It’s the dream getting to work from home, right?
Being able to work from home and making my own rules (and breaking them too) was something I’ve been looking forward since I first got the entrepreneur itch.
Becoming our own bosses (usually for the first time) and the freedom the comes with it tastes so good.
When I first started working from home, it was easy to get distracted until I implemented some simple tips and tricks to stay productive while working from home.
Here are some essential tips for being more productive working from home:
Set Your Alarm (& Avoid Pressing Snooze!)
This may sound like the most basic piece of advice, but it is one of the most important and most effective. Working from home means flexibility. It means creating your own schedule. Starting work when you want. Stopping work when you want. Waking up when you want.
Set your alarm and when it goes off, you get up. Or, if you’re familiar with Mel Robbins, count to 5 and then just get up! Set it for the time that you would have had to get up to get ready for work if you didn’t work from home. f you have to, put your alarm on the other side of the room so you’re forced to get up to turn it off (this is what I do!!).
Don’t Check Your Emails In Bed
When your alarm goes off, don’t spend half an hour scrolling through your inbox or Instagram before you get out of bed. Save it for when you get to your desk.
While it may feel like you’re getting ahead of the game, you’re really just dragging your feet. Your emails will still be there when you get to your computer. If you’re worried about answering something in a timely manner, maybe you should be getting up earlier.
Make Your Bed
Seriously, I get it. I used to roll my eyes at this one too because I just didn’t get it. But, it takes like 3.7 seconds and puts a finality on your bed so it’s not quite so tempting to crawl back into. Although, honest time, I know that sometimes you will and that’s okay too.
Have Your Coffee Maker Preset
If you’re a coffee drinker, then you will understand what I mean when I say there is nothing better than that first cup in the morning.
If you’ve got a coffeemaker, set it before you go to bed so that it starts to brew as your alarm is going off. I’ve been doing this for years! Recently I bought a coffee maker that doesn’t have a timer, so I get the coffee ready the night before and just turn it on first thing in the morning. Voila!
Give Yourself Some Time
This can look differently for everyone. You might meditate, go workout, listen to the news, zone out, or read a book. It doesn’t matter; just give yourself some time before you jump into work. We’ve found that even if we just take 30 min to an hour of “me time” before heading into “the office” we felt like there was a bit of separation and some breathing room. Honestly, you wouldn’t roll out of bed and drive straight to an office job and get right to work would you (or would you?!)?
Shower & Dress For The Day Before Anything Else
There really is something to be said for preparing for the day as if you are going to a “real job,” even if you are just going to your home office. Skipping your morning shower and staying in your Lululemon’s until lunch time is the last thing you want to do when working from home (but I’m not going to lie, I am guilty of this from time to time). The saying is true, “you only look as good as you feel”? Well, you’re also only as productive as you feel.
Set Your Intentions For The Day
I do this by setting daily affirmations and daily gratitudes and you might want to start them too. This is a great opportunity before you do anything work related to set the tone of the day. An affirmation could be anything from “I will sell 7 things today” to “I am channeling my creative energy for this project”. A gratitude statement could be anything from “I am thankful for this cup of warm coffee to wake me up” to “I am proud of how that campaign ended yesterday.”
Make A To Do List
Knowing what is on your to-do list before you even sit down at your desk is a great way to create and follow a schedule. Without this, you don’t wake up prepared, and you may sit down at your desk and stare at your screen for hours, doing things, but not really accomplishing anything at all.
I manage my day-to-day operations inside Trello. What I find particularly helpful about this system is that I can make lists on lists on lists (I love a list!). Everything can get a breakdown of tasks and due dates and checkpoints. It’s super helpful to be able to break things down into manageable chunks that actually get done. So instead of staring at “write a book” you could just be focusing on one tiny task that will lead to the final outcome.
Have A Designated Work Space
It can be really hard to focus when you’re living and working all in the same place. I will admit that I have opted for the couch over the desk on more than one occasion (like A LOT). It’s super comfortable and I am still getting my work, right?
Probably not to the best of my ability. A designated workspace will take your productivity to the next level. This is SO important when you work from home. A proper workspace will help you to get so much more done because you will be focused, organized, more motivated, and with fewer distractions.
Track Your Time
Depending on the type of business you have and the work you do from home, time can literally be money. If you work as a freelancer or service provider, for example, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
Time management is impossible if you don’t know how much you are spending on each task. Time is limited, and to be successful in whatever you do, you must spend it wisely. Tracking your time is one of the best (if not THE best) ways to be as productive with your work as possible, especially when you are self-employed. Time tracking allows you to log what you are working on and when, keeping you organized and able to plan your schedule. Knowing where your time is going will enable you to allocate your time appropriately. This is one of the first things I have my Thrive Without The 9 to 5 students and 1:1 clients do. Their time is limited and once they start tracking it, they are able to find pockets of time to work on their business.
Working From Home Is A REAL Job
One of the more challenging parts of working from home and self-employment is making sure that your family and friends understand that just because you work from home, you still have a real job. It’s important we set boundaries with our friends and family.
Learn How To Time Block
Time blocking, also known as block scheduling, is a time management technique that I have used off and on for many years, in both the corporate world and as a solopreneur. I am at my most productive when I use a time blocking schedule. It encourages me to focus, it has built-in accountability, and it enables me to be realistic about what I can actually accomplish.
Time blocking is simply assigning your tasks to specific blocks of time during the day. Then you focus on those tasks, and those tasks only, during their assigned time block. Sounds simple, right? It is, and once you incorporate these time blocking tips into your routine, you’ll be a productivity powerhouse.
Stay Off Social Media
As we all know, social media can be such a time sucker. How often have you mindlessly ended up down the scroll hole? Social media is the ultimate distraction. When you’re in work mode, stay in work mode. Don’t open any extra apps, and definitely don’t keep your Facebook open in a new tab. Turn off all your notifications so you’re not distracted by sounds or pop-ups.
Change Your Surroundings
It’s important to get out of your house from time to time. Working at home is fun, but it doesn’t mean that you have to WORK at HOME all the time. It just means that you work where you want to work. One of my favorite places to is work at a coffee shop literally 2 blocks from my home. My productivity skyrockets on the days I choose to work at the coffee shop because I have no distractions and I’m focused on my work.
I hope sharing what works for me is helpful to you in your work at home business!