Thursday, February 28, 2008

Staying motivated when working on your own

I work from home. It’s an aspect of my job that gives me great flexibility yet at the same time really challenges me to be productive and responsible. It’s a very adult position; I have no-one to babysit me, supervise or check up on me. I’m simply trusted to get the job done. Which I do. Even if I don't strictly do it between 9 and 5. Here's how:

A quick win – If I can achieve something early in the day, I feel capable and positive for the day to come. So I start by focusing on something small, even if it's something entirely unrelated to work, such as my weekly budget. That way I achieve something quickly, I feel good and it benefits my working day.

Have a target – As a content writer, it’s easy to wallow in a sea of words and while away the hours, with no easy sense of closure. I have a target of how much I should produce a day (of course, it's always a rough guide). So that's what I aim for, rather than just putting in the hours or tinkering the text beyond all recogntion.

Do what I feel like – I work to my strengths and I work with my moods. If my brain is stuck in a fog that even a hefty dose of caffeine won’t lift then I won’t waste my time trying to write. What I produce will be bumpy and awkward and I’ll have a thoroughly miserable time.

I’d rather tidy my desk, fill out my expenses or even have a nap. I’ll come back to the writing when my mind’s in the right gear and I’ll work through the night if need be. Of course sometimes the ‘can’t be bothered’ moments need to be pushed through but I'd rather work to my own pattern than just sit at my desk to make others happy.

Creativity doesn’t happen on demand (although it does require a certain discipline) and flexibility benefits workers and business alike.

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