If you work from home, you probably know what I mean when I say that it’s often times hard to concentrate and get things done.
There are usually a ton of distractions, either brought upon by yourself or others.
Maybe your phone notifications won’t stop buzzing, you get sidetracked and start browsing the Internet, or you decide to rummage through your cupboards for a snack because you’re hungry (sadly, this usually turns me into a couch potato for the night). If you stay at home with young kids, maybe your 2-year-old starts demanding attention and won’t stop crying.
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We all have to learn to deal with these types of distractions in our everyday lives and I know, sometimes it’s just so hard to resist them!
And let’s be honest here.
If you’re working for yourself and don’t have a boss watching your every move, monitoring your progress, and telling you to get back to work, you’re going to have to push yourself even harder to be more productive because it’s so easy to not be efficient with your time.
When you try your best to stay focused, you’ll get a lot more done because your productivity and efficiency will skyrocket, and you’ll feel more accomplished and motivated when you regularly reach your goals. Both of these are especially important if you work from home and you’re your own boss.
Here are some of the methods I’ve used to successfully help myself get more done and be more productive with my time.
Take A Break From Your Phone
Most people nowadays are pretty much glued to their phones and I’m definitely one of them!
If you’re the type of person who constantly gets bombarded with all sorts of notifications from social media, emails, as well as texts from all your friends, you’re going to get relatively little work done if you’re constantly hearing your phone go off and checking these notifications.
So even though it can be hard to do psychologically (especially if you’re the type of person where you absolutely need to check your phone every 5-10 minutes), hit the mute button, turn it off, or hide it in the drawer! Just do something about it so that you can enjoy some peace and quiet without being reminded to look at it constantly.
Schedule Your Day
If you work from home, you need to schedule your day properly in order to be more productive and time efficient. Try to get into a regular daily routine, such as getting up at the same time every day, working out, and then checking the news and your emails before starting your work day.
Planning is essential and key to being organized and prepared. I find I’m the most productive when I plan on a weekly basis.
A. Put Everything Down Into Writing
Time can pass by especially fast if you don’t have a plan of what you need to do or you easily get distracted. If you have a vague idea of what needs to be done, it’s better to actually write them down and not just visualize it. Writing things down can also sometimes prompt you to remember something that you would’ve forgotten.
If you’re more old school, you can use a daily or weekly planner to handwrite all the tasks you need to finish. My favorite planner to plan everything is my Moleskine daily planner. They have a ton of different colors, soft and hard leather covers, and a variety of versions (such as ruled paper, grid, daily planners, weekly planners, etc) to choose from. Their paper quality is also buttery smooth, which I absolutely love.
Alternatively, if you’re into electronic scheduling, I really enjoy using the Calendars by Readdle app for my iPhone and iPad because it’s handy to schedule things when I’m on the go. It automatically syncs your event and tasks from Google Calendars into the app, which is really convenient.
B. Schedule What Needs To Be Done
Now on to the actual scheduling of your tasks.
The first thing you want to do is list out all the tasks you need to get done. Figure out which ones are the most urgent and need to be done first. Then, try to estimate how long it’ll take you to finish these tasks.
After writing out your list, figure out which ones to tackle first. This will depend on a variety of things such as how long each task will approximately take, which ones have an upcoming deadline, and what your current schedule already looks like. For example, if you need a lot of concentration to complete one task, try to schedule it early in the morning when your head is the clearest and you feel refreshed.
I find that I feel the most productive and accomplished when I finish smaller tasks early on and then tackle the hardest or longest task last (this will usually be the one I often want to put off and dread doing). This helps me feel a little less overwhelmed when I know that I’ve completed so much already and am only down to one or two tasks left. Of course, this is only my way of doing things. You may be the total opposite where you find that you feel the best when you tackle the longest task first and then complete the smaller ones. It’s really up to your own preferences.
If you stick to this schedule that you set for yourself, you’ll feel accomplished that you’ve been productive with your time and made every second of the day count.
Now that we’ve talked about setting a schedule, it’s time to get working on those tasks and crossing them off your list!
I used to multitask a whole bunch of things at the same time back in the day but I later realized that this negatively affected my productivity instead of helping it. At first, I thought I was getting more stuff done. But after analyzing what was really happening, I found that it actually made me lose concentration every time I switched from one task to another. I could never quite put all of my focus into one task.
Nowadays, I get things done so much faster by time blocking compared to multitasking and it has really helped me to be more productive. Essentially what you do is take one part of a task and give yourself a deadline to finish it in a specific period of time.
I usually like to use a timer on my phone to count down 30 minutes or 45 minutes where I have absolutely no distractions and I’m totally focused on just that one task at hand. That means no checking your phone for emails or texts, hitting a new tab and surfing the net, or talking to other people.
Once the time’s up, take a small breather and then start the whole time blocking process again until you’ve finished another part of the task.
You’ll definitely want to try this method of working if you haven’t. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see as great of a result as I did!
To help decrease the time you spend on smaller, mundane tasks, try to automate as many of these tasks if possible. Any tools that’ll help you save time and automatically multitask for you while you work on more important tasks is a win!
For example, it takes a lot of time to promote my blog on social media and I don’t want to spend all day doing that when I can be producing more content. To counter this, I like bulk scheduling a month’s worth of tweets using Buffer every few weeks to promote my blog posts. This way, I don’t need to be constantly glued to Twitter all the time and it’ll automatically tweet for me even while I’m asleep.
Have A Designated Office Room
If you have an extra room that can be your designated work room, this will help train your brain to believe it’s a ‘no distraction’ room where you’re only in work mode when you’re there. Don’t work in your bedroom if that’s where you have your office desk because being in an environment where you sleep could cause you to slack off and pass out on your bed.
I know that if I’m really trying to get work done and be more productive, I also make sure my office door is closed shut so that it sends a signal to everyone that I’m busy and don’t want to be interrupted. I always get sidetracked and lose my train of thought whenever my cat starts doing something cute so keeping the door closed is especially important for me.
Lastly, don’t neglect your health and life outside of work. You want to be more productive and accomplish as much as possible but you still need a proper work-life balance. Otherwise, you risk burning out, getting sick, and losing motivation which will all decrease your productivity.
That means feeding yourself healthy foods that are nutrient rich, taking adequate breaks every so often, and working out. Make sure to also go outside every so often to enjoy the fresh air and clear your mind, or run errands on your break so that you don’t get cabin fever.
It can be easy to forget balance life outside work properly when you’re working at home but adequately scheduling the time to rest, spending time with loved ones, and knowing when to stop working at the end of the work day are very important.
If you want to be more productive when you work from home, it will require motivation and focus. By making sure you plan efficiently, focusing on one task at a time, reducing unwanted distractions, and having a good work-life balance, it’ll ensure your productivity level is at its peak and you’re getting as much done as possible. You’ll feel great as you watch your to-do list getting checked off one by one with flying colors!
What are some methods you use to be more productive when you work from home? Feel free to share!