When we started our digital agency and started online work from home one thing I used to really struggle with was being productive and staying focused. I would find that my to do list was overwhelming and so many things would distract me that next thing I knew half my day was gone!
This would lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress and due to this things just wouldn’t get done. Over the years of working from home I have developed some strategies that have helped keep me productive when working from home and therefore keep our digital agency business booming.
So I want to share with you the top 5 things I have implemented to keep me productive when working from home.
Create a morning routine
A benefit of online work from home is not having to get up early, get ready for work and jump in the hour-long commute to get there. However, starting your morning the same way each day does have its benefits – both psychologically and for your overall productivity. Something I used to be guilty of was sleeping in and having a slow start to my day. While this is nice to do occasionally on a Sunday it really wasn’t helping me get the tasks done for work that I needed to.
The first thing to do in creating a morning routine is picking a consistent time to get up each morning. While this doesn’t have to be 5.30am like you used to have to do to go to the office I suggest something earlier than 9am would be beneficial. Then choose what you will do once you are out of bed. Will you exercise first thing? Journal? Check emails straight away? Have a coffee? It doesn’t matter what you do you just have to be consistent with it every morning.
For example, mine takes me about 1.5 hours BUT that includes my daily exercise, journaling, breakfast, shower and getting ready for the day. I find that when I do this routine, I set myself up for staying productive when working from home. Your morning routine doesn’t have to be long it just has to be enough that it sets you up for the day.
Stick to a schedule
This may seem like an obvious tip but trust me so many people don’t do it!
When setting a schedule for your online work from home be more specific than just work 8-12. Divide your work into different tasks like admin, content creation, emails and training and then block times out in your diary for each specific task. This will help you stay on track with the task at hand and not get distracted by other things on your to do list.
Make sure you also schedule in time for breaks and a lunch break.
Have a “work only” space
The physical space you work in has a huge impact on your productivity as well as your mental wellbeing.
If you are working at the kitchen table with laundry dumped over it and dishes piling up in the kitchen then you are more likely to get distracted and probably a bit stressed!
Instead, try and find a quite space in your house where you can set up an office. This may be in the spare bedroom or a nook of your lounge room. If you have kids, then let them know that this is you space and it must not be played with.
Set your space up so that it inspires you and makes you feel happy when you sit there. Add in some plants to make the space feel alive and diffuse some oils to make it smell good. If you enjoy sitting there and it makes you feel good then you won’t be counting down the hours until you can leave and you will be way more productive when working from home.
Set your must do tasks each morning
If you are like me your to do list is a page long and no matter how many you tick off the same amount just keep getting added on. So instead of looking at it each morning and freaking out about how the heck am I going to get through all these today, something I have recently started doing is picking the 5 top priority tasks that have to get done for the day. This is life changing!
Now when picking your tasks you want to make sure that they are going to be achievable for that day. You don’t want to pick 2 tasks that will take up majority of the time and leave no time for the other 3 tasks. If you have a really big task that needs to be done just aim to get part of it done. For example, if building a website from scratch like we do at our digital agency, you wouldn’t write on your list “build entire website” but instead you may write “build about us page for website”. That way you are still working towards the main task but are also getting to tick something off your list. I guarantee that when you chunk it down like this you will feel great for getting the to do’s done and your bigger tasks will get done quicker!
Take regular breaks
Just like when you are working at the office make sure you take regular small breaks and get up and get away from your desk. It is a good idea to try and move a bit during this break as movement will help wake up your muscles, cells and all your neurons in your brain leading to better concentration and therefore more productivity. By doing a quick walk, dancing to a song or a quick stretch you can help increase your productivity when working from home as you wake your body up after sitting for so long.
Another great way to take regular breaks is to use a timer or an app to chunk your workday in to blocks of time. I like to work in chunks of 45 minutes and then take a 5-10 minute break. The timing of the chunk doesn’t matter it is more about the quick break you get at the end of it.
So there you have it my top 5 tips of how to increase your productivity when working from home online! I hope you are able to implement some of these into your work from home routine and as a result become more productive in your everyday work routine! I know I certainly have!
Alana McQueen is a young female entrepreneur and part founder of local digital agency capital websites along with her mother Eva McQueen. Capital websites aims to help local businesses build an exceptional online presence through the use of awesome web design and SEO. Alana is also passionate about finding different ways to make money online so that one day when she has kids, she can work full time from home.