How To Increase Productivity While Working From Home
Do you struggle to prioritize your business with all of the other things going on in your life while you’re working from home?
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 while working remotely.
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 does wonders for my mental health.
That half hour allows me to sip my coffee in peace, gather my thoughts, go over my to do list, 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.
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 are working 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.
CREATE A DESIGNATED WORKSPACE
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 doing chores 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 effectively. This way, 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 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 the distraction of social media 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 when you’re working from home? I’d love to hear them.
I love your tips. I definitely agree with waking up earlier — you can get so much more done and I feel as though I have more time in my days. I wrote a similar post and waking up earlier was one of my tips as well.
Thank you for reading Alexis.
I use a blocking time strategy similar to yours but I give myself some flexibility because sometimes I’m in the mood to write, sometimes I’m in the mood to do SEO stuff, sometimes I feel like learning something new. When I’m in the mood to write, I write like 5 posts all in one sitting, and then schedule them for the next 5 days or so. That way, I knock out content creation when I’m feeling the best to do it. Similar for the other types of major activity. The thing that is the most challenging is dealing with unexpected interruptions – having children and aging parents can really turn the most effective plan upside down. So I always have a satchel ready with a blog related project in it – for when I’m unexpectedly mobile.
I totally agree. We should always be flexible in our scheduling because life totally happens. I have not conquered writing multiple posts in one sitting, but I will get there. Thanks for reading!
Change for the better
Awesome tips thanks!! Particularly the getting up a bit earlier, it seems so hard to do at first but is so beneficial. I use my miracle miracle morning to increase productivity (read, exercise, meditate, write 3 things I’m grateful for, an affirmation) it takes about an hour in all but if I do nothing else for the rest of the day I know I’ve already achieved something, all before most people wake up.
Love this blog
Thank you Mike! My days go a lot smoother when I get up before everyone else. I can definitely get a lot accomplished in that forty-five minute window.
These are some very helpful tips! I do a few of these myself and while I dont time block exactly crossing off completed tasks in my day planner definitely helps keep me on track!
Tracy, The Cleland Clan
Great advice! Thanks!
Thank you for reading Tracy.
These are wonderful tips. Time blocking is a big one for me (I include social media in that), but I also find I’m more productive when I shower and dress as if I was going to leave the house.
Thank you for reading Sarah. Time blocking has definitely increased my productivity.
Thank you for reading Tamika.