How to overcome self-doubt when working from home on your own
Due to recent events, the working environment has changed drastically around the world.
Maybe it was a long time coming, maybe this degree of change wouldn’t have happened for another decade or two – but right now a large part of the population is working from home.
And while many have found that not only does this new approach ot working suit them perfectly well, but has allowed them to be even more productive and efficient than ever before.
Others however have had to face problems never before encountered: messed up schedules, lower motivation and job satisfaction, and last but definitely not the least – crippling self-doubt that the work they’re putting it is not nearly good enough.
In reality, all that can be done to deal with this last issue is take it head-on and fight to overcome the self-doubt that’s eating you up.
Fortunately, there are a few elements you can incorporate into your work process when you’re at home that can help you feel more confident in your work and increase your productivity.
Try putting the following concepts into practice and who knows: maybe by the time you have to go back to your office, you’ll find working from home not only suits you fine but could lead to a new career path you’re excited to take.
5 Things to Do to Fight Self-Doubt At Work
The first and most important thing to do – is to convince yourself you’re good at what you do. This sounds like an obvious solution but hardly any of us actively practicing self-assurance in real life. It isn’t easy, especially when self-doubt is eating away at you.
So here are five practical things that you can do that will bear influence on the emotional aspect of feeling like you’re not qualified enough:
- Organize your workspace at home;
- Make an official working schedule;
- Focus: work on one task at a time and minimize distractions;
- Establish clear communication with your managers and/or clients;
- View all feedback as good – even negative comments.
How Do These Things Help with Overcoming Self-Doubt?
When you’re actively working, self-doubt tends to take a backseat.
Each of the abovementioned elements work in tandem to help you optimize the working environment and become more productive, overcoming the self-doubt in the end – but the process itself takes time.
And you can’t stop working while fighting it, because stopping work means the self-doubt has won. This is how each of them helps in the fight:
1. Organizing Your Workspace
Organizing your workspace helps recreate the “office feel”. This is supposed to bring a formal edge to your work environment, and by working in a familiar office setting, lighten the emotional toll of working on your own.
A comfortable workspace too will lessen the stress levels of working at home, and has been proven to increase productivity.
Heightened stress levels and self-doubt together often turn into a combo that feeds from one another: heightened stress deepens the self-doubt – this, in turn, increases the stress levels. So, managing the level of stress plays an important role in managing the self-doubt levels.
2. Creating Official Working Schedule
When you’re at home and are the only one responsible for your work, boundaries begin to blur. Your work starts to spill over into every part of your life and starts eating up more time than it should be allowed.
Have you ever changed an answer on a test – and found out later that the answer you had the first time was right all along? Having an official schedule is supposed to help you fight the work equivalent of that.
My schedule begins at 10AM on the dot and ends at 6PM on the dot. After that, I do not allow myself to think about work at all.
This is hard and takes discipline, but the moment the work is done – it’s done.
3. Focus on the Task at Hand and Don’t Let Anything Distract You
When working, turn off the notifications (unless they are related to work) and don’t hop between tasks even if you have several that need to be done by the end of the day.
Remember the proverb “He who chases two hares, catches none”? Don’t be the chaser.
Yes, even when your self-doubt is having a blast and trying to convince you that you should just drop what you’re doing. Think of the task at hand as a decisive battle: either you win or the self-doubt does. And self-doubt isn’t allowed to win.
(Look at the task with fresh eyes later in the day: there’s a high chance you’ll see it’s not nearly as bad as you thought).
4. Establish Clear Communication
This one is pretty straightforward: if you’re unsure of what your managers and/or clients want – the doubt about the work you’re doing is going to eat you up. Is it really what your employers want or did you get it all wrong?
Never be afraid to ask questions about the details when you’re doubting something. Even if it’s the nastiest client you’ve ever had, better clear all the details about the task than do a bad job. You might’ve gotten it right the first time – so? Clearing up the details still helps (especially with self-doubt).
This type of self-doubt can only be put to rest if both parties do their part – and communicate about how the task should be done.
5. Feedback is Good – Even Negative Feedback
Negative feedback nourishes self-doubt. I know, I’ve been there too. There’s probably nothing that makes one doubt their abilities more than opening a letter from a client and reading about how the task was done incorrectly and needs to be re-done.
Take this as an opportunity to grow. This is hard and it’s purely psychological. Sit in front of a mirror and chant about how this is a good thing if you have to, but find a way to convince yourself any feedback is good feedback. There’s no way around it, you’re not a $100 bill – sometimes you won’t be able to satisfy your client.
Do not let that your self-doubt feed into that.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned freelancer or a newbie who’s just started working from home – when there’s no official guidance, it can be hard to believe you’re putting in good work on a constant basis.
The only thing you can do is keep convincing yourself you’re good at what you do – fake it till you make it if you will. And while faking it, create an atmosphere around you that’ll increase your productivity and help put in better work.
You can do this by organizing your workspace and creating an official working schedule as if you were in the office, focusing on the task at hand without getting distracted, communicating clearly with your clients about what they are expecting of you, and never let negative feedback get you down.
The last one is the hardest, but still – view all feedback as good and don’t let it nourish your self-doubt. It’ll only keep getting smaller as long as you don’t feed it. Remind yourself that even the best of us fail from time to time – and you’re only going up from here.
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