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How to Be More Productive, While Working from Home

If you're all of a sudden working from home, or maybe have been for years, it can be a challenge to be productive, efficient and get things done during these times.  COVID-19 has brought about some big changes for many of us, like having to homeschool, stay home, and juggle your family life, business or work.

I've been working from home, as an online entrepreneur, and wanted to share some ideas that have helped me.  I'm sharing, "10 Ways To Be More Productive While Working From Home."

You can experiment with what resonates with you, and leave what doesn't.  It's helpful to have some actionable ideas that can be useful for making the most of your time at home. 

If you've ever felt busy, but nothing actually gets done, and you're wondering where has the time gone? Then this is for you.  

 

 1. Communicate expectations with those around you.

As a wife and mom to three, I know from experience how easy it is to get interrupted, all day every day if I have zero boundaries in place.  It's helpful to tell other family members what your plan is for the day.

When you communicate clear boundaries, it helps set appropriate expectations and helps you stay on track.  

In the beginning, things won't always go smoothly, but if you want the support of those around you, it's wise to start communicating your expectations and your boundaries, so everyone's on the same page.

Give yourself and those around you grace as everyone adapts and learns how they can be more supportive of each other, during challenging times.  

Here's an example script you can experiment with your kids/loved ones:

"I'm going to be working for the next (fill in the blank) minutes/hours and would love to be as focused as possible, so I can get things finished.  But I first want to make sure you're taken care of.  Is there anything you need right now before I get started? I want to make sure you have what you need.  Once I get started. I'd like to not be interrupted so I can finish my work responsibilities, and then we can (fill in the blank) when I'm done."  

I've seen people put a friendly sign on their door, that says something like "working right now, please keep quiet, I love you."

If you have little ones, as I do, you can help direct them with ideas of what they can do in the meantime, or empower them to make their own list of playful ideas.  

Give it a try.  It's worth a shot.  

 

2. Create a designated work area. 

Find your own inspiring space to create.  Maybe you're working from your kitchen counter like I was when I first got started, or maybe you have a beautiful office and desk. Pick a space that inspires you. 

Work with what you've got, you can always upgrade later.  Maybe a place with a nice view, or a window with some fresh air. Choose a work-only space that when you sit down, energetically you know it's time to turn on the magic and get going. 

Sometimes I find that I need a change of scenery, and I'll pick another place in the house, or outdoors to mix things up, but I primarily use one space for work. 

I encourage you to find a designated work area that inspires and works for you too. 

 

3. Clear clutter and distractions.

Take a look at the environment you're in, and find ways to clear the clutter and physical distractions, so you can have a clear and focused mind. If there are things in your area that pull at your attention, you're making it harder on yourself.  

You'll be constantly tempted.  I know, I've been there.  Put the phone in another room or in a drawer.  Clear the desk papers and post-its that get you off track. Inner chaos creates outer chaos and vice versa.  Remember that you want your work environment to inspire creativity and support you in your work, not make it harder. 

 

 4. Create a schedule and stick with it.

This one requires self-discipline, but if I can do it, you can too. When you're your own boss, you don't have someone hovering over your shoulder telling you what needs to be done.  You're the leader.  You're in charge.  Pick a start and stop time for the day. 

If you thrive on great routines, like me, pick a daily and weekly schedule that helps you move the needle and is realistic with your goals and responsibilities.   

Schedule your time with activities that are necessary, not busywork.  Review often, cross things off that are unnecessary. 

You need designated time to create, so find a schedule that works for you.  Maybe you're working in small blocks, throughout the day, or you're doing it all in one go, in bigger sections of your day.  Whatever works best for you. 

I find that I'm most productive in the mornings.. so I do my hardest tasks during those times, and I leave the afternoons for things that are not as important, like errands, meetings, and other responsibilities.  

You'll find a flow and rhythm that works for you.  

 

5. Use a timer or planner 

Put limits on how long you'll work on specific projects.  Remember to give yourself a buffer.  Things usually take longer than you think they will.  It's better to have time left over than to feel stressed for time and disappointed. 

You can use a simple stopwatch or a kitchen timer or buy a cute timer online.  The idea is to have something that helps keep you accountable and on-task.   

 

6. Take Short Breaks. 

You need brain breaks to stay productive.  Research has found that when you put breaks in place, your performance levels go up.   Take short breaks, 5-15 minutes, every 45 min to an hour or so.  And a bonus if you get up, walk and move your body or stretch a bit, you'll feel better going back to work. 

If you're not taking enough breaks, your day drags on and you'll be less productive when you're feeling drained. 

If you're in a creative flow, however, keep it going.  You'll know you hit a plateau when you feel it. 

 

 7. Turn off notifications, apps and dinging noises. 

Put your phone in another room, turn off unnecessary desktop alerts. Place everything that would pull your attention away out of sight.  If it's an emergency, maybe have certain phone numbers allowed in your phone settings for calls, but other than that, you can call people back.  You can text people later. You can get to other things later. Don't distract yourself with notifications and open computer tabs.  It's a time-sucking trap.  

 

8. Put away for the day. 

Pick a time that works for you to wrap things up for the day and stick with it.  A time that is non-negotiable. 

If you're working off a list of things that need to get done in the day, make sure you give yourself a realistic time to shoot for. Do your best to wrap things up and stop when that time comes, so you don't find yourself working into the late hours. 

 This one was hard for me, especially in the beginning,  because when I didn't put this into practice, I'd get going on projects, ideas or learning and wanted to keep going and going.  But it's not sustainable.  You'll burn out.  When I pick a time to stop,  I feel more energized going into the next day.  

There are seasons where yes, you might have to work longer to get something finished, a project or launch, or something really important.  

But for the day-to-day, find a time that is sustainable. 

Turn it off, put it away and be done for the day. It might be helpful to put your laptop or digital devices in a drawer or closet when you're done, so you're not tempted to keep going.  

 

9. Sit & Stand Throughout The Day. 

I invested in a standing desk, the kind that automatically adjusts at the touch of a button.  I can raise the desk to stand up for periods of time, and lower it back down when I want to. I try to alternate sitting and standing throughout the day.  

This simple upgrade has given me the flexibility and option to alternate and stay energized as I work.  It helps my posture, minimizes neck and back strain and overall helps keeps me active while working. I LOVE my desk.

If you're not into standing desks or don't have this as an option, I recommend standing breaks, where at least you're getting up, moving your body, and get your blood flowing.   

 

10. Support your mood while you work

I love experimenting with natural tools, like Himalayan salt lamps and essential oils that help me create a more uplifting, calm, positive or focused environment.  I've used them for years and depending on how I want to feel that day, I can experiment with different combinations to support my well-being and work environment.

I sometimes listen to calming music.  I try to avoid music with lyrics, as it can sometimes be distracting while I focus.  Not always though.  A good song or good music can totally shift your mood while you work.  Maybe even a dance break.  Give it a try.  

Now I'd love to hear from you...

Which of these resonates with you? What have you tried that works for you? Let me know. 

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