The Top Ways to Be More Productive at Home
How many times have you heard "oh my God, you are SO lucky to be working from home! I wish I could, too!" Little do these people realize, it isn't nearly as wonderful as they imagine. Between pushing yourself to get out of bed after sleeping in until 11am or turning off the television to devote your undivided attention to important work tasks, it takes a lot of motivation to keep your day organized.
Up until recently, my schedule was a complete mess. I would work a few hours in the morning (in my pjs nonetheless,) go to the grocery store, work another hour before having lunch, put a load of laundry in and then have the evening to work after my kids were tucked in. This clearly wasn't working, not to mention the lack of sleep I was getting after working until the wee hours of the morning. I was burnt out and hating it. Now, I have created a system that allows me to be more efficient with my workflow, actually take a shower and have time to spend with my family when they get home every single day.
Here's what has worked for me --
1. GET DRESSED
Why should you bother getting dressed when you work from home? The main theory behind this, is that you dress how you feel. If you’re going to stay in your comfy sweats or pajamas, what type of mood is that going to put you in? More than likely, a lazy one. In turn, this will reflect on your work ethics. If you take the small effort to dress nice and get ready each day as if you are heading to the office, you’ll feel motivated to tackle your work day, especially in a more positive and energized way.
2. CREATE A ROUTINE
This is probably the most important step to implement. When you create a routine that you follow almost religiously, you get into a rhythm that feels natural and you’ll notice your productivity increase drastically. You need to design a timeline that you know you can follow with ease. Here’s a sample of the routine that helps me organize my day and keep on schedule. Keep in mind, what works for me may not work for you. Generate a plan that's personal to your needs and overall life.
7:30am: Wake up with children, prepare breakfast + make lunches
8:30am: Kids off to school, make bed, shower + get dressed for the day
9:30am: Review and respond to important emails from previous evening + overnight
9:45am: Make my healthy green smoothie
10:00am: Start being a work horse!
12:30pm: Prepare a healthy lunch, take 15 minutes to stretch and/or practice yoga to relax my body and mind
1:30pm: Back to work!
5:00pm: Prepare dinner for the family
6:00pm: Spend time with the kids (normally doing something active), review any school notes/letters sent home
9:00pm: Children in bed, organize my next day by priority, relax with hubby
11:00pm: Bed time to get a full night's sleep
Everyone’s day is different. We also can’t help the unexpected, but when you set routines, you are more likely to stick to them and this eventually becomes the "norm."
3. SET LIMITS
You need to understand your body and know when it’s time to give yourself a break. Stress can be a huge burden to the self-employed and you should realize the importance of taking a "time-out." Whether it's to grab a quick drink, exercise or just stop work for the day, it is absolutely crucial. This includes checking your phone at all hours of the evening (we are ALL guilty of this!) If we were in an office setting, we would get a lunch break as well as a few shorter ones throughout our day. The joy of working for yourself is the fact that you don't have a boss to answer to and you should never let your clients dictate your schedule. Regardless of how many deadlines you have to meet, set hours for your day and then take the time to relax, clear your mind and get back to it the following day.
4. CREATE A PERSONAL SPACE
This is an absolute MUST! When you’re always working from home, you need to create an environment that you love. Make it your own so that you are happy and most productive! You’re the only individual that knows what makes puts you at your best, so include objects and colours that appeal to you and will brighten your spirits when moments becomes stressful. I find light walls and a white desk help me in maintaining a positive mood, while hanging motivational prints I can peek at create the perfect work atmosphere. I also have a tendency to write my weekly goals on sticky notes and adhere them to my monitor.
5. STAY ACTIVE
It goes without saying that a healthy body creates a healthy mind. Eating properly and staying active play a pivotal role in maintaining a positive mindset. When you are feeling good, your productivity levels increase and you accomplish so much more. You’d be amazed at what stepping away from the computer for 30-60 minutes can do to your overall health.
Being mindful is all it really takes! Working from home definitely comes with obstacles, but as long as you are prioritizing tasks and acknowledging how you feel, you are capable of working efficiently, even if it means your days become shorter.
If you are in need of additional tips to avoid the famous "burn out," feel free to read my post here.