No matter what industry we work in, inspiration keeps us focused and determined throughout the day. A spark of inspiration can help us overcome obstacles in the workplace, and give us that much-needed boost of encouragement to take on a new challenge.

Inspiration is crucial for day to day work success, but “getting inspired” is much easier said than done when you’re stuck working at home. Remote work typically means fewer interactions with people, a lack of external stimulation, and more time spent in one single place. Not exactly a recipe for creativity and inspiration. So for the new wave of remote workers that has emerged in the last year, this is a totally new challenge: how can we all find some extra work from home inspiration?

The good news is that inspiration is all around you — it just might take a little extra searching to find it. Luckily we’re here to give you some ideas and help you kickstart your search. Read on for 10 ways you can find work from home inspiration if you’re working remotely.

1. Change your environment

Changing locations is one of the first things that most people will tell you when you lack inspiration. This has been a go-to productivity tip for a long time, but it’s even more crucial (although challenging) in a remote work setting. If you’re lucky enough to work in a home or an apartment with multiple rooms, try to sit in different rooms and change your surroundings throughout the day.

And what about if you have limited space? This can be as simple as post up at a kitchen barstool, or moving to the dining room table for a little bit. You can get an adjustable standing desk. Many people talk about the benefits of standing desks for your physical health, but they’re great for shifting your mental perspective too. It sounds crazy, but simply changing your view from sitting down to standing up can help you see things in a new light.

2. Learn and explore

You’re never too old to be learning something new. Acquire new skills, gather knowledge about the things you’re interested in. Perhaps not everything you want to learn about will directly be applicable to work, but it can alter your perspective in a positive way. 

Inspiration comes in all shapes and forms, so don’t confine yourself mentally just because you’re confined to your home. It’s okay to let your curiosity get the better of you sometimes — you never know where you may end up.

3. Exercise

One of the simplest solutions to tackling insufficient work from home inspiration is to get up and move. Exercise should — if it’s not already — become part of your daily routine. It improves longevity, cognitive function, boosts confidence, and of course helps inspire you. 

Exercise doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours at the gym pumping iron. Go for a leisurely stroll or a run. Biking is also a great way to get the blood pumping. If you’re into picking up heavy things and setting them back down, then perhaps weightlifting could be more up your alley. In the end, all that matters is that you move around and avoid the sedentary lifestyle.

4. Keep an idea journal

Having a journal where you write down ideas and thoughts can be another solution for the lack of inspiration. At the first glance, the ideas you have written down may not seem like anything to write home about, but it could prove to be useful down the road. 

Revert back to your journal every time you’re mentally stuck and feel the creativity evaporate. You may be surprised just how seemingly unimportant ideas from the past can lead to a potential breakthrough. You can also use an a note-taking app like Hive Notes to store all of your ideas in one place, share them with others, and even assign next steps as actions with due dates. Your traditional idea journal, taken to the next level.

5. Check out what the leaders in your industry are doing

Don’t shy away from doing a bit of research about what others are doing in your industry. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to imitate them, but it could be a source for new ideas you haven’t thought about before. 

Wondering where you can find these leaders? Do a quick topic search on Twitter or LinkedIn to see who is currently talking about something you’re interested in. There are also many roundups and resources on the best people to follow in your industry, like our guide to the best project management blogs. Start by Googling “your industry name” + “blogs” or “influencers” and see where that takes you.

6. Talk to people

Go out and socialize with your peers. Just talking to people can clear your head and make room for a new perspective or an approach to doing things. You may even inquire the people you’re with about the lack of inspiration. Perhaps you can bounce some ideas off of them and see if they offer you any valuable feedback.

If you can’t meet with people in real life, set up a virtual meeting with some coworkers — or even just with a group of friends. Also encourage everyone to turn their cameras on. There’s nothing quite like seeing someone’s face, especially when you’re working from home and rely on Zoom meetings for social interaction.

7. Listen to music while you work

I like to try and drown out the noise of my environment with some quality ambient music. It’s one way to stay concentrated and often leads to new ideas being developed. It may sound weird but music to me is a great source of inspiration, I implore you to give it a shot yourself. 

One thing to take note is if you do end up listening to music, keep it light and avoid songs with lyrics. Most people like to sing along with the song, and I would wager a guess that you might end up singing too. That can actually work adversely and reduce your work from home productivity. Not to mention the chance of the lyrics getting stuck in your head.  

8. Stay clear of distractions 

Stray away from anything that distracts you, especially when it comes to your cell phone and social media pages. They not only lead to reduced productivity, but they may also hamper flow of ideas. 

If you don’t need to use your phone for work related matters, turn it off and put it away. Stay clear of social media as well. Those cat videos your friends share with you can wait. There are so many browser extensions and productivity apps specifically created to help you stay focused and work more efficiently on the computer. They lock out specific websites for a period of time so you’re not tempted to visit them every 5 minutes. Try it out.

9. Be open to new ideas

Don’t be afraid to embrace new ideas. Maybe being stuck in your ways is what caused the decline of inspiration in the first place. When you stay open minded and welcome new ideas and perspectives that were once unreasonable to you, you are creating more opportunities to grow and evolve any project you’re working on. 

One of the best ways to generate new ideas is to host a brainstorming session. Simply open your favorite note-taking app — preferably one with collaborative editing like Hive notes — and encourage your coworkers to brain dump anything that comes to mind. When you put all ideas in one place, and let everyone edit the document in real time, people can build off of each others ideas. You never know where the brainstorm may take you.

10. Don’t forget about yourself

Last but not least – don’t neglect yourself. Oftentimes work and other pressing matters take priority in our lives and we tend to forget ourselves. Take time off and relax. Sometimes sitting down and relaxing or taking a nap may be the fuel that ignites inspiration within. 

This is a guest post written by Uwe Dreissigacker. Uwe is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry, which offers free invoice templates to businesses. With this tool, small businesses and sole traders can create, send and manage their invoices, quotes and credit notes.