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A man working at his desk looking like he's on autopilot (bored/tired) while looking at his computer screen.

6 Signs You're on Autopilot When You Work from Home and How to Fix It

sales solopreneur

Owning your own business is a rewarding experience but if you're on autopilot, you're not as likely to enjoy it. If you start your day by immediately checking your social media and emails, chances are you might be running on autopilot. When we work from home, it can become habitual to do the same things every day just as if we were working in an office.

According to research, an astonishing 96 percent of those surveyed admitted that they make most decisions on autopilot, and of those, the majority of the time this is happening when at home.

This means entrepreneurs who are working from home should be aware of how engaged they are with their home-based business and practice ways to stay purposely focused for success. Here are the major signs you are on autopilot:

1. You're Not Excited to Get to Work.

If you wake up feeling unfulfilled and dreading the workday, this is a red flag that you're working on autopilot. ​

2. You Don't Have a Plan.

Do you know what your future looks like? Can you identify the things most important to you? Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? ​

3. You Daydream A Lot

Daydreaming is a common mental occurrence. A study conducted by Harvard researchers found that almost half — 49.9 percent — of the time, respondents' minds were wandering. It's not unusual to daydream or to do menial tasks without really thinking about them but if you're often thinking of someplace or something else, you could be running on autopilot.

4. You're Easily Distracted.

Whether via your smartphone, television, neighbor, pet, or children, if your attention is easily pulled away from the tasks at hand, you're not fully present with your work.

5. You Experience Forgetfulness.

When we are not fully engaged in the activities around us or interactions we have, we may tend to forget them. Things like conversations we had, driving to destinations, or snacks we've had simply disappear from our memory.

6. You're Unable to Make Changes.

When we are running on autopilot, we will often continue doing things the way they have always been done, even if they no longer serve the purpose of helping us advance our lives and careers.

If you're experiencing any of these issues, fear not! There are some simple ways to make very powerful changes in your life to ensure you're not only experiencing the joys of entrepreneurship but also improving your future and embracing your passion.

​Here are a few proven ways to get out of autopilot:

1. Think Back and Remember.

If you're not excited to get to work, think about the reasons why you began this career to begin with. Think about how exciting it was to come up with new ideas, processes, and experiences. What was it that made you take the leap? Reignite your connection with that fire by contemplating all of the things that led to your decision to become an entrepreneur.

2. Set Goals.

Having milestones can help guide you by keeping you focused on where you want to go and what you want to accomplish but they also serve to reinforce your triumphs.

Of course, if you're feeling burned out, overwhelmed, or lackluster, you may not feel compelled to set goals. Just remember that goals are critical to keeping you on the right path and they don't have to be huge milestones. Rather, experts suggest using SMART goals. These are goals that are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-Bound

Begin by thinking about the kind of life and career that you want to create and start by setting small goals towards that end. When you reach each goal, reward yourself whether with a figurative pat on the back or something tangible, like a mini-vacation. Reaching goals is sure to help motivate you to continue growing as a business owner and as a person.

3. Be Mindful of Your Thoughts.

When you're sitting in front of the computer and your mind starts to wander, it could be that you're simply not focusing on the task at hand. When you are mindful of this, recognize that even redundant or boring tasks are a part of the whole that makes up your company. When you change the way you view things - as a challenge or opportunity - then you're more prepared to stay focused on it and get it done.

4. Set a Schedule.

Working for yourself can give you a lot of freedom that you can't get when you work for someone else but for some, not having a set schedule can be problematic. Having a set schedule that you stick to is a helpful way to ensure you're not tempted by outside distractions.

When you're working, commit to spending that time doing just that. A schedule can not only include working hours but also break times. Research has shown that taking breaks from work actually increases productivity and engagement, so be sure to include some breaks in your schedule.

5. Stay Present.

Mindfulness is important at work as it is in our social and individual lives but it doesn't mean you have to be a yogi or guru to accomplish it. Simply practice experiencing exactly what you are experiencing at the moment you are experiencing it. This is truly the best way to be mindful.

So whether you are researching, having a conversation, or answering emails, focus on only that task. This will prevent you from overlooking things and will help you to enjoy the moment.

6. Let Go.

Switching things up—whether your morning routine or a particular program you utilize at work - can help you to shed unproductive, habitual activities that are no longer really serving you or your career.

Ask yourself which things are working and which things you really don't need anymore. Consider asking for outside opinions or researching industry trends to find ways to develop your business and achieve your desired outcomes.

Ultimately, being your own boss means balancing both your life and career which can be challenging for many. Following these steps can help you to achieve a level of commitment to your future and your life by ensuring you are doing what you love, and loving what you do.