Many of us know working from home can be both a blessing and a curse and requires a lot of willpower. Gone are the days of commuting to the office, and in are the days where you roll out of bed and hop onto the computer, right?!

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to get distracted by chores, friends, and family and find the motivation to get on with the work tasks that simply need to get done.

As a virtual assistant that works from home, I want to share with you some tips that helped me to become a self-motivator who stays focused and on top of my daily hustle.

I’ve put together some work from home tips and healthy habits that you can start implementing in your working life…

Develop a morning routine

This is probably one of the most important tips of them all! Having a morning routine can help to kick start your day, in a productive and positive way! There are so many things you can add to your morning routine to help make sure that your day is off to a good start.

I’ve heard it a million times, to get the most of your work from home life, a little discipline goes a long way. 

A routine is simply something you do repeatedly to flip the switch in your brain to tell you it’s time to get into ‘work mode’.

For you that might mean waking at 7 am, making a cup of coffee and reading. For someone else, it might mean waking at 6 am, getting your kids ready for school, dropping them off and then unwinding before work with some simple yoga.

Experiment and find a routine that works for your unique situation, is easy and enjoyable and the rest will fall into place.

For example, here is mine:

  • Wake up and choose an outfit to wear. (This is hard…I love my PJ’s) If there’s one thing I’ve realized since working from home is that sitting in your PJs all day is the death of productivity.
  • Have a cup of coffee. (A girl needs her coffee to function…) and eat breakfast.
  • Walk my dogs…I need to get my steps in early! Most likely listen to a motivating podcast. If it’s raining I do some yoga.

Open windows even in the winter

I spend more time indoors in the winter. I also live in Maryland so it’s cold out now. 

One of the simplest things you can do is to open your windows. Even in the cold months, for just a few hours a day, you could vastly improve the air quality in your home.

Once you do it, you’ll realize how heavy your air was and as a bonus, the new fresh air will give you a boost, trust me. ***Works great also if you need a quick wake me up!

Move your body and drink water

If you’re working from home, chances are you’re not moving from your desk very often. 

This much sitting is not good for anyone. Depending on your ability and desire, anything from a few desk stretches, to a lunchtime walk would give your body and your brain the boost it needs to keep those creative juices flowing. Set a timer for a reminder to MOVE if you think it would help.

If you like getting out of the house occasionally or a change of scenery is important…take your laptop, notebooks, whatever it may be, PACK UP and take it to the coffee shop, library or even a different spot in your home. A change of scenery will spark inspiration and motivation again.

DRINK WATER – It might not seem like an obvious step to take to improve productivity but keeping hydrated has helped with my energy and motivation. It also keeps the headaches away.

Plan breaks

When you’re working on a project, writing, or generally doing any kind of absorbing task, it’s easy to lose track of time. The last thing you want is to be working so hard that you miss a valuable snack or coffee break.

Set a rough schedule for yourself and stick notifications on your phone to remind you. Or if you’re a bit more analog, write it in your to-do list to take breaks at certain times of the day.

Here’s is an example:

Top of each hour: timer set to remind you to stretch and maybe “if you haven’t peed yet, go pee”.

10 am – let the dog out

11 am – water break (snack if required)

12 noon – lunch

1 pm – let the dog out

3 pm – snack break or simply walk around a bit

These are all tasks that I need to do anyway but doing when between work tasks means that I’m taking a break from business-related tasks and also resting my eyes from constantly looking at a screen. 

“Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative.”

Psychology Today

Remove your distractions 

It’s no surprise that when we’re working from home it’s almost impossible not to get distracted. This is probably the hardest thing to do when you are working from home but it’s crucial! When it’s time to work…it’s time to work!!!

Raise your hand if any of these distractions apply to you:

  • Netflix on in the background – Don’t have your tv on while working (this causes distraction). Try not to have music or any noise while working (unless it’s music that helps focus you).
  • Social Media – total time sucker unless you are doing work posts 😊
  • Phone – even if you have to put your phone in a separate room. Whatever it may be, don’t let it distract you from working.
  • Friends messaging you & Family ringing you – I’ve recently had to tell friends and family that I work from 9-5, so if it’s an emergency, they can call me twice and get through my call blocker (I don’t have one… I just made it up).
  • Family in the room with you (I’m talking about your, kids) – If you have children, it’s best to work when they are napping, or still asleep. I know this is tough, but you will get the most work done while the little ones aren’t distracting. So, if that means you have a late-night, it might just have to be that way. AND make the most of nap time!
  • Unwashed dishes
  • Other people’s clutter
  • Your own clutter
  • Anything and everything that isn’t your work

Yeah, I raised my hand multiple times too!

The fact is, we can never remove 100% of our work from home distractions. But we can reduce that list significantly.

Creating healthy habits for your work from home life can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out, or things have gotten out of hand.

If this is the case, I recommend starting with just one of these and implementing the changes over the course of a few weeks. Then add another. Be patient, your ideal work from home life will take time to happen. 

Finally, you still do need human interaction. Meet your friends on their lunch hour and gab. Call your boss on the phone instead of sending that email. Go to happy hour occasionally to catch up with friends. Working at home is not for everyone, but it is a wonderful experience and a terrific opportunity for many.

I hope this gives you some inspiration and motivation! Working from home is a luxury but it’s also not always what it’s cracked up to be! Make sure you are setting boundaries, staying productive, and staying healthy! It’s all about balance.

V.A. Julie M.