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6 Ways to Improve Productivity While Working from Home

6 Ways to Improve Productivity While Working from Home

 

I hear it all the time. “Amy, you are so lucky to be able to work from home.” Or, “It’s so convenient that you can do your work from your laptop…wherever you are.”

There’s a major misconception out there about us kindly folks who work from home. Until you are deep in the trenches of self-employment, working from home, you probably won’t understand. It is very easy to think that working from home means that you can vacation whenever you want, take time off, keep the house in perfect order, cook a fabulous dinner each night, run errands, and earn a living all in the course of a single day. I’m here today to tell you that that notion isn’t true. Working from home is hard. Very hard.

If you are currently working at home, then you have probably realized that productivity can be a challenge. If you are thinking about starting to work from home—let me be clear—productivity is a challenge. Today I’m going to share six things that help boost productivity when working from home.

1. Develop Daily Goals.

A productive day at the home office starts with clear daily goals. These are specific tasks to be accomplished in the course of a work day. Be realistic when setting your daily goals. Be honest about what you can actually get done, instead of making a long list that is completely unobtainable.

It’s much easier to keep the TV tuned off when you know what you want to do in the course of your work day. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself sitting in the quiet of your home, confused about what you should do first. Then you’ll convince yourself that you probably have time to watch a little NetFlix. Next thing you know, you’ve binge watched the first season of Friends and your productivity has suffered.

I prefer to set my daily goals at Quitting Time {see #6} the previous day. At that time, I’m thinking clearly and I know what jobs I should continue or prioritize based on the day’s work. In the morning, I can get up and get right to work.

2. Schedule Effectively.

I live in North Dakota. It’s cold here. It’s also very beautiful. But for a good chunk of the year we live with sub-zero wind chills and in total darkness between the hours of 5pm and 8am. That said, there is no place I like to be more on a frosty morning than in my bed under the down comforter. If it were up to me, I’d be the grandparents from Willie Wonka and I’d live in bed.

But that’s not productive.

If you are like me, having a hard time getting up in the morning, I hope this tip on scheduling will help you. Schedule your meetings and appointments as early as possible. Set meetings over breakfast or coffee. Make the appointments you’d typically take in the afternoon, first thing in the day. Set your dental appointment early, commit to an early morning class at the gym. The key here is to make these appointments and meetings important enough that you’ll get there on time and not cancel them. Once you return home, you’ll find that you’ve gained the momentum you need to move forward with your day.

3. Set and Follow the Rules.

We all have weaknesses in the realm of productivity. Time suckers that will tempt us away from having the best, most fruitful day possible. In my own life, I’ve found that creating rules helps me fight them off. Since we are all created uniquely, you’ll have to decide what your productivity downfalls are and customize rules to combat them.

For me, I need media rules. I’ve got to restrict when the TV can be on. I love television. Without a rule about when I can turn it on, I’d convince myself that I could work with it on in the background, or that I’d only watch “one episode.” In reality, it just causes my productivity to wane. Other rules I impose on myself limit the amount of times I check my email, reading {I easily get sucked into great novels}, and going back into my bedroom once I’m up and dressed—because the temptation to crawl back in bed, simple to warm up is sometimes too much.

4. Chores are for After Work Hours.

The beauty of working from home is that you are…home. The hardest part of working from home is that you are always…home.

When you work at an office, you walk out of the house in the morning, closing the door on your chores. At the office there is nothing you can do about the mountain of laundry waiting to be done or the giant stack of dishes in the sink. It’s easy to put them out of mind until you come back home. When you work from home, those things are staring you in the face all day. Sitting down to accomplish your work goals can be hard when you see the chores that need to be done.

When the weight of chores is pulling you away from a productive day, remember that you are working. Remind yourself that your chores, like those of everyone working a more traditional job, can be done after work hours. Do not let your work suffer because you just can’t stop thinking about the laundry that needs to be folded. If chores pose a challenge to your productivity try one of these ideas:

  • If you are married, explain the problem to your spouse, and agree to do chores together when you are both home.
  • Create a “work only space” where you can physically close the door on other “non” work things that are vying for your attention.
  • Set a daily chore time. Then, when a chore crosses your mind or catches your eye, you won’t need to stress because you’ll know exactly when that issue will be addressed.

 




 

5. Don’t Work from Home.

Some days I find that working from home is particularly challenging. No matter what I do, I can’t shake off the stress of chores waiting to be done or the temptation to be lazy and watch TV. If you work from home, the odds are that you’ll face a day like this at some point. Do not give in. Do not let an off day throw you off of your game. Instead, take your work somewhere else and bust your rut.

For lots of us who work from home, picking up everything and working remotely can be nearly impossible. However, there are probably some things on your to-do list that can be done with just your laptop and some WiFi. Pick a few items from your list of goals that you can do from somewhere other than your own house. {I frequent the library and my favorite coffee shop for this purpose.} A change of scenery might be just the thing to reboot your productivity.

6. Quitting Time.

When you work from home, it can be hard to know when to quit. You might think that going back to work after dinner will spur your productivity. It might, for a day or two. However, in the long run, working around the clock can lead to a burn out which may cripple your productivity for days or weeks.

I firmly believe that establishing a quitting time will boost your productivity. You’ll stay more focused through the day because you’ve set a mini deadline for your daily goals. The stress of house work will be lifted because you’ll know there will be time for chores at the end of the day. You will reap the benefits of quality time with family or friends. And you’ll be giving your mind time to unwind and relax before facing another very productive day.

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Contributor: As a military spouse, Amy Allender has moved many times. She has built and rebuilt a successful artistic design business in multiple states. She earned her degree in telecommunications from Ball State University in 2009 and has since offered lovely video production, graphic design and photography to nonprofits, ministries small businesses and families. She has a passion for life and strives to inspire others through her actions and writings. See more from Amy on her blog at amyallender.com.

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http://www.amyallender.com/

Contributor: As a military spouse, Amy Allender has moved many times. She has built and rebuilt a successful artistic design business in multiple states. She earned her degree in telecommunications from Ball State University in 2009 and has since offered lovely video production, graphic design and photography to nonprofits, ministries small businesses and families. She has a passion for life and strives to inspire others through her actions and writings. See more from Amy on her blog at amyallender.com.

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