Five Ways to Master Productivity While Working From Home
Feb 02, 2021
I love the flexibility that comes from working from home. Less time commuting is a BIG perk. So is creating a work environment that fits your “flow”, the ability to pop in a load of laundry, or slipping in a longer yoga class or mid-day walk. I like that working from home offers me plenty of options when it comes to work-life balance.
But, working from home also has its downsides. And for some, productivity can slip over time as we fall into habits that don’t support our goals. Plus, we all know there can also be a million sneaky distractions looking to hijack your time (looking at you Instagram #wellness). 😬
Let’s take a look at a few ways to boost productivity as we work from home. These simple tips can have a big impact. And, remember you're not alone if you found yourself on the work-from-home-isn’t-productive-struggle-bus. It happens to the best of us! So read-on for the tricks that work well when it comes to being effective and productive at home.
Create A Morning Routine That Motivates
Let me start by saying I was guilty of rolling out of bed, turning on my laptop, and plunging into emails. There were days that I was still in my robe at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and "it’s too late to change". 🤷 This worked for a while, but as time went on I found myself “burning out” after a few hours and then feeling uninspired to do much else.
So, I experimented with a different routine. Instead of heading straight to “work”, I now take a few minutes to stretch (Yoga with Adrienne is great!) while the coffee is brewing. Next, coffee and I rendezvous over “the daily plan”, which helps me focus on what is most important for the day.
To get myself “mentally prepared” to go to work, I get dressed. To stay comfortable and make it easy, I have a standard “uniform” (yoga pants/tank top/flowy cardigans). I pop it on without expending any energy on what-to-wear. Last, I prepare my workspace by making sure that I have everything that I need to start my first work-flow.
Changing up my routine has helped me focus and increased my productivity. I look forward to my mornings and my afternoons are more inspired!
Plan Your Time
A simple, effective way to boost your productivity is to plan your time. I like working toward my goals with just-in-time planning. This method allows me to stay flexible in my daily/weekly schedule.
It looks like this:
➡️ Every 90 days, I set my big “goals”, as well as campaigns & projects.
➡️ Each month, I plan the tactics to help me achieve those goals.
➡️ Each week, I plan the tasks I need to complete, still aligned with the 90 Day/Monthly Plan.
➡️ Each day, I do a micro version of my weekly plan (10-15 minutes tops).
When I am planning my day it is most effective to:
✔️ Figure out my “top priority” for the day & block out time to complete
✔️ Add in my "must do" tasks, breaks, appointments
✔️ Leave an hour to emails and return phone calls
I make sure that I am scheduling my most difficult tasks for when my brain has the most capacity. For me, that is generally early morning, as I tend to slow down as the day goes on. It helps to work in “flows” (check out the Pomodoro technique below), and to take mini-breaks that include movement.
I like to take a walk after completing my big project, as it “clears my head” and makes space for the rest of my day. I save my “no-brainer” tasks like returning phone calls and email for late afternoons; when I have the least amount of energy.
Work In Flows
I am going to call myself out on another one of my former bad habits, which was multitasking. Yup, we are talking fifteen browser windows open, checking emails incessantly, responding to dm’s/messenger/texts as they come up, and working on several projects at once.
And, you wonder why I was struggling with productivity. 🤦
So, join me in “just saying no to multi-tasking”! We’ve convinced ourselves that we are getting a lot done, but in reality, working this way can lead to a bunch of half-finished projects.
Stop starting, start finishing.
Focus on ONE thing and then move onto the next.
Now, I work in focus-blocks or flows. This ensures that I give my full uninterrupted attention to my top priority project for the day. I set aside the block of time for the time it will take to complete my project, and then work in sessions of 25 - 60 minutes, with short breaks, until the task is complete.
By working this way, I am able to FINISH more high-quality work in a shorter period of time—it’s a win-win method for both performance and productivity.
On my breaks, I am not starting another project, looking at emails, etc...
I use that time to move, stretch, do a mini-meditation or breathing exercise. This helps my brain reset and prepare for my next flow. I also make sure that I am hydrating, have snacks to keep me sustained, and that all bathroom breaks are complete!
Oh, those sneaky, pesky, yet entertaining distractions! Scrolling and consuming will hijack your time and send productivity down the drain. You know what I am talking about….the average person spends 2.5 hours a day, (or more) on social media. That’s almost thirteen hours per week! And yet, we keep complaining we “don’t have enough time”.
(You can thank me for the thirteen hours I opened up in your schedule. 😉 )
For those of us who are spending the majority of our time on our laptops or phone, we need to be vigilant about limiting our personal use of social media. This also applies to checking emails, texts, and messages. And, we can use tech to help us stay on task.
Here are 5 tools you can start using right now to keep you accountable while working from home:
Another tip...I set my phone in another room when I am working in “flow”. Both my husband and I will get a call or text if there is an emergency at school, and I have planned time in my day to respond to messages.😉
Set Boundaries For Success
We are still adjusting to pandemic life and many of us have both kiddos and spouses at home. Frequent interruptions can be a huge distraction and generally make it hard to re-focus. My kiddo is famous for needing "all.the.things" when I am on a tight deadline.
The easiest way to limit interruptions is to communicate that you are setting aside a certain amount of time for a project, and you won’t be available. For parents with kiddos at home, it might mean sorting out who will be the “go-to” person in the a.m. or p.m. Choosing a space where you can work quietly and out of “line-of-sight” will help you stay productive.
It’s also important to inform staff or clients of your “working hours”. Share the times that you are available to answer questions or give feedback. When I was running our company, I often left a window of time at the end of the day to connect with staff. It didn’t take up much band-with and would often help us create a mini-game plan for the next day.
By closing my door during the day, but leaving it open during the afternoon, I set the tone for my availability. Staff knew that I valued their questions and feedback, but needed to limit the number of interruptions. (You can do this at home too!)
For the next month, I encourage (and challenge) you to work in these five ways to master your productivity.
Today we covered:
✔️ Creating A Morning Routine
And, in the end, allow yourself grace. We are all still adjusting to life in the pandemic, and not everything goes according to plan. There have been days when I throw my hands up and surrender to the day, knowing that tomorrow is always a fresh start.
Also, if you're new to routines, planning, and boundaries, there is also room cut yourself some slack. It takes time to learn and master these skill sets. Small continuous improvement should be your goal.
I would love to hear both your challenges and “wins” when it comes to mastering productivity from home. Drop me a line anytime!
Hi there! I’m Jordan Eades, Holistic Business Coach and founder of Your Best Business LIfe. My passion is guiding women business owners who want to make a big impact in business—without sacrificing what matters most.
Your Best Business Life coaching provides the keys to overcoming overworking; allowing you to create a sustainable and profitable business, focus on the work that fuels your passion, unapologetically invest in self-care, prioritize experiences that light you up, and provide the support you need to thrive.
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