Working from home has some amazing benefits. I can sit on the sofa to work, have a break whenever I want and wear whatever I want. However, it can be very difficult to get motivated sometimes, and stay productive. Some days I can sit there with my laptop in front of me whilst I just catch up on TV and other days I will have it open but with a million tabs open – Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are great procrastination tools. A notification will pop up on Facebook, so I go to check it out, notice that so and so has uploaded her holiday photos, so I have a mooch through them, then notice a competition I haven’t entered….and before I know it I’ve wasted an hour. That hour comes back to haunt me when my eyes are itching with tiredness at midnight and I have a deadline to meet.
Recently, I have started to get my act together and knuckle down. I have enough distractions with the kids, and let’s face it, when you get paid according to how much work you can produce, time is money and I can’t afford to waste either. If you’re like me and often find it difficult to get motivate, here are a few tips for being productive when working from home:
1. Have a dedicated workspace.
This is one that Louise from Birds and Lilies thinks is important. It’s far too tempting to sit on the sofa and watch TV whilst working, but that is a fast track to distraction. Ideally, a desk space in a quiet area is the best place to work, where you can surround yourself with everything that you need without anything to take you off task. I unfortunately don’t have that option,as we don’t have the space. I do make myself sit at the table to work as often as possible. I know even with other distractions around me, I am more likely to focus if I am sitting at the table.
2. Make a list – but not too long
I love making lists. I know having a list of tasks that I need to work through with a very clear deadline keeps me motivated. However, if it is too long it can be overwhelming. Every morning, before I start work, I write out a list of tasks that absolutely need to be done that day, and a list of tasks that need doing ‘soon’. If I manage to get through all my tasks for that day, I try to complete a couple from the ‘soon’ list. If I don’t manage to get that far, it’s fine because at least I’ve done the necessary things.
3. Have a set working day
This fab tip comes from Mim at MamaMim. She suggests choosing a specific start and end time to your working day. At the moment I really struggle with this as I have to grab moments as and when they arise, but when they are all at school, my work days will be 9 – 3. Knowing you only have that period of time to work is a great way of focusing you a bit more. Mim also suggests getting out, and maybe taking a walk every lunchtime to get some fresh air and interact with other people. When you work from home, it can get a little lonely and isolating sometimes!
4. Make use of down time
This excellent tip comes from Vicky at Single Mother Ahoy (who has written some great posts about productivity!) and is one I realise I do a lot without realising. When you’re waiting for a bus or an appointment, standing around waiting for the school gates to open, or anything else that seems like wasted time, do something. I use this time to check on my social media or read a few blog’s. I carry a notebook and pen everywhere to note down any ideas, or even start drafting posts. I use Evernote a lot to save ideas, and there are plenty of other apps to help you work whilst on the move.
5. Work out what is distracting you – and do something about it
If it is the TV – move out of the room that the TV is in. If, like me, it is Facebook/Twitter/Whatsapp, don’t open them. If it is too temping, use an app such as Focal Filter, which blocks websites for a specified amount of time.
6. Work out your most productive times – and use them productively!
I work in the afternoons and after the kids go to bed. I know that I can concentrate more and am much more productive at night time, so I save the written stuff until then. Like many people, I hit a bit of a slump in the afternoon, so I use that time for social media stuff, replying to emails and taking photographs.
Do you work from home? What helps you to be more productive?