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.
How To Be More Productive When You Work From Home
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 want to be more productive when 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. 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 otherwise.
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. Although their design is simplistic, their planners look professional, elegant, and so classy! Not only are they beautiful, they’re an absolute dream to write in as well because the pages are absolutely buttery smooth. The leather outer is also so soft yet durable and the binding allows you to fully open the journal and use the page up entirely. You can choose from a variety of colors, designs (from ruled to blank to grid), sizes (including pocket, large, and extra large) and you can even choose between hard and soft covers.
If you find that Moleskine isn’t your cup of tea, here are 8 alternative kick-ass planners that will help you get organized and stay on track. Go check them out if you’re looking for the right tool to help you get closer to your goals and actualizing your dreams!
Alternatively, if you’re more 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.
C. Make Time For Breaks
Working at home isn’t as structured as working at a 9 to 5 office job so there’s often no set lunch break that your boss gives you. Since you’re your own boss, it’s up to you to schedule in time to make food and feed yourself nutrient-rich, healthy foods throughout the day to keep your brain and body functioning at 100%.
Sometimes it can get so busy during the day that you end up not even having enough time to eat or you totally forget about eating. Don’t do that!
Slotting in time to have a proper lunch break and smaller breaks throughout the day are both really important. I highly recommend meal planning and meal prepping on the weekends so you don’t have to stress out over what to make or what to eat when you’re busy working.
But if you’re not great in the kitchen or just the thought of having to plan your meals each week on top of running your business stresses you out, I highly recommend joining $5 Meal Plan.
The $5 Mean Plan is an awesome meal plan subscription service that’s super affordable, a huge time saver, and can help you and your family make meals for under $2 per person! Each subscription includes a pre-made weekly meal plan and shopping list that’s sent to you every Friday or the option to use their drag and drop Meal Plan Builder. They have a free no-risk 14-day trial available so if you find it’s not really what you’re looking for, you can always just opt-out.
Definitely check out $5 Meal Plan if you want to save money and time and start simplifying your life today!
Learn to be more efficient
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 and was being efficient with my time. But after analyzing what was really happening, I found that multitasking 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.
Once I started using techniques such as time blocking and batching and stopped multitasking, my efficiency skyrocketed. Nowadays, I get everything done at a much faster rate and I’m much more productive with my time.
A. Time Blocking
What is time blocking? 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 finish another part of the task.
You’ll definitely want to try this method of working if you find you’re all over the place. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see as great of a result as I did!
Another great way to be more efficient when you work at home is to batch similar or identical tasks together. Doing the same task over and over again will allow you to really concentrate on just that one task. Eventually, you’ll learn to find faster ways to do the same task and it will increase your efficiency and speed.
If you’re a blogger, for example, you can batch your tasks so you spend an entire day writing posts, another day taking and editing photographs, and another day scheduling social media.
Automate Or Outsource Tasks
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, most likely you use social media for your business and you probably don’t have time to spend all day promoting. To save you time, you can automate a lot of your tasks such as bulk scheduling a month’s worth of tweets and Facebook posts in advance using Smarterqueue (my link here gives you an awesome 30-day trial!), or use Tailwind to bulk schedule your Instagram posts and Pinterest pins. This way, you don’t need to be constantly glued to your phone or computer and you can spend the day doing more productive things that can improve your business.
Outsourcing to external sources to do part of your work can also be super helpful such as hiring a virtual assistant, a ghostwriter, or a social media management company. Although it will cost money, it can take a huge load off of your shoulders and help you focus on other tasks.
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 or my boyfriend starts talking to me 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, taking adequate breaks every so often, and making sure you include workouts into your schedule. Make sure to also go outside every so often to enjoy the fresh air and clear your mind, or run errands during your lunch or afternoon break so that you don’t get cabin fever.
It can be easy to forget to 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.
Feeling overwhelmed and burnt out?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burnt out from trying to be your own boss, I want to touch on 2 invaluable online resources that you should check out if you’re looking to greatly improve your mornings, be more productive, take control of your time, and beat overwhelm.
1) Make Over Your Mornings
In Make Over Your Mornings, Crystal Paine teaches you how to take back control of your life in just 14 days. If you’re worn down and exhausted, overworked, and constantly frustrated that you are always busy but can never get anything done, her course will teach you exactly how to be more intentional and organized with your day. You’ll learn how to streamline your productivity, stay focused, and invest your time in things that actually matter to you in life. It all starts with re-vamping what you do every morning!
This is a perfect must-have course for all ladies, no matter if you’re a business owner or a stay-at-home mom! Transform your mornings in just 15 minutes with Make Over Your Mornings!
2) 4 Weeks To A More Productive Life
Another great resource to check out is 4 Weeks To A More Productive Life. In this 4-week course, Crystal Paine gives you all the practical strategies you need to get up and take action so you can accomplish your goals. If you find that you’re always overwhelmed, you want to be more productive and manage your time better, and you have big dreams and goals but you just can’t seem to get them accomplished, this course is for you. Stop wishing for a better life and instead, start doing!
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!