Personally, I struggle when I feel like I haven't been productive or haven't been able to give my best effort. It stays with me long after I've left my computer, often leaving me in a bad mood. Knowing how unhealthy and unsustainable that can be, I found seven ways to help.
1. Write down what you accomplished.
You have to be happy with what you accomplish each day. It's easy to think that you did nothing all day, but you'll be surprised at how productive you were once you start writing it down the things you did do. Even the smallest tasks count.
I sometimes have to tell myself that sorting through emails and having a few chats are productive items. I keep a desktop to-do list on usual daily/weekly tasks as well as ones that come up as the week goes. Checking off minimal everyday items helps.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
Gratitude is a powerful thing. Take 10 minutes at the end of your day and write down what you're grateful for. Sometimes it's the small things, like your favorite barista remembering that you like your coffee with one creamer and five Equal sugars. You'll feel more appreciation towards others with the more you write.
This has changed so much of my perception of things in life. I can't recommend it enough.
3. Help a coworker.
Lend a hand when you can. Essentially, you're all on the same team. If you have a project deadline coming up and one of your coworkers is running a little behind, instead of getting angry with them, offer to help. Not everyone feels comfortable asking for help.
If you work remotely but still work on a team, you can always ask if they need your skills. I sometimes help my team with easy but time-consuming tasks like updating contact lists or refreshing content that they don't have the time for. In doing so, I've had so many breakthroughs with my own work.
The change of pace did me good. Not only does helping others make you happy, but it can also be the start of a new relationship. Plus, you may learn something new.
4. Give a compliment.
Your coworker gave an amazing presentation this morning and you can tell they worked hard on it. Tell them that they did a great job and say why. Complimenting people on their work feels good for both parties and can help build confidence.
My team mostly works remotely and giving these compliments reinforces our communication. I know I like being told I did a good job on something, especially when I wasn't sure that I was on the right track. It helps build trust of your skills and decision-making abilities.
5. Leave work-related stress at work.
You might be tempted to think about your deadline that's coming up at the end of the week, but stressing about it at home won't do you any good. Not only did you end your day feeling miserable, but you're starting the next one like that too.
If you're stressing because you feel like you hit a mental wall with your work, then take a break from it and let your subconscious mind process it. Once you've disconnected yourself from it enough, you'll find that you have a new perspective on it. And that'll be a major stress relief.
If you work remotely, designate an area that is strictly for work. Or, keep a strict work hours schedule. Otherwise, you'll find yourself slipping into extremely long workdays that feel inescapable.
6. Plan the next day.
Before you leave, review your calendar. Write down tasks that you have to do and any phone calls and meetings you have scheduled. It'll help make things clear to you, and you'll leave work feeling prepared.
7. Make it your mission to have a conversation with one of your coworkers.
Invite your coworkers to have lunch with you or hold a conversation with one. Talk to people. It'll prove to make you happier than you might think.
If you work remotely but on a team, ask to have a short phone call. My team has a bi-weekly hangout on Friday's where they Skype and talk about work and non-work related things. It helps us get to know each other and address any issues.
Ultimately, only you can decide how work is going to affect you. It doesn't have to be all at once, but these little adjustments to your day can really change how you feel. Implement at least one until it becomes a habit.