How can you improve productivity when surrounded by your life’s collection of trinkets and personal distractions?
I’ve been working from home for the last year, and this post is based on my experience.
The main issues I’ve faced are:
#2 Overzealous (self-induced) workloads
#3 A Familiar environment leading to personal distractions (looping back around to #1!)
Here’s how I’ve come to deal with them, to get the most out of my day:
How To Be More Productive When Working From Home
STEP 1: PYJAMAS OR A SUIT?
When I used to work a ‘regular job’, I’d jump at the chance to spend the day in my pyjamas. It was a rare treat.
But now, after a year of working from home, it’s lost its appeal. In-fact, it has a negative impact on my mood when I’m trying to get something done!
If you want to feel like a professional, putting on some day clothes is a step in the right direction.
Step 2: SET YOUR WORKING HOURS – DAY PLANNER
If you don’t have a contract telling you when you have to work, it can get random.
Since I started working from home, I’ve gone weeks with nothing to show for it. While on the other hand, I’ve had days when I worked up to 16 hours near non-stop!
It’s hard to find a balance, especially when you’re so invested in the outcome.
I’ve found that creating a structure for my day helps to keep things sensible.
I generally try to be productive between 10:00am – 3:00pm. That’s extended on publishing days.
It’s also a good opportunity to list long-term projects -which in turn, helps to spread the workload over a longer period of time.
BTW: I have a free printable daily planner here, which might be useful.
Step 3: TAKE A WALK – GO OUTSIDE
I try to start each day with a walk.
If not, it can start to feel like I’m a little cooped-up! Think about it, you eat, sleep and work in the same space -everyday.
Also, if possible, it’s a great idea to work outside in the summer. Whether it be the garden or the park.
That’s when the freedom to work from home really pays off.
How To Improve Productivity
Step 4: A SPACE TO BE PRODUCTIVE
If you work on a computer then a powerful laptop would be great, because you could work from anywhere around the house.
If you’re creative, you could make a comfortable corner somewhere.
For me, I’m more productive if I have a dedicated work space.
I work from a solid wood desk I purchased back when I was still employed. -The plan was to write my masterpiece on it!
It’s a small desk, making it easier to move around as needed -which I tend to do as the weather changes.
Step 5: MAKE A LIST
I’m a list maker. It helps me stay organised when I’ve got lots to do.
You can tick things off as you go along, and when jumping from project to project, you won’t get muddled up.
It’s also useful to see what work you’ve set for yourself -right there on the page (or screen).
Is it too much work? Can you realistically complete it in one day?
A simple list is a great time management tool.
Step 6: PUT THE KETTLE ON
On that note, I’ll go ahead and make myself a tea. -be back in 5.
OK, you have to know when it’s time to take a break.
Without a structured workday it’s easy to struggle on without stopping.
You have to ensure you take breaks, or you’ll break!
Getting The Most Out Of Your Day
Step 7: WORK WITH INTENT
A couple of days ago I published a ‘ways to save money‘ post.
It was an idea I had that morning, and I was eager to get it out.
I tend to accompany my posts with images, and proof read a-l-o-t (Surprised? Are my posts that bad?).
It’s a time consuming process.
Point is, I worked towards a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the day.
You have to focus on the goal and work with the intent of completing it.
You can’t allow mundane distractions to pull you away, or be tempted by a little procrastination.
Step 8: ALLOW YOURSELF TO FINISH ON-TIME
Most of us are running out of the door when the day ends, in a regular job.
But when you work from home it’s tempting to complete the task -no matter how big.
There will be times when you have no choice but to work, like a major issue with a business you run. But on the whole, you have to allow yourself to stop working.
Allow yourself to finish on-time so you can have some time away, and come back at it fresh, another day.
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