I am one of the most easily distracted programmers in the world. As much time as I spend working on projects, I spend far more doing mundane things such as playing silly Android games, watching random stuff on youtube, reading the news etc.
When you work from home, distractions galore just wait around every corner of the room (and the web) to take you away from the tasks at hand and drown you in the comforting world of pointless on demand entertainment.
Infact, many idle months of my life have been spent at sub optimum productivity just because I was just too lazy to get out of bed.
Often, I have scolded myself for the lack of self discipline over the weeks with no avail.
Sure, its all in the head, but then that’s where most of our problems lie. If you had a magic wand that you could wave and gain complete control of your mind, well it would be magical indeed (or a pill).
Two tip I’ve found useful as a freelancer/entrepreneur:
- Concentrate on one thing
We all have many ideas that we’d like to implement and a million ways of doing them. This can lead to decison overload. You’ll end up setting priorities, rationing your time etc and this will lead to your mind being overloaded with information. That can result in your ultimately, being able to accomplish very little as when it comes time to act, you’d already have exhausted your mental faculties making all the tough decisons.
Act early and minimize the number of projects you want to pursue. This ensures that you retain focus on the things that you really should do
- Write down your goals/plans and break them into actionable parts. Then strike off the parts and mark your progress. The key being “Write”. In paper and in ink. None of the fancy new age todo lists or evernote stuff. Whereas they have their uses, in planning stages, paper and ink work the best. Writing your goals down gives them a corporeal presence, if you will
Even if you’re progressing 1% week, thats fine. As long as you can show yourself that there is something positive that you have done that week, it’ll lead to higher motivation
Another tip that I must absolutely recommend to people who have trouble staying motivated from home. This includes Freelancers, entrpreneurs, employees who want to start off on their own, and just people who like to build something in their free time, especially programmers is:
Stop Working from Home
Don’t challenge your mind into doing something that is so hard, you’ll only end up meeting failure. Without a purpose and progress, it is very easy to keep shifting into the lazy boy mode… So instead of focusing too hard on changing yourself, change the environment around you
There are many reasons a fickle mind like mine can find opportunities to stop working and relax for just a few hours when it is at home:
- Lack of proper furniture
- Slow Internet connectivity
- Ease of abuse
The solution: Coworking, ofcourse.
Most metro cities have come with the concept of shared working spaces where you are among other entrepreneurs/freelancers
Working out of such a space offers you all the infrastructure your home lacks and also puts you in the midst of other motivated people you can work around.
Beleive it or not, the motivation rubs off. When you meet people who are passionately working on products and ideas that they beleive in, its hard to not light a little fire in your heart.
Plus the fact that you’re making a physical effort in going somewhere for work will serve as a self fulfilling prophecy and will arouse in you a desire to work
There are many co working spaces that offer a day pass so you can try them out if you want to experience. Search on google and you will find one a few kilometers from your home
SpringHouse is one of my personal favorite. I work out of there almost everyday. It is a well designed, casual themed co working spaces and to me the springhouse team is almost family. Lots of my workshops and events are held straight out of springhouse
Recently, when I was staying in Noida for a few days I found myself fighting boredom and demotivation since I was staying at home.
One day, I found a co working space near my home (Bold Kiln) and my productivity jumped. Well, its hard to put a number to it, since I had zero work done from home. So by any measure, I was getting infinitely more work done from the co working space.
I finished proposals that had been due for quite some time. I finished my own resume, and even wrote a blog post for the first time.
Whether you are an engineer, a writer, an architect or any sort of proffessional that gets work done online, a co working space is the way to go to get stuff done
Here are some of the co working spaces I have worked at :
- Gurgaon : Spring House (http://www.springhouse.in/)
- Noida: Bold kiln (http://www.boldkiln.com/)
- Delhi:Spring House
Other notable examples are 91Springboards, CoWork Delhi, Innov8
Take my advice and start spending your free time at coworking spaces and you’ll see that your productivity will shoot up