Working from home is something every entrepreneur dreams of. Waking up, walking to the next room and work in your pajamas and off work when your heart desires. It’s pretty great, but don’t be fooled. Working from home is a serious challenge. Picture all those things you forget about because you can’t do them when you’re at the office, cooking, Instagram, your pets, your plants(my babies), your family calling and texting, etc. When you’re an office 9-5er everyone knows not to bother you and your daily at home life can’t get in the way, but when your office is in the middle of your daily at home life, it can become very easy to get distracted. It’s hard to stay focused when Netflix and snacks are within arms reach. Whether you’re a blogger, online shop owner, etc. and you work from home, you need a home office productivity routine. Here are my 8 ways to be more productive while working from home and not get so distracted!
1. CREATE A SCHEDULE
First and foremost set your office hours, or at least set a routine schedule of what you need to get done each week. While one of the great advantages of working from home allows you to have flexibility with your work schedule, it can also sabotage your productivity. I don’t sleep in until noon then try to work while I lounge around the house. I wake up early like everyone else to start a minimum 8hour work day. I’d rather get what I need to do by 4pm then trying to accomplish work and still feel inspired through to 3am. Treat working from home just as you would if you were waking up and going to an office every day.
2. KEEP WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE SEPARATE
During work hours, you should be working. During personal time you should enjoy not working. Once you open the floodgates from one to the other it’s difficult to separate them again. Tell your friends and family you work daily 8am-5pm just like everyone else. You can’t facetime to chat or blow off the day (okay every once in awhile it’s fun to do) but once they know your schedule it’s easier to not feel bad for not answering the phone or getting distracted.
3. DRESS FOR SUCCESS
Simple as Hailee Steinfields song Most Girls “‘Cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen
We’re all just playing a game in a way, trying to win at life”.
When you have plans on a Saturday night, do you throw on sweats and leave your hair greasy? No, you get to dress your best, you feel beautiful and confident to take on the town. The same goes for your work days. It’s easy to get out of bed and stay in pajamas all day but it’s not healthy because your mindset doesn’t switch off from lazy bedtime mode. Dress to feel confident and ready to win that business deal or sign that next client.
Dressing for success allows you to create boundaries in a situation where the lines are often blurred between business and home life. Dressing like you have a meeting during at least standard office house allows you to create a separation between work and personal life. It’s hard to not be ready for your workout and casual time when you’re already in yoga clothes all day.
4. MAKE YOUR WORKSPACE AWESOME
This ties into the above dressing for success rule. When you lay in bed and work on your computer, your body will feel sluggish and your brain foggy because it associates bed with sleep. It’s important to create your own workspace environment that allows you to get everything you need to do while still cultivating creativity. For me, it’s about seeing other creative elements and life around me so my desk is completely clear except for inspiring female books, my plants and two jars of art supplies, paint brushes, and pens. Create the space you feel most productive in.
5. CHANGE UP YOUR WORKSPACE
Working from home has its perks but by Wednesday afternoon, especially if you live alone, your days can become very long and lonely. I like to change up my workspace because I can tell it has an effect on how I work that day. When I work in a coffee shop I feel more laid back and often spend that time writing positive posts. When I’m in a coworking space I feel more like a business owner and buckle down. Often times it just nice to be in a place surrounded by other like-minded individuals.
Plus you never know when you’ll start chatting with someone in a coworking space and they turn out to be your next mentor, friend, or collaborator. You have the luxury to work from anywhere you please, take a break from your home office and get outside.
6. MEAL PREP IN ADVANCE
How many of you have been in this situation: You’re in the middle of something great, stomach starts growling, run to the kitchen to grab something quick so you don’t lose your train of thought and boom, the fridge is empty or only stocked with food that needs cooking. Don’t get stuck cooking in the middle of a workday or having to order out constantly. Pick a day, for me it’s Sunday, and meal prep for the week. This will free up your days and save you from extra work and clean up at the end of your long days. Lord knows no one who works from home actually stops at 5pm.
7. LIMIT DISTRACTIONS AHEAD OF TIME
The best way I’ve found to stay away from distractions like browsing the internet or scrolling through every recipe video on Instagram and Pinterest is to plan ahead. We have so many useful scheduling tools these days, like Tailwind, that allow you to promote your content and business all day while you stay focused on your work. Schedule all those Pins, Tweets, Facebook posts ahead of time that way you’re not getting on throughout the day and getting distracted by Carol’s new baby and John’s new puppy. Set everything at the beginning of each month or if you prefer, the beginning of each day then move on. You can check back AFTER designated work hours when you’re off the clock.
If you’re the type of person that can’t stand not answering texts, try putting your phone on airplane mode for a few hours a day. Whatever you need to do to stay focused. Don’t let your distractions click your precious business hours away.
8. KNOW WHEN TO STOP WORKING!
If you’ve been staring at your computer without a thought or trying to paint and nothing is coming to life, just stop and take a break. As someone who works from home, you’re not on a 9-5 schedule. It’s okay to take a mid-day break then tac on a few more hours later that night. Sometimes you just have to dance your heart out in a watermelon bikini for a few hours then get back to work.