“Work from home. It’ll be fun,” they said. “You won’t have to wait in traffic or get dressed,” they said. SPOILER ALERT: It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Making your own schedule as an entrepreneur can be tough, but I’m sure you’ve discovered that by now, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Well, let’s get right to it. I’m going to walk you through how to be productive working from home!
Each week, brain dump every single thing that needs to get done personally and professionally. Plug everything that has a specific time (such as appointments or meeting) into your calendar.
Next, take the remaining tasks, batch them, and plug them into each day in a way that feels SUPER doable. You should have no doubt you can get through all the tasks for a given day even if you get side-tracked for a bit.
People typically perform better when they feel like they’re doing well versus when they feel behind. Don’t believe me? Have you ever looked at a super long to-do list and decided to take a nap instead because you were so overwhelmed?
By limiting our daily tasks, we give ourselves the sense that we’re ahead. And when we finish early, we can either check out for the day or start on the first task for the next day! You’ll feel like superwoman instead of a failure.
At the risk of throwing it back to 8th-grade maturity jokes, *cough* your phone *cough*. But, seriously, put the damn thing down. I promise your hand won’t melt if you don’t check it every fifteen seconds.
Before phones, did people just walk around thinking, “I don’t know what to do with my hands?”
And for the love of God, if you haven’t yet, DO NOT download TikTok. It is a trap designed to ruin productivity and dreams. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but honestly, it’s not your friend. If you want to learn how to be productive working from home, this should be the number one thing you avoid.
Oh, and the TV? I know, I know. It’s cool how you can now watch TV while you work because you’re so good at “multitasking,” but did you know that’s not actually a thing? Multitasking is actually more like switching back and forth between tasks very quickly. So really, you’re just slowing yourself down because your attention is split.
In conclusion, wanna watch the latest episodes of This is Us? Get through your edits first, Karen.
Eat and Take Breaks
Let me paint a picture for you. Maybe you can relate. You’re at your computer, you start to feel super tired and look up at the clock only to realize its 2pm. You have not eaten. You have not even brushed your teeth since starting work at 8am.
I have done this more times than I care to admit. Do as I say, not as I do. SCHEDULE breaks. Eat food. BRUSH YOUR TEETH.
Did you know that after spending more than two hours on a task, people consistently show diminished returns in productivity? Do yourself a favor and schedule your work into two hour chunks AT MOST. If this is a struggle, break them into hour long chunks with quick 5-10 minute breaks in between!
Even if you just stretch to get your blood moving, you’ll see huge leaps in progress and creativity! I promise! And your body will thank you.
Set Aside a Designated Work Space
It doesn’t have to be a beautiful, Pinterest-worthy office, but set aside a specific space where you will work. This isn’t just for your posture or to keep your house clean.
Context-dependent memory is the idea that your brain can more easily flow in areas it’s used to doing a specific activity. This is exactly why we don’t have a TV in our bedroom. My brain knows my bed = sleep, so tossing and turning rarely happens.
When you work from the couch, as comfy as it may be, your brain is programmed to relax in that space. So, not only are you ruining your place to relax, you’re also going to find yourself struggling to focus when it comes time to work.
Set up a card table if you have to, but do whatever it takes to give yourself a little work nook. If you have a room you can consistently use, even better!
Our brains are like toddlers (lovely, little, habitual creatures that crave consistency). If you create a workspace in your home and keep it clean, you’ll be able to easily step into your work mentality when you sit down.
Set a Timer
If you KNOW there is a task that you routinely get sucked down an unproductive rabbit hole doing, set a timer. Since we know people have trouble focusing while they’re facing a clock, don’t keep it up in front of you.
Simply set the timer for 20-30 minutes and get to it! I use this tactic for social media engagement. I give myself 2-3, 20-minute timers to engage in different ways each day.
Because I know I’m on a deadline, I don’t waste time. No mindless scrolling. I’m on a mission. Try it the next time you respond to emails or do social media engagement and be AMAZED at how much more you get done.
Have Some Discipline
If I hear one more person say, “yeah, I know how to schedule it out, but it just never gets done,” like they are some sort of victim, I swear. Have some discipline, Karen!
As an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to push tasks off until the next day, but I urge you not to. Not only are you hurting yourself in the long-run by training your brain that you don’t keep your word, this habit WILL catch up to you and hurt your reputation.
You’ll miss deadlines, you’ll upset clients, and people will stop feeling like they can count on you. Don’t dig a hole for yourself by procrastinating. One pushed back tasks pushes back another task or gets in the way of you spending time with your family.
If you follow the tips above, you should be setting very realistic to-do lists. So, focus, get your shit done, and stop making excuses. No amount of blog posts about productivity and time management will sit down and actually do the work for you. So, get to it, already!
No joke. Sometimes, I’ll start with tasks I’m not excited about and reward myself with tasks I do enjoy ONCE I get the other ones done. If I’m feeling real spicy, I’ll reward myself with more coffee.
But in all seriousness, we are not meant to work 24/7, so reward your hard work and productivity with some much needed downtime. I personally believe everyone needs at least one day each week away from their work to gain clarity and improve creativity.
BOTTOM LINE: Schedule breaks, fun, and free time in too!
Want More Results in Less Time?
Finding ways to achieve the same results in less time is one of the ultimate productivity hacks. One way I’ve been able to get more traffic to my site is by using Pinterest as a marketing platform. In comparison to Instagram, I spend less than 10 hours a month on my Pinterest strategy and it yields 62% of my overall web traffic. If you’re hoping to up your Pinterest game, click here to join my FREE Facebook group where I’ll be holding a FREE Pinterest training the week of April 6th!