5 tips to be productive when working from home

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One thing is for sure: I’m no productivity guru.

I can be a hard core procrastinator at times. Especially when I only manage to be productive 10 minutes before something is due, or while sitting in bed at 10pm typing away at my laptop (current situation).

Nevertheless, I do have my ‘productive’ days, and now that I finally have some clarity of where I’m going with my business, I know that my days will be a lot more productive from now on (and also will be spent outside the house more by going to meetings, networking events, interviewing people, etc).

Why do I work from home? Well A) I basically run my business from my laptop so it just works and B) I don’t have enough money to go to a co-working space (yet) and C) cafes or libraries often have even slower wifi than at home.

Working from home is bitter sweet. It can be comfortable and handy because you can have a break at any time and grab a snack (or two). You can wear anything you like, and you can set your own work hours. However it does have its cons and unfortunately productivity often goes down the drain when you’re sitting at home wearing tracksuit pants…

In my 3 or so years of working mainly from home I found that these things help me to be more productive (and sane):

  1. Organise your tasks into chunks. For example work for 50 minutes, then have a 10 minute break. Repeat this 5–6 times and you’ve already got a productive working day. Also make sure that each chunk is focused on a specific task such as following up with potential clients and doing e-mails in one chunk, and writing an article in another chunk. I’m currently using this great app which can really help with this. It’s called ‘Forest’ and it prevents you from using your phone while you work. You begin by selecting how many minutes you want to stay focussed for and while you work it will ‘plant’ a tree. However if you happen to use your phone during that time and exit the app, the tree dies. It’s a cool concept and surprisingly it works!
  2. Wear what you would wear to the office. This is a random tip but it can boost your productivity massively. I used to work in trackies and a hoodie with my hair in a bun. It was cosy but often made me feel lazy and prevented me from being productive. So now I always get dressed ‘properly’ wearing jeans a nice shirt or jumper and my hair doesn’t look like I just woke up. It also helps if someone unexpectedly visits you or you need to run a spontaneous errand.
  3. EXERCISE… Simple but one of the biggest keys for productivity in my opinion. Exercising or moving your body for an hour a day clears your head, gives your mind a break, and often helps you to get creative and have amazing ideas. Usually I get my best ideas when I’m going for a run or walk on the beach or punch a bag at kickboxing. I prefer working out at night, but I’ve recently started implementing early morning beach walks and they are magic (like pink fairy floss sky magic).
  4. Start work at the same time each day. Again this comes down to making your work environment as close to a normal office environment as possible. Starting work at the same time each day will give you consistency and prevent you from starting work whenever you want and procrastinating for hours. I usually start work at 8.30 am or 9 am. I also give myself a ‘lunch break’ of about an hour to break up my day.
  5. Set yourself one ‘main task’ for the day. This task is your productivity card. Once you’ve completed this task you will feel productive, and actually make progress in your business. So make sure you pick this task carefully. Everyday think about this: what’s the one thing I can do today to really move forward in my business? I implemented this a few weeks ago and it helped me feel so much better about myself, and when I didn’t finish all the little tasks on my to do list I wasn’t freaking out about being unproductive. Sometimes I forget to do this, but doing it consistently already helps a lot. Also make sure you complete this task during the hours of the day you’re most productive. For most people this is about 2–3 hours after they wake up.

The battle between procrastination and productivity will probably never end. It’s in our nature to put things off, especially things we don’t like doing. Our brain is designed to survive, not to be successful. So I guess one final ‘productivity tip’ is to make sure that you’re doing as many tasks as possible you actually like doing. Otherwise you’ll fight a very hard battle…

Implementing just these 5 things have helped me boost my productivity much more this year. I’m still not where I want to be in terms of efficiency, but I’m working on it… just like life and business, productivity is a journey. And it will have its ups and downs. So get ready for that…

What are your favourite ‘productivity hacks’?

Article originally published on katalf.wordpress.com