5 Ways to Be Productive Working From Home
Whether you’re faced with a new reality of working remotely as an employee, or you’re already an entrepreneur working from home, you may benefit from a few strategies to help you stay focused and be productive.
Structure and process will help you be more productive, keep your sanity and enjoy more time with your family.
Working from home can have its challenges because it’s easy to get distracted.
- Your favorite flick is on Netflix
- Your couch is inviting you to sit and relax or take a nap
- Your pantry is tempting with food and snacks
- Your kids want your attention
- Your dog wants a walk (3 times a day!)
I’ve owned a home-based business for decades, most of the time while being a full-time employee. It takes discipline, routine and systems to be productive.
Here are 5 ways I’ve found to stay disciplined working from home and keeping my productivity on track. I thought these might be useful for you too.
- Time Blocking
Time blocking is an excellent way to accomplish two things: a) batch tasks together and b) be more effective with your tasks in the time you’ve allotted.
Time blocking allows for batching similar tasks at the same time.
Let’s say you decide from 9 to 10 am you’ll work on email. Set a timer on your mobile phone, (and be sure to turn it over once you set the timer so you’re not distracted by the flashing and beeping of notifications).
The trick is to adhere to your time block. When the timer goes off move on to the next thing in the next time block. (The reality is you’ll likely never be 100% caught up on email. Email is someone else’s agenda. Not yours. So when the time is up, switch tasks.)
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedules, but to schedule your priorities
~ Stephen Covey.
- EAT A FROG
In Brian Tracy’s “Eat That Frog” book, his metaphor of eating a frog first thing in the morning, indicates you’ll have the satisfaction knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.
Do your most difficult tasks first thing in the day; the ones that require more of your creativity, focus and problem solving, before your minuscule tasks.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY CLOCK
Know your optimal time to work by listening to your body clock. Find out whether you work better in the morning, afternoon or evening.
An assessment over a few days will quickly show you your most productive time. Then you can plan your schedule and tasks around that.
I find I am most productive from 10 am to 3 pm, so I make sure I eat the worst frog at my peak so I can leave less creative work until after 3.
We over estimate what we can do in a short period of time. And under estimate what we can do in a long period of time.
- USE A PROJECT MANAGEMENT/TO-DO LIST SYSTEM
Trello, Asana or Notion are just a few of the many online tools for listing and prioritizing your tasks.
I personally use Trello. It works well to organize my thoughts and I can share boards with my team allowing for easy collaboration. (I like it because I can include links to articles when I’m doing research.) But Notion and Asana have expanded services.
If these seem too complex, then use Excel or a simple piece of paper and create a list of things you need to do today. Any tasks you don’t complete moves on to the next day or are eliminated.
There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing items off a do-list!
- TAKE CARE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THING – YOU
Unless you take care of your emotional, mental and physical health all these productivity strategies and tactics are useless.
Make time to take care of your health. My friend says, “without health we have no wealth”. Health and self-care differ for everyone – some find meditation calms the mind while others find peace reading a book. A walk in the woods, time at the beach or workout at the gym are all great suggestions.
There’s no denying, we’re all concerned about the situation of the global pandemic. It’s changing daily and the news can feel all-consuming and overwhelming – just more reason to take care of yourself.
Focus on what you can control instead of what you can’t. At the end of the day, you’re in control ~ to make the most of your workdays as an employee or entrepreneur or invest your hours into growing your business.
Distractions will always be present; it’s how you manage distractions that determine how productive you’ll be.
Here’s to your working-at-home and productivity success!
Deb Alcadinho is the CEO & Founder of Westshore Women’s Business Network. She’s a business advisor to femaie entrepreneurs helping them start, grow and scale their businesses.
She’s a serial entrepreneur, business owner, and mom to 3 handsome dudes. Living in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada she’s an active member in her community.