Do you struggle to prioritize your business with all of the other things going on in your life?
Juggling the demands of work, husband, kids, household chores, and all the other things that life tends to throw at you can be overwhelming. Trust me, I know the struggle all too well.
Here are five habits that you can implement into your day so that you can increase your productivity – and maintain your sanity.
WAKE UP EARLIER
I know there a lot of people who are on the fence about this one, but I have found that waking up at least 30 or 45 minutes before my family allows me to sip my coffee in peace, gather my thoughts and mentally prepare for the day ahead.
If I sleep in, I tend to feel rushed for the majority of the day. Now don’t get me wrong, if I feel that I NEED the extra sleep, I have no problem snoozing an extra hour or two.
I have just made it a habit to wake up earlier in order to plan for the day ahead. And I feel so much better when I do.
I know, I know. Many of us who work from home consider wearing pajamas all day an added perk. But staying in your pj’s can actually have a negative impact on your daily productivity.
By wearing pajamas all day, it sends signals to your brain to relax.
Dr. Karen Pine, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire says, “When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear’, so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”
While there is no science that proves wearing a full business suit while sitting at your desk at home will make you more productive than wearing say, a pair of sweats, according to Dr. Pine, the symbolic meaning of the clothes you wear does matter.
I make it a habit to shower and dress daily, even if I have no plans to leave the house. Most days I wear leggings and a tee, but I add a bit of lip gloss and put on earrings. When I make myself look good, I feel better and actually get more accomplished during the day.
By having a designated workspace, you can actually focus on your work when you are in that space. Without a designated workspace, I can get distracted by the dishes in the sink or the clothes that need to be put in the wash. Next thing I know, I’ve wasted a whole hour running back and forth throughout the house instead of focusing on a single task.
I am fortunate to have an extra bedroom that I use as my office. You don’t have to have an actual office, you can create a separate workspace in a small corner of your home. When creating your workspace, you will want to accomplish three things:
1) Make sure it is a comfortable space.
2) Make sure your space is clutter free.
3) Make sure your space is free of distractions.
Creating a designated workspace helps signal to your brain that it is time to work.
I am definitely a pen and paper kind of girl. By writing things down in my planner, it helps me to remember it, and I also get a sense of accomplishment after going over my calendar and actually seeing how much I’ve accomplished that day. Time blocking has increased my level of productivity tremendously.
What is time blocking you ask? A simple definition of time blocking is “blocking off” a time of day in order to accomplish a certain task. You can do this by assigning a task to every hour of each day, or by blocking off 2-3 hours at a time in order to tackle different projects or tasks.
What I do is set aside blocks of time each day for all of my daily tasks such as checking emails, making/returning phone calls, housework, blogging, etc.
While the time blocking method may seem a bit rigid for some, for me, it enables me to plan my day more easily because I know exactly what I have to do and when I need to do it. I also focus my attention on a single task until it is completed. This helps me out so much because I am one who tends to get easily distracted.
Of course, my schedule has to be a bit flexible because I am a stay at home mom and my husband doesn’t work a traditional 9 to 5 job, but time blocking helps to ensure that I will have enough hours set aside to do what is needed for that particular day.
LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA
In this day and age, I think this is one that we all struggle with. If I am not mindful of what I am doing, I will have spent a full two hours on social media without even realizing it!
Set aside specific time slots each day for social media. But limit that time! Apart from my specific work time (posting, scheduling and responding to comments), I spend time simply enjoying social media, and interacting with friends.
Try setting your phone timer for 20 or 30 minutes and enjoy scrolling. And then when the timer goes off -STOP, and move on to the next task. You can always spend a bit more leisure time on social media during the weekends.
Simply put, get up a little earlier so that you can mentally prepare for your day. Plan out your days ahead of time, both business and personal. Create a designated environment free of distractions that will allow you to be more productive so that you can get more done. Rid yourself of time wasters and try not to get sucked down the rabbit hole that is social media.
What are some of the things you do to increase your productivity? I’d love to hear them.
Lasonia B Graves is a lifestyle blog where I share stories about my journey as a wife and mother.
I am also a full time virtual assistant. I help entrepreneurs and small business owners free up time so that they can focus on growing their business.