As someone who works from home, I can tell you, the struggle to be productive is real. It’s hard enough to focus and be productive at work. But when your work and home life aren’t separated, the challenge is even greater. These are some strategies anyone working from home can implement right now to get stuff done.
How to work from home and be productive
1) Batch work
I’m a huge fan of this and get my coaching clients to do it as much as possible. I schedule out my week ahead of time and block off large chunks of time on my calendar to do a specific task. Examples?
- I’ll do several blog posts for the month over the course of a few hours.
- I’ll schedule out Pinterest and social media posts for the month all in one day.
- I block off a morning dedicated to finances.
- I check email at two dedicated times during the day – once after lunch, and once at the end of the day. (Never first thing to start my day!)
Batch work is the most effective thing you can implement when working from home.
If you want more examples, you can listen to this podcast episode about batch working while you clean or take your dog for a walk!
2) Stick to office hours
It’s hard to separate work from home when you’re at home and working. So setting strict “office hours” is really helpful in sticking to a batch working schedule.
Whether it’s 9-5 or 12-8, make sure that you have a designated start and end time to your workday.
3) Prep meals ahead of time
I totally get it – meal prep is a lot of work and takes a lot of planning. But when you have meals ready to go, you’re not taking an hour out of your work day just to prep lunch.
If you just can’t bring yourself to start planning meals ahead of time, try some meal-planning apps to help you out.
Or team up with a friend to swap meal-plan lists with so you can try something new.
4) Stay focused
I know, easier said than done. This is where batch working comes in handy (see above). I also set a timer on my phone and tell myself I need to be finished by the time it goes off. It helps immensely! If you find yourself constantly distracted, here are some apps to help you stay on task:
- Ommwriter – if you’re someone who says “I just can’t write”, then check out this app. It clears out the noise and chaos and creates a calming virtual space so you can get your writing done.
- Freedom – an app and website blocker that you can use on your phone or computer to block distracting apps.
- Zoom – if you need to communicate with clients or someone on your team, this is a great free video conferencing tool. It has share screen, a chat box, and 40 minutes free for more than 3 users (unlimited time for a 2 person meeting).
- Honeybook – this isn’t exactly an app – it’s a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. It has everything – built in workflows, daily task reminders, calendar syncing, bookkeeping, invoicing and contracts, and email and contract templates. If you’re a self-employed entrepreneur looking to save time and get stuff done, this is a tool you need in your life! Setting up workflows and automating your tasks is amazing. It lets you stay focused on only what you need to get done each day. You can also save $200 by using this code to sign up!
5) Schedule in fun time
Cause working from home shouldn’t be all work
When you work from home, it’s really hard to think of “home time” as anything other than “sleep and work time”. Everything can blur together, and without some fun activities thrown in, monotony can sneak in, fast. Some ideas to break up your work week:
- If you live with others, have a designated at home “date night” with your partner or roommate. It can be anything from a board game night, to a special meal, to watching your fave show together.
- Dedicate a room or area of your house a “fun zone” – meaning there is NO work allowed there. Make sure you’re purposeful about the space. As soon as you enter, make sure your work is put away and your “work brain” is shut off. This area could be your couch, a section of your basement or living room, or a yoga mat in your bedroom. Whatever it is or wherever it is, once you declare it a work free zone, make sure you stick to it.
- Set up work dates with friends. I have weekly lunch dates with friends who are self employed and also work from home. We take turns hosting, meeting up at local cafes (supporting a local biz in the process), or do video chats. By having it scheduled weekly, it gives you something to look forward to and also keeps you on track and accountable. (because if it’s a week later and you’re still not done last Monday’s project, chances are your friends will call you out on it).
If you’re a parent like me and you have kids at home, you can check out some ideas on how to keep them entertained while you work.