7 Tips for Staying Productive When You Work From Home
Working from home has its perks, especially if you’ve been working at a desk in an office for a while. Although you can blast your music as loud as you want and work on the couch, it can be easy to get distracted and hard to stay motivated. And at some point you will definitely miss working with humans (especially if you’re like me and had an amazing office mate at your last job!).
I’ve compiled the tricks I use to stay motivated at home and eliminate distractions to have a kickass workday.
Have a morning routine.
It’s incredibly difficult to have a productive workday if you don’t know how to effectively start your work. Whether you’re waking up at 5am or 12pm, it’s important to have a routine that marks the beginning of your workday. Mine looks something like this:
6:45am – Wake up, get dressed, brush teeth, deodorant, makeup (if I feel like it)
7:00am – Start breakfast and COFFEE
7:50am – Drive Spencer to work
8:20am – Pick up house, do dishes, feed the kitties
8:45am – Choose today’s tasks, check my planner, get to work
I am not the kind of person who can jump out of bed and start working. I have to get ready for it. And honestly, if I don’t get that first cup of coffee I am absolutely useless!
Action : Identify what actions jumpstart your morning and implement them into your morning routine.
Use a day planner.
I love planning things so the 15 minutes I spend with my planner every morning really bring me joy. It gives me an opportunity to address what I want to get done that day and when I’ll be able to accomplish those tasks. I also keep track of my business finances, social accounts, reading lists, and meals in my planner.
You may not be the type of person who loves keeping a planner, but the act of writing down what you’re planning to accomplish, on paper or on a digital calendar, will help you stay on task during your day.
Action : find a physical planner, notebook, or digital planning tool to help you keep track of your tasks
Try the Pomadoro Method.
Something that I’ve implemented recently and love is the Pomodoro Method, which is basically a system you create to time your work and rest. For example, I’ll set my phone timer for 30 minutes and pin pins on Pinterest for those 30 minutes. After I’ve finished those 30 minutes, I’ll take a break (which you can also time) and then go to my next timed task.
This doesn’t work for all my tasks (it’s not great for painting or design), but it’s been amazing for my social media goals. Not only is the time I spend on these platforms more intentional, but I’ve also stopped mindlessly scrolling.
Action : set time goals for tasks and use a timer to stay focused.
Try Block Scheduling.
For tasks that don’t work well with the Pomadoro Meathod, I like to use Block Scheduling, which is basically the act of dedicating a certain block of time to a task. For example, if I have a logo I need to work on, I’ll dedicate 1pm – 4pm to logo development. This time can be a bit more loose, so if I need to look up color references or sketch out some ideas during this time, I’m free to do it in whatever ways I need or feel I’ll be most productive.
This type of time management is great for creative or less structured tasks as it gives you the freedom to work how you need to in the time that’s allotted.
Action : set aside blocks of time for tasks.
Interact with humans.
Working from home can be extremely lonely, especially if you’re coming from an office setting. It’s no longer possible to chat with your office mate during a break or pop over to your manager’s office to ask a question. And although I have extremely chatty cats, they don’t offer quite the same quality of conversation as a person. Even just a brief interaction with another person can make a difference in my workday.
One of my favorite places to work outside of the house is at a coffee shop, as they often design their spaces to be welcoming to people who plan to hang out for a while and they almost always have free wifi. If it’s in your budget, co-working spaces can also be great places to work from. Research what’s around your area, find a couple places that look interesting, and try them out!
Action : Find a coffee shop or co-working space to work
Set up networking calls with other people in your industry.
When I lived in Muncie, most of my friends worked in some sort of creative field and I always benefitted from having coffee or a drink with them. It’s great to interact with other business owners who understand the celebrations and disappointments of your industry.
Calls and meetings aren’t reserved for just your clients! A great way to grow as a businesswoman is to surround yourself with other industry professionals.
Action : make a coffee date or schedule a call with an industry professional you admire.
Take a break.
I’ve never met a single person who was able to work for 8 hours straight and produce great work. Especially if you work in a creative field, you cannot just conjure the perfect creative solution by working harder. Sometimes you need to rest.
It can be difficult to find a good way to do this during the day (especially if you’re a Netflix junkie and get distracted easily). Instead of reaching for the remote, I like to set a timer for 10 minutes to meditate. When it’s warm, I also like to spend at least an hour outside during my workday. These activities feel like actual rest and help me feel motivated to tackle the rest of my workday.
Action : Brainstorm activities that are restful and implement them into your workday.
End your day.
It can be really tempting to work into the wee hours of the morning when your office is your house. I’ve found that this really encroaches on my family time and makes it a lot harder to go to sleep because I can’t turn my brain off.
By setting work hours, you’re giving yourself boundaries and permission to be with your family, finish your work for the day, and shut off your work brain.
Action : Set work hours and stick to them.
Working from home has its definite benefits (hello pajama pants and messy top knot) but staying motivated and accomplishing tasks can be really difficult when there’s Netflix and coffee. Implementing a couple of these tips will help you become disciplined and stay motivated during your work from home day!
Have a tip you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your comments in the comment section!