I transitioned from spending 8 years working an 8 am-5 pm job to working fully from home and I made more mistakes than I can count. It took me about 3 months to fully find a way to be productive while working from home and I hope to share some of my strategies to help you cope quicker. So many people across the world are suddenly working from home (my wife included) and I wanted to share what I have learned to hopefully help you be productive in your new home office life.
Here is how I have learned to be productive while working from home –
1.) Have a morning routine
my morning routine looks like this
- Wake up around 5:30 am (do not look at phone)
- Make coffee, sip coffee with my wife and we each draw an oracle card and talk about our days (we use the sacred symbols oracle deck but any will do)
- Open my planner and commit to 2-3 BIG things to complete each day
- Time blocks a schedule for me for the day. If my energy is low, I honor that and let myself rest. If I am feeling creative, I honor that and I do creative work. If I am feeling hyped, I honor it and give myself projects that require me to be on camera.
- Once I have my priorities and my schedule for the day THEN I open social media and start to work
- IF I am doing any writing on that day (like this morning I am writing this) I stay off all social media until I can write. I always want to write my own words, before reading the words of others. I find this way my thoughts flow smoothly
This is loosely based on Mel Robbin’s morning routine, especially the part of having a tech-free morning to prioritize goals.
bonus: End of day
- Consider going through your to-do list and writing down the 2-3 things you want to accomplish tomorrow before ending your workday. Personally, this doesn’t always work well for me but TONS of people swear by it as a tool to increase productivity.
2.) Make a weekly to-do list and time block
- I keep a yearly goal list
- A quarterly priority list
- The turn that into a monthly to-do list
- Break it into weeks
- Each morning decide what from my weekly to-do list is happening that day
- I need flexibility in my schedule and to honor my energy each day so this works well for me
- I time block projects and set timers for myself. I do “Power Hours” where I turn off my wifi, put my phone in a draw and just WORK to get things done
3.) Do something to start and end your day
- You may have noticed, I am a bit woo-woo, manifesting, honoring my energy focused on my daily work. For me, it’s important to have some signal that my day has started and when it ends and I can relax.
- My routine:
- Sit at my desk with my planner and to-do list
- Light a candle to signify the start of the day (I use this money candle from a local shop)
- I spray a room mist (I really think the smell of these mists triggers my brain into productive mode)
- At the end of the day. I turn off my computer and blow out my candle. If my candle isn’t burning, it’s time to be present with my self or my family and not focused on work.
4.) Separate your work area from your living area
- If at all possible, designate a “work” area and a “life” area. For me, my desk is basically in my kitchen. My house isn’t big and I don’t have a full office. If possible, have your work area away from a TV. Avoid TV at all costs when working from home.
5.) Google hangout while working on mindless work
- If I am working on something more mindless, I sometimes find a buddy to keep my accountable. this looks like having a google hangout or zoom call happening in the background while I edit. That way we can cheer each other on and help each other stay focused on the task at hand. I also find it helpful to try and race myself which tasks like this. “I will finish editing the reception by 8:30 am” and then stay hyper-focused on that goal.
6.) If you have other people working near you do a post-it system
- If you have a partner, or roommates (I know nothing about having kids and won’t even try to play like I can give advice to parents, y’all are the real champions here and I am sending you all my love.) I recommend doing a “post-it” system to single when you are in “deep focus mode.” My wife Steph is very chatty so this is very helpful for us!
- What we do: I have three post-its that say “yes” “no” “maybe” (Also works well with green/yellow/red, we just only had one color) and it’s a signal for where I am in my focus. When I put the “no” post-it on the corner of my computer Steph knows to not interrupt me unless it’s an emergency. The “maybe” is when I am open to being interrupted and the “Yes” is when I am doing something that I can easily get back to after an interruption.
7.) If you are writing anything that you need to get done, consider turning off or disconnecting your mouse.
- When I am working on blogs, it is incredible the number of times I unconsciously reach for my mouse and somehow end up on Facebook. By disconnecting your mouse you force yourself to just keep writing. It also forces me to not worry about correcting typos knowing I can go back and fix them after I am done. This method helps me get a crappy first draft much quicker than if I have the freedom to navigate all over with my mouse.
8.) Give your self grace, disconnect from social media when you need to
- This is uncharted territory. We are all learning together. Give yourself grace as you figure out how to work from home.
That’s it. If you have a tip or a morning routine you love, leave it below!
*photo by Sara Becker*