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How To Be Productive When You Work From Home

The ability to work from home is something that so many of us aspire to, but staying productive can be a challenge. Here's some tips to make it work for you.

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Oh how blissful it is to work from home… you can stay in your pyjamas all day, not get out of bed until noon, be completely on top of all of your housework and have all the cups of coffee you can possibly make. But… you’d never have a successful business if that was your mindset.

Running a business from home has its perks for sure, but with that comes a whole other level of challenges. Some days it’s a lot more enticing to binge watch Netflix rather than update your website but if you don’t put yourself into that ‘I’m at work’ mindset then your business certainly won’t be working well for you.

I run my business from home while also working part-time. I work 10 hour shifts in my day job as a Paramedic 2 days a week which means I have 5 days to work from home. One of those days is always taken with me running around and visiting people or getting chores done, another is dedicated to spending time with my son, which leaves me with 3 days to run my business… And on those three days my son is still home which I love.

In order to make my business grow I need to be mega productive on those days. I’m not perfect at it – far from it, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help me get into the right frame of mind to work on my business and boost my productivity.

1 – Have a shower and get dressed.

And put a bra on (I can’t concentrate without a bra on…). Getting yourself ready for the day does wonders for changing your mindset. While your pyjamas are comfortable and we are productive when we are comfortable, they also trick you into thinking it’s rest time.

You could even take it a step further and have a ‘uniform’ – an outfit you wear when you are working. It can be as simple as a polo shirt and a pair of yoga pants if that’s what you’d like – but it will trigger your mind to switch into work mode.

Having a shower, getting dressed and brushing your hair puts you into the work mindset – just as it would if you were leaving the house for a job.

2 – Allocate time to do housework and time to do business work.

How many times have you sat down to do your business work and thought ‘I’ll just fold that washing, or I’ll just wash those dishes.’ We all do it, it’s so easy to be distracted with household chores when you’re working from home.

To combat this, I allocate myself time for the housework and time to do business work. I find that if I get all the housework done (well, as much as I’m willing to do because let’s face it – I don’t actually like doing housework) first up then I’m not going to be distracted by it later. I usually make sure the kitchen is clean and tidy and the dishwasher is unpacked, put a load of washing on and sweep the floors before settling in for my business work.

I also allocate some time in the afternoon, usually around 3pm when I hit a productivity low, to take on the next round of housework and start getting dinner ready.

3 – Turn the Wi-Fi off for at least half an hour and power through.

If the work you need to do is on the Internet then log yourself out of all social media accounts. Cut off all ties to the distractions of the Internet and put your head down for 30 minutes of powerhouse work. You’ll be amazed at what you can get done. Give yourself clear direction of what you want to achieve and do it.

The ability to work from home is something that so many of us aspire to, but staying productive can be a challenge. Here's some tips to make it work for you.

4 – Make a pot of tea and keep snacks close by.

By having a pot of tea or coffee and snacks close by you eliminate the distraction of thinking that you can just get up and grab something to eat. Food is such an easy distraction, especially when you’re at home and have a whole kitchen at your disposal.

My biggest weakness is thinking ‘I’ll just bake a batch of cookies’ which just kills my productivity for the day. I make sure I have a pot of tea ready and some snacks to keep close by so I don’t get distracted by my rumbling belly. Do make sure you take breaks for lunch though, as you would a ‘normal’ job.

5 – Work in an area that is clean and comfortable.

No one wants to work in a cluttered, dusty area and nor should you. Working somewhere that has natural light, is clean and clear of clutter and is comfortable for you will allow you to focus on what is important – your business.

If you have a dedicated area in the house that you work then make sure it is a space that inspires you. Add fresh flowers, artwork, quotes, whatever you need to make your workspace inviting and inspiring.

6 – Know your work hours.

I’m not saying you can’t work at night – for some of us that is when we are most productive. But do set yourself work hours. I don’t do any blog work on a Tuesday morning because that is the day my son and I go to the park. I also know I have 2 hours of quiet time each day when my son is sleeping and you bet I use that time to power through my work.

It might take you a while to figure out a system that works for you – but one of the major benefits of working from home is that you can set the hours to be when you are most productive. I know there’s no way I’ll create my best work of a morning – it just doesn’t happen. But between 4pm and 5pm I am like a machine and can get more work done in that hour than the whole day.

It’s also very, very tempting to keep working all the time. When your office is your home you don’t get that physical break away, you have to create it yourself. This is much easier to do if you give yourself work hours. They don’t even have to be the same each and every day, but set them out at the start of the day or start of the week and stick to them. You’ll be more productive if you have a timeframe in which work needs to be done.

7 – Take regular breaks to engage with your children (if you have kids at home).

I run my business from home so I can spend more time with my son, not so I have to be away from him. He is two and has no concept that Mummy is working – all he knows is that Mummy is home and he wants to play. So we do. I make sure I get the bulk of my work done during his two hour nap, and break up the rest of the day so I can engage with him as much as possible.

Sometimes this means moving my ‘office’ outdoors so I can keep an eye on him while he plays, other times I set him up at the kitchen table with me with his own ‘puter’ or colouring pens and a colouring book.

I also try to schedule some work hours in after my son goes to bed, which is usually around 7pm at night. It’s all about keeping a balance between work and spending time with your kids.

8 – Get out of the house.

 Sometimes we just need a change of scenery to shift out mindset into work mode. One of my favourite things to do is to go and sit at a café, have beautiful coffee on hand and just write. I turn the WiFi off on my computer and just focus on creating amazing content. Observing the people around me and their interactions also sparks great post ideas some days and I find the chatter and general background noise quite calming.

If a café scene isn’t for you, you could always go down to the local park, go for a walk and find a nice tree to sit under or if you’re lucky enough, head down to the beach. Get some fresh air, a change of scenery and a whole new outlook.

Working from home certainly has its challenges, but it also has so many rewards. It’s all about finding what it is that works best for you, and making sure you work towards your goals each and every day.

So what is it that works for you? I’d love to hear your work from home tips and tricks – leave your comments below and share with others.

8 Comments

  1. I can relate to all of these! Especially getting up and dressed before starting the work – I always end up more productive when I have had a shower and put some light makeup on for the day. So many simple tricks to keep us on track – thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I love these ideas and will definitely be putting some of them into action. Something that I have found working a business from home is to always make sure I have an agenda. If I think of 6 things to do each night to achieve the following day that really has helped me get my mindset to work!

    1. I’m so sorry you’re having such a difficult time. It can take a little while to find your groove, then sometimes you get thrown off and you have to rework things again. Remember to play to your strengths! You’ve got this!

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