How to Stay Motivated While Working Remote

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Have laptop will travel?  Maybe you’ve already answered this call and are reading this from the sandy beaches of Mexico. Maybe you’re still in your office 40-minutes away from your home, but considering making a leap to a Remote Career.  In either case, you already know, that the grass may be greener in the pastures of self-employed remote work but there are still weeds to attend to.  Speaking from experience and from conversations with others who have chosen the self-employed remote lifestyle, consistently maintaining motivation is a significant challenge that must be addressed to sustain this lifestyle.

Do you always leap out of bed with enthusiasm at the prospect of going to work? I feel confident saying, probably not.  So what gets you to hope out of bed, get dressed, maybe fight traffic, and do your job when you aren’t feeling motivated to do so?  It was probably a combination of things.  For the vast majority of the worlds population, it is not always an option.  If you don’t show up to work, you could find yourself without a job and without income, which puts a limit on your ability to live.

No matter if you work for yourself, or another career, there will be days when you just don’t have the desire or interest in the days work. Unfortunately, regardless of how unmotivated you feel, your success Remote Work success will largely be determined by how consistently you can perform high-caliber work.  Here are some tips to help you deal with the motivation challenge.

  • The Motivation/Action Trap

    Many people falsely believe that motivation is a prerequisite for action. More specifically, the false belief that you have to feel motivated in order to act. The truth is much different. Action drives motivation, not the other way around. Acknowledge that when you do the work, regardless of how unmotivated you may feel, motivation will follow. This will push you to do more work, which will make you feel more motivated. The cycle continues. When we are in a good place, we don’t recognize this relationship; we don’t need to. However, when the train comes to a screeching halt – and it will, how do you get the locomotive steaming again? If you wait for motivation, you may find yourself waiting for quite some time. Sometimes you have to just start, the motivation will follow.

  • You Are Your Habits

    Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Your success in finding or working a Remote Career will ultimately be a function of your habits. We manifest into a version of ourselves which is not a reflection of who we want to be, or who we are once in a while, or who others think we are . . . we become our habits. Therefore, to set yourself up for success, develop strong habits. As you are developing your habits, keep them simple. Often, people fail to develop the habits that they reach for because their plan of action to get there is too aggressive. Instead, make your habits so simple that you can’t fail. For example, see how many consecutive days you can go with writing at least 100 words, or reading one chapter, set small goals to achieve and build from.

  • Win the Morning

    Author of the “4-hour Work Week” and digital nomad extraordinaire, Tim Ferriss said, “If you win the morning, you win the day.” Think of the work day as a competition or event, like a football game. Many football coaches will tell you that football games are won on the practice field, not the game field. Similarly, the day is won in the morning. If you are a morning person, this will be easier for you than if you are not a morning person. Either way, develop a morning routine that includes, at a minimum: a consistent time that you get out of bed, a good breakfast, some physical activity, a mindfulness practice, and making sure to have your action items listed or Kanban set up from the night before. This routine will set you up for success. Bring this routine with you, no matter where in the world you are. Traveling makes a convenient excuse to deviate from this routine because of time zone changes, jetlag, etc. You can have excuses or results, but you can’t have both.

  • Learn to Say No

    Sometimes you really need time for yourself. Whether that is focused time to take on the tasks of the day, or that time to go for a walk or workout. It is important that you keep yourself in mind as you join meetings or keep the work candle burning. Lately, I have found that if I am in too many meetings for one day, I will start declining with a message explaining my meeting limit. Find ways to keep yourself in mind as you develop these motivation driving habits.

The Remote Career lifestyle can be rewarding, exciting, and lucrative.  However, there are no free lunches in life.  The price to be paid for this lifestyle is the effort required to develop a disciplined approach to your work. Successful people learn to maintain their motivation levels by building proactive practices which allows them to be the author of their own destiny.  Authorship leads to ownership and ownership leads to motivation which will keep us in the game for the long-haul. 

Dan McCabe
Dan McCabe

Long time remote worker with the dream of enabling everyone to join the remote workforce. Owner and Editor of caniworkfromhere.com.

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