5 Ways to Boost your Productivity When Working From Home
A few years ago when I started working full time at home I had big dreams. It would be so awesome to be able to be in my own cozy house (especially in the winter), not have to commute or worry about taking a lunch to work. I thought, "this is gonna be awesome." When many people think about working from home it sounds so convenient (which it is) and also so freeing (which it is) but there are some down sides to the situation as well. If you're like me, when walk out of my home office to go grab a Diet Coke, I notice that there are dishes in the counter (I better take care of that). Then I notice the crumbs on the kitchen floor, better sweep those up. Then I notice a dirty dish towel, better do a load of wash. And it goes on and on.
I realized pretty quickly that I was not getting as much work done as I should. Or my husband would come home from work and I would still be working into the night because I didn't meet the goals that I had set for myself during the day. My husband, who is super supportive, wasn't too thrilled that instead of spending time with him, I was still working away in my home office. Things had to change. Today I am sharing my 5 productivity tips for working from home that will help deecrease distractions and keep you on track.
#1 Have Set Working Hours
This concept is as easy as it sounds. Even though you don't have to leave your home or have anyone who is keeping tabs on your morning arrival time to work you need to stick to set working hours. This can be any type of schedule that works for you and your family. So, you have to drop the kids off at school at 8:10am - no problem. Commit to starting your work day at 8:30am. By sticking to set work hours you can better balance your life and avoid working into dinner or losing time with your family.
#2 Decrease Distractions
Now this seems obvious, right? But this is the one task that most of us pretty much suck at. Why? Because distractions are everywhere, especially in the form of our phones. Oh yes, our phones, they are so necessary but also a time suck.
While you are working through your set schedule everyday make a point to set your phone on silence and or put it outside of the room. I know, I know we have so much fear that we are going to miss an important call or that the school might call and one of the kids is sick...if you are worried about that just put the phone on silent and set it next to your computer. Only take incoming calls if it is absolutely necessary. If you don't recognize a caller let it go to voicemail. You are in charge of how you use or time, not the person on the phone so don't let their agenda interrupt your work.
Another distractor is all those open tabs on our browser and the push notifications from FB or other social media platforms. When you are in your set working hours close out all of the browser tabs that you are not actively using and especially close out your FB tab. Knowing what your BF is cooking for dinner tonight is not a priority.
#3 Batch Appointments
One of the perks of working from home is that you can pretty much schedule appointments and errands whenever you'd like. This however can get you in trouble. If you schedule a massage at 10am and you are supposed to be working 8:30-11:30am that day it will throw off your schedule and you'll end up wondering where the day went and why you didn't get a blog post up or a podcast out.
While self care, such as massages, are a high priority for female entrepreneurs try to schedule appointments on a designated "day off" or at the end of the day when you are done working on your can completely turn off. Remember, you are your own boss, which means you can do whatever you want when you want but keep in mind that having appointments scheduled in the middle of your work day could definitely throw you off and keep you out of the "creative zone".
Try to schedukle all of your appointments and errands on one day of the week. This way you can use the time you do have in your home office more effectively and not be interrupted mid day (or mid-project).
#4 Set Daily Goals
I used to never set goals. I had nothing against goals, honestly I just think I wasn't really clear on exactly what I needed to get done. I had no strategy for my business. I would just sit at my desk, in and out of my e-mail all day, putting out fires and really making zero forward progress.
Just recently I started to jot down a few goals for each work day in my weekly planner. They aren't huge goals but they feel so good when I get to cross them off when I complete them. One of my goals each day is to create a new blog post or a new piece of free content. When I get in the creative zone I can totally knock this out but I have to really focus, get rid of those distractions and commit to sticking with it until it's finished.
I always try to complete the goal that I find the most difficult to complete early in the day. Or if it is something that you really dread doing, also try to have that be your first priority. Once you complete your most difficult task of the day you will feel so empowered and proud of yourself for getting it done.
#5 Give Up Multitasking
At some point in the last 25 years the idea of being "busy" and being a "multi-takser" became a glorified trait. People would brag on their resumes that they are great "multi-taskers" and can juggle multiple projects or tasks at once. You may as well just write "I'm distracted easily and never finish projects in a timely manner because I want to do everything at once."
Ready for the big truth-bomb? The secret to maximizing productivity is single tasking.
There have not only been studies done debunking the multi-tasking myth but I will personally raise my hand and admit that being a multitasker means not achieve your goals and getting the work done. When I put my head down and commit to writing content for just one hour without giving in to distractions or multi-tasking I get waaaaay more accomplished. I can turn out 2-3 great pieces of content in that very short period of time if I just ignore the distractions and do not attempt to multi-task.
One way to focus is to use a system called time blocking. Simply put, time blocking is a strategy where you break up your day into clear blocks of time. Then, you fit your to-do list into those windows.
I hope these 5 simple tips have been helpful! What do you do to maximize your daily prouctivity while working from home?
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