Working from home sounds like a dream for so many people. After all, who wants to spend 2 hours a day sitting in a traffic jam, driving into a busy, noisy polluted city? Especially when you can just get out of bed, fire up your laptop, and start work immediately. But it’s often not as rosy as it seems. Without that office environment, it’s easy to become distracted. And as many busy entrepreneurs will tell you, sometimes that huge to-do list can be overwhelming. So if you need some help getting into a more zen-like state for achieving more productive work time at home, here’s a guide to get you started.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Embrace the mornings
Even if you don’t feel like you are a naturally a “morning person”, make an early start part of your working day. Why? Well, for one thing, you’re going to be more alert at that time of the day. So it’s the perfect time to focus on the tasks that require a bit more concentration. And secondly, because if you accomplish something early on the day, it’s going to set the stage for the rest of your day. If a disaster hits by mid afternoon, at least you’ve got that one important task complete.
Have one important task every day
Speaking of important tasks, productivity is all about priorities. And one of the easiest ways to start planning your workload is to single out one important task to achieve, each and every day. If you struggle to know what that task is, here’s a quick tip. Find the task on your list that you are most resistant to getting done. That task, whether you realise it or not, is going to be draining a lot of energy from you as it sits there nagging you every day, waiting for you to do it. So get it off your to-do list today, and free up your mind for more creative, energising work that you’re naturally going to be highly productive at.
Create a beautiful work space
Great environments can have a massively positive impact on productivity. There have been dozens of studies that have found a link between work environment and productivity. Make sure you create a dedicated work space in your home and fill it with natural light. Have a good quality desk, comfortable chair, and plenty of plants. Avoid clutter. Instead, keep it minimal and tidy. And check you’re working in a comfortable temperature.
Feeling busy is not the same as being busy. And there is no greater lie you can tell yourself than to spend hours a day online, believing that you’re “working”. Yes, you might be promoting your business on social media. But it’s also a distraction. Set some time aside every day to unplug from the internet, and work offline, without the noise and distractions of news alerts and news feeds.
Communicate with the outside world
Working from home has plenty of great advantages. But it also has some drawbacks. You might think you won’t miss noisy colleagues interrupting you throughout the day, but we all need regular contact with other people to boost our energy levels. It’s a great idea to connect with other entrepreneurs in your area and meet up on a regular basis. It’ll also give you a great network for your business, and allow you to exchange ideas.
Make sure your technology is reliable
Don’t let your business down by surrounding yourself with poor technology. Use a good, fast laptop and make sure you have good quality broadband. Speedy technology is your best asset if you want to stay productive. It will also help reduce your stress levels. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a file to open that you urgently need to access.
Listen to classical music
Before you declare yourself as someone who isn’t a fan of classical music, you might be surprised to hear that there has been a link between listening to classical music and improved focus on tasks. My personal recommendations: Bach, or Philip Glass.
Work in 25 minute bursts
There are lots of time management methods that recommend short, intense work cycles. One of the best known is the Pomodoro technique. This method suggests you split your work into 25 minute units, staying completely focused on the task at hand, before taking a short break. It works fantastically well, and you’ll find it also helps improve your actual work quality, because you are shutting out distractions. To try the Pomodoro technique, download an app that supports this method, such as Be Focused.
Go easy on the coffee
I’m guilty of this one, so I understand the temptation to boost your energy levels with just one more cup of coffee. But too much coffee will leave you drained by the end of the day. For better productivity, choose a herbal tea, and make sure you have a good, balanced diet that keeps your blood sugar levels stable.
Need more help getting some productive work hours in your schedule? Download the free guide below, and get my free printable daily planner.