by Erin Cechal, Account Manager
I never aspired to be an independent contractor working from home, but in 2013 it happened. It was a tricky transition; no boss checking in on you, no co-workers to bounce ideas off of, and so many distractions. Seven years later, I’ve learned some tricks to help me stay focused and motivated.
First of all, understand your energy levels throughout the day. I am definitely not a morning person, but I am really focused in the afternoon. I’ll do low energy tasks, like review social media or creating photo galleries in the morning and save things like press releases or project planning for the afternoon.
Don’t sit on your couch during the work day. Just don’t; it’s too comfortable and right by the TV.
Taking breaks is a good thing, but set a timer for yourself so you don’t accidentally spend an hour reading a book when you have deadlines!
When I have a long and tedious task to do, I like to leave the house and go to a coffee shop or café to work. The change in scenery, background noises and carousel of people seems to heighten my productivity. And getting a latte or muffin while you work is like a reward for tackling a difficult project.
I recently invested in a standing desk, which I feel is helping me stay alert and focused. Plus, when you add music, it allows more room to dance. Music is another big motivator for me. I think the beat encourages you to keep going, whatever you’re doing.
Social media is a large part of PR work and can become repetitive and boring. It’s important to observe social media outside of your industry. Use your personal accounts to take part in social campaigns to see what they look like to the end user: you get a feel for what works and what’s overly complicated or disappointing. When there is an update to an app, explore what all the new features are: you won’t be able to implement them in your social plan if you don’t understand how they work.
The best resource for new ideas is the same resource that will keep you sane when working from home: your peers. Establish a chat group with colleagues you trust (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Skype or whatever program you prefer) and treat that chat room like it’s your coworkers at the next desk. You can ask questions, get recommendations, explore ideas and share information, not to mention get encouragement and validation.
The first law of motion is: an object at rest stays at rest, while an object in motion stays in motion. If you’re working from home, you’ve got to keep moving.