Want to cross more tasks off of your to-do list? We have some simple productivity tips that can help you get more done!
You wake up and immediately feel overwhelmed by thinking about how much you need to get done.
The emails are piling up in your inbox, the pile of dirty dishes in the sink is reminding you how behind you are on housework, and you forgot to make your kid’s lunch last night. It’s not even 7 AM yet, and you already feel like a failure.
And to top it off – you stayed up until 1 AM last night working. Shouldn’t you feel more on top of things than this?
Some days you feel like you can’t possibly keep juggling working from home while still nourishing your personal life and relationships and making sure everything stays afloat. And although you might begin your day with great intentions of being super productive, so many things keep getting in the way, and you feel like you just can’t seem to get a grasp on everything.
I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can feel in control of your life and your work and thrive instead of trying to merely get through the day.
Today I’m excited to be sharing six ways to stay productive when working from home that will help you to be more productive, so you can work smarter, not harder.
Here are six ways to stay productive when working from home.
1. Have a Morning Routine and Get Ready for the Day
Establishing a morning routine and actually getting ready for the day is a great way to trick your brain to snap into working mode. I know it can be tempting to stay in pajamas all day when you work from home, but you would be amazed at how the simple act of throwing a little makeup on, doing your hair, and actually getting dressed for the day can positively impact your entire day.
2. Do Your Most Important Task of the Day First Thing
Completing your most essential task of the day first thing is a fabulous way to get yourself feeling accomplished and motivated enough to tackle all of your to-do lists. Not only that but if something unexpected comes up over the course of the day and you are unable to finish anything else on your to-do list, at least you can feel satisfied in knowing that you took care of the #1 most important task you had to do.
3. Track Your Time
You might be surprised by how much time you are spending on tasks, that you think only take a few minutes. I encourage you to keep track of how much time you spend on designated tasks and see how that time adds up over the course of the week or month. Seeing the actual number of minutes you are allocating to certain projects or tasks can give you some great insight into how you might be able to streamline your time a bit more and become more efficient.
4. Turn Off All Notifications
Between social media notifications, email alerts, text messages, phone calls, and the doorbell ringing, there are so many ways to become distracted when working from home. To be productive, it is essential to turn off as many notifications and potential interruptions as you can. Try leaving your phone in another room while you work, so you aren’t tempted to check it constantly. You can also close out your emails, so that you aren’t getting bombarded with new ones, thus feeling distracted by wanting to respond to them.
5. Have a Dedicated Workspace
Although working from your kitchen table might seem appealing, I really encourage you to create a space that is designated purely for work. Having a separate and dedicated workspace is a surefire way to tell your brain that it is “time for work” when you sit down. You don’t need to have an entire home office in order to create an effective working environment. If you don’t have a spare room to turn into an office, try sticking a desk in the corner of your bedroom instead. It will give you a quiet space to be able to focus on the task at hand and not get distracted by everything else that needs to be done.
6. Fight the Urge to Work All the Time
This is something that I think so many of us work-from-home women struggle with! We have a tough time creating boundaries and drawing a line between our work and personal life, and as a result, often end up working through the weekend or burning the midnight oil. Just because you can work all of the time doesn’t mean that you should. Not giving yourself a break or some time to relax and rejuvenate is a recipe for burning yourself out very quickly, and that won’t be good for your health or your business!
If you can set strict home office hours for yourself where you work 8-5 every day, that is a wonderful plan to make sure you aren’t overworking yourself. For those of you who are like me and have a young baby or toddler at home and can’t rely on a predictable schedule to get your work done, try setting “do not work” hours for yourself. For me, that means I do not work when my daughter is awake, and I try very hard to not work on the weekends unless I absolutely have to.
Working from home isn’t always the easiest, so if you are feeling overwhelmed by trying to balance everything you have on your plate, I encourage you to start off making small adjustments to your routine. Sometimes the smallest changes in our daily routines can really impact our productivity in a huge and positive way.☺
What are your biggest distractions when working from home? How do you overcome those distractions to stay productive?
Christina is a Work-From-Home Mom and the founder of embracingsimpleblog.com. She is passionate about empowering women to create a life they love that is filled with joy and purpose. You can also connect with her on Facebook.
Great post! I really need to focus on my morning routine whether I am working from home or going into the office I really struggle in the mornings. Turning off notifications is great advice, we don’t own a home phone so my cell phone is literally always by me! Thanks Christina!
Holly - The Work at Home Woman
Glad you enjoyed the article, Jackie. I’ve started using Brain.fm as part of my morning routine and when I can’t seem to focus — it really helps. Thanks for stopping by.
Christina @ Embracing Simple
Thanks Jackie! Mornings were a HUGE struggle for me too at first. I am a night owl by nature but once I had Little Miss, it just wasn’t working for me anymore. By the time she was in bed I was way too tired to work! Now I try to wake up at 5:00a (sometimes 4 if I’m being super ambitious) to crank out some work before she’s awake. Not only do I get a lot done during this time, but I’m a much happier Mom for the rest of the day. I get to enjoy that first lovely cup of coffee before she’s awake and just have some time to myself. It’s my new version of happy hour! :)
Alexandra @ My Urban Family
Turning off notifications is such a great tip. I recently had a surge in Twitter followers and I found myself picking up my phone over and over and over to swipe away my notifications. I finally turned them off thinking I’d turn them back on later, but now I’m kind of relieved they are off. I don’t need to be pinged every time something happens on social media! Thanks for the great tips!
Holly - The Work at Home Woman
Yes, social media can really get out of control. I’ve set my phone up so I can’t receive any push notifications — not only are they distracting, they take time away from my most important focus — my family. Glad you enjoyed the tips!
Christina @ Embracing Simple
You bet Alex! That’s awesome that you got a huge surge in Twitter followers (I may need to pick your brain soon about that – Twitter isn’t my strong suite!). But I agree, anything social media-related has a huge tendency to sidetrack me. I had to delete the Twitter and Facebook apps off my phone for that very reason!
It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing your tips. I’ve been working from home for 8 years now and I still don’t have the work-life balance figured out. :)
Now that I’m working with more clients I’ve been fighting the urge to work all the time. Not that it’s cutting into my time with the fam, but I have worked ’til midnight just to get my daily tasks complete. Needless to say, I need to make adjustments fast. :)
My main distraction is taking family members to their appointments. My 20-yr old can’t drive because of his seizure disorder so I drive him to doctor visits. Or, my mother might need me to take her to a doctor’s appointment. I just take my laptop with me to keep on working while we wait :).
Thank you for sharing your tips. I’m on my way to check out your blog. Hope you’re having a great week!
Christina @ Embracing Simple
Hi Cori, so nice to meet you too! It’s so tough to try to balance everything, and I really do feel like it’s always a work in progress for me too. The important thing is to keep at it and trucking through, and it sounds like you are the queen of getting creative when it comes to getting work done while still tending to your family’s needs – that is phenomenal! Thank you for your sweet comment! :)