Ways to Stay Motivated When Working Alone

Working alone isn’t for everyone. Humans are social creatures, and we’re not designed to spend hours on end in isolation, completely cut off from human contact. While it’s true that some of us work better when we’re alone, eventually loneliness can start to set in. This holds especially true when we’re working alone in remote setups. While solitary working can be faster or more efficient initially, the emotional drain of loneliness can end up making you much less productive.

Working alone doesn’t need to be this exhausting, though. By making a few changes to your lifestyle and daily routine, you’ll find it much easier to stay focused and get things done. Here are some tips to get you started.

Structure Your Day

As obvious as this may seem, fixing up your sleep schedule can help you stay focused. Making sure you get a full 8 hours of sleep every night does wonders for your mental state, and being well-rested means you’re ready to tackle any task you need to complete. Those 8 hours should also be consistent — going to bed at 10 PM one night and 2 AM the next won’t help you. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

You should also keep the rest of your day structured in a similar way. Give yourself fixed blocks of time during which you’re going to work, while also allowing yourself breaks to relax and regain some energy. This way, you’re still in a working mindset and won’t allow yourself to slack off too much.

notebook with to-do list

This doesn’t mean you work with no plan in mind, of course. While getting ready to work each morning, plan out what tasks you need to complete that day and prioritize them based on their importance. You may find it helpful to write out a to-do list of tasks that need to be finished within the day or week.

Leave the House Often

As stated before, humans are social creatures. Being alone for hours, or even days, on end isn’t healthy for anyone. Instead, try to get some social interaction in every once in a while. It doesn’t need to be with a large group, or even a formal meet-up. You could get lunch with a friend or family member to keep things casual and relaxing.

Speaking of relaxing, just walking around outside can do you good, too. It gives you a bit of exercise and a breath of fresh air, both of which will leave you feeling refreshed and even motivated. Staying healthy and going outdoors every once in a while ensures you stay alert throughout the day and means you’ll get more work done.

women walking down street

Find Another Place to Work

Working in the same place all day, every day, can get dull at some point. Try to give yourself a change of pace by finding an alternate workspace. Choose an area that makes you feel comfortable enough to get things done. This could be a dedicated co-working space for some, or a nice and quiet library for others. What matters is that you find a space makes you feel motivated to work and gives you a fresh perspective on things.

Try to alternate between workspaces randomly to avoid making your days feel repetitive and keep things interesting. Otherwise, you may find that your alternate location is getting just as boring as your original workspace.

Talk to People

Communication is key, no matter what line of work you’re in. By spending too much time alone, you risk causing detriment to your social skills, and that’s easy to do in today’s world where we’re surrounded by technology. Don’t just communicate with people via email or text. Having real conversations is important, too, and further helps kill any loneliness you may be feeling.

“Real” conversations also help you feel more energized, even if it may seem like the opposite. The chance to connect with another person can do wonders for your mental state and keeps your social skills intact, which is always important. You can’t stay alone forever, after all.

group of people talking and smiling

Minimize Distractions

Working alone, with no one there to oversee you and make sure you’re doing your job feels freeing, but can end up making you less productive for obvious reasons. To counter this, try to eliminate as many distractions as you can. This includes text messages, social media, and more.

Even if you’re not willing to uninstall apps entirely (and besides, you can access many social media websites from your browser), there are other ways to keep them from distracting you. Nowadays, there are apps that help with this by blocking push notifications and your access to websites that may cause you to waste time. While it may seem grueling at first, you’ll soon get used to the lack of notifications and find it easier to focus and get work done.

Embrace It

Being alone can be a blessing in disguise — in moderation, of course.  While it’s important to stay healthy and make sure you’re not totally isolating yourself from other people, the peace and quiet of your solitary environment can provide the perfect thinking space. With no outside noise and distractions, you can focus on your work properly while also thinking about the direction in which your work is heading and planning for the future.

Make the most of this by setting goals for yourself. You can then stay motivated by constantly trying to meet those goals within a set deadline. This ensures you stay as productive as possible and gives you the opportunity to consider how you want your work to grow and develop in the future. While not everyone has huge dreams for their working lives, planning things for the long-term never hurt anyone.

Final Thoughts

Working from home is an appealing option for many — the idea of not having to wake up early just to sit in a boring office all day is certainly charming. The freedom of being able to decide your own work hours and not having to deal with interruptions means you can focus on your work better, too. But in the end, working alone isn’t for everyone.

While some people are happier not having to interact with others much, others find that the isolation is draining. Whichever category you fall in, if you’re working alone, it’s important that you always stay healthy and motivated as much as possible. After all, being in charge of your own work puts a lot more responsibility on you than if you were working in an office, and it’s crucial that you make the most of it.