. Don’t Facebook or tweet or read the news when you’re supposed to be working.

* Work in short blocks of time. Set a timer for thirty minutes and work on one project during that time. Then get up and walk around for five or ten minutes. Get a glass of water or a snack. Then work another thirty minutes.

* Focus. Perform only one task at a time and give your full attention to that task. When you absolutely can’t focus; get up and take a short walk. Let your mind clear and then return to your computer with new energy.

* Push through the hard times. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but sit in your chair and make yourself do the work. Put words on the screen, put paint on the canvas, play the notes on your guitar. If you want to work for yourself enough, you’ll put in the time and energy. If not, maybe it’s time to job hunt.

* Determine your most productive time periods. Some people work best during the early morning, others late morning or afternoon. A few are night owls who do their most creative work at 2:00 a.m. Plan your schedule around your productive hours. Do the most important tasks of the day during that time.

* Think about what it felt like to get up every morning and go to a job. You rushed out the door, drove in traffic for ten minutes to an hour, got stuck in traffic, hurried in the door late to see your boss scowling at you, sat in your cubicle all day doing work that bored you, and came home every night tired and grumpy. You wanted more. Now it’s up to you to hold on to what you’ve worked for and make it a success.

* When you think of a brilliant idea while you’re working on something else, take a second and make a note in your idea document or your spiral. Then get back to work. The idea is safely saved for another time.

* At the end of the day, review your list of tasks. Marking off your completed projects will make you feel good and inspire you to work harder the next day. Start your list for tomorrow’s projects.

Remember why you’re working from home. Was your original motivation more money? Freedom to work from anywhere? Choosing your own work schedule? Spending more time with your children? Find a photo that represents your motivation. Place it above your computer and always remember why you do what you do.

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