Tips for Productivity and Motivation: A Guide to Remote Work Goal Setting

Cora Gold

by Cora Gold

4 min read
Tips for Productivity and Motivation: A Guide to Remote Work Goal Setting
Guides Future of Work Inspiration Productivity

Working flexible hours in the comfort of your own home is a dream for many. However, it can be challenging for others. Without co-workers and bosses around us, we must rely on ourselves for motivation to do our best every day.

If you struggle with overworking, procrastination, and other challenges that hamper your ability to perform well, it’s time to get started with intentional goal setting. Here are some goal-setting tips you can use to set and achieve your personal and professional goals.

Why Is It Challenging to Stay Productive and Motivated?

While its never been more popular, remote work is not without its challenges. In fact, 69% of remote workers reported increased burnout from digital communication tools, which underscores the need for solid work boundaries. Here are some challenges you might face while working from home:

  • External Interruptions: Distractions are inevitable when you work from home. It could be a pet begging for playtime, a knock on the door, or a spouse or child asking for your attention. You can’t block out everything, but you can set boundaries.
  • Lack of Social Interaction: At some point, remote work will feel lonely and isolating. Even with digital channels such as Slack and email, you can get tired of being in the same place for many days. If possible, invite co-workers or friends who also work remotely to join you in a nearby coffee shop or grab a quick lunch with a friend before returning to work.
  • Unhealthy Habits: When you go to an office, you likely get more steps in a day, and spend less time watching TV or scrolling social media - maybe you even pack a lunch! Working from home requires some extra effort to get exercise, avoid junk food, and engage in social activities.

Cora Body 3.jpg

How to Set Achievable Goals

Despite these challenges, remote work can be rewarding if you know how to set targets and stay motivated to achieve them. Here’s how you can develop and execute them without being overwhelmed.

  1. Create an Environment for Success: The first step in being more productive is to make your workspace more functional. Set up a designated office space separate from distractions like the TV. Try to mimic what an office or workstation would look like if you went into an office.

  2. Set SMART Goals: These goals should include specific objectives to help you stay focused and motivated in attaining the desired result. Use the SMART method, a valuable tool to help you remain focused on achieving your goal.

    • Specific: Know your five W’s — what you want to achieve, why it is necessary, who you will need for help, when it is required, and where your resources are.
    • Measurable: You should be able to track your progress to help keep you on track.
    • Attainable: Your vision must be within reach so you can maintain the enthusiasm you'll need to achieve it.
    • Relevant: Is your goal a priority? Is it beneficial to increase your productivity and motivation?
    • Time-bound: Avoid setting a deadline too far in the future for a simple task or a short timeline for something time-consuming. Ensure deadlines are realistic.

    Here’s an example of a SMART goal for increasing focus and productivity:

    • S: To stay focused while working from home, I will limit distractions and factors affecting my focus and productivity.
    • M: Track focus levels using a focus tool and maintain at least 50% productivity daily.
    • A: Implement time-blocking strategies to improve productivity and set timers for every project.
    • R: This goal is relevant because, for the past weeks, I’ve been submitting my tasks a bit late because I easily get distracted.
    • T: I intend to see this improvement by the end of the month.
  3. Create a Vision Board: Write or print photos that remind you of your goals to help keep your eyes on the prize. Place it near your workstation so you’re constantly reminded of your vision for the future.

  4. Review Goals and Adjust as Needed: Review your progress regularly to keep you on track and help you assess factors that may impede your progress. At the end of the timeframe you set to achieve your goals, ask yourself if you made progress, surpassed your goal, or fell short.

How to Stay Motivated When Achieving Your Goals

Here are some time-tested ways to help you stay excited about completing your targets.

  • Take a Breather: When working from home, some people find it hard to shut the computer off at the end of the workday. You might think an extra hour of work will make you more productive. In reality, overworking yourself only makes you burn out quicker. Here are some ways to ensure you take enough break time to balance your work life:

    • Always take a lunch break. This will break up your day and energize you for the afternoon.
    • Take full advantage of your PTO. Studies have shown that people who have paid leave are less likely to experience depression. So if you have it, use it.
    • Don’t work overtime. Unless you have a nonnegotiable deadline to meet, don’t put in extra time that should be spent resting or enjoying your personal life.
    • Leave the house. Take a 15-minute walk outside, go to a park or library, or meet up with a friend after work so you don’t feel cooped up inside.
  • Just Start: There are some days we all just feel like slacking. Instead of thinking about how hard it is to fulfill your goal, remind yourself that you’re just getting started. It’s not about how long it’ll take you to your destination. Sometimes, it’s about your willingness to show up every day.

  • Be Accountable: Find an accountability partner. Report back to your buddy now and then and discuss your progress. This strategy is also great for personal goals, like going to the gym or cooking more. You can send pictures of yourself exercising or share the meals you make on your healthy living journey.

  • Reward Yourself: For every milestone you conquer - no matter how small it may seem - pat yourself on the back and celebrate your hard work. It helps to write down a corresponding reward per milestone or goal.

Set a Goal Today!

Don’t rush yourself into achieving everything all at once. Implement these tips slowly and see which ones work best for you. Remember to never give up in the process.


Good Manager, Bad Manager. Which Are You?

Bad managers cultivate a toxic culture that drives away talented employees, or worse, creates disengaged employees performing at much less than their best.