No need to beat around the bush, these tips are meant to reduce the procrastination and distractions, after all, so let’s get straight into them.
Habits are one of the easiest ways to grow and improve at something. By setting out and building habits, you’re preparing your body and mind for the tasks ahead. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable, confident and efficient when you get started with whatever work or tasks you have set out for yourself.
One way to get started building habits is to set daily goals. If you want to build a writing habit, for example, set out a daily goal of writing 500, 1000, or 2000 words per day. You’ll see your writing improve, you won’t struggle as much to get started and you’ll be finished a lot sooner.
They say that it takes 66 days for an action to develop into a habit. That’s an average, so it may take you less time, or a little longer. No problem, turn your daily activities into habits, even if it takes longer than 66 days, you’ll still notice growth within that period.
Get up and get dressed
This may seem irrelevant, how could your clothing affect your work at home?
Well, this has to do with your mindset and being in the right one.
By preparing as if it was a normal day and getting dressed and prepared for work, your body will latch onto the now natural habit you’ve built up throughout your childhood or during your work life, that of getting dressed and heading to school, college or work.
This will make it easier to switch into work mode. Naturally, you should then start working or tackling tasks. 😉
Do not touch your emails or laptop whilst in bed
I know it may be tempting to have a quick glimpse at your emails whilst you’re still in bed, or to just pop your laptop open and check out what’s happening on social media or YouTube.
Do not do it though. It’s a trap! OK, it may not be a trap, but it can feel like that sometimes when you catch a glimpse of the time and notice an hour or two has already past and all you’ve done is like a few very adorable animals on Instagram and read through some un-work-related emails.
Once you’re up and ready to get started, check out your emails and grab the pc, but still stay away from social networks until you’ve gotten the bulk of your work done.
[callout]Let your family and friends know you’re working[/callout]
A lot of the time when you are working from home, family, and friends may not quite take your work as seriously as they would if you were working a regular 9 to 5. By this, I mean that they may think you’re infinitely flexible to go out and grab a coffee at 11 am. Or you can go pick up an order or help them move something as you’re not technically needed somewhere.
This can destroy your productivity, especially as most of these events tend to happen right in the middle of the day when you may be entering your flow and getting the bulk of your work done.
For this reason, you need to set boundaries. Let your loved ones know that whilst you may be home, you’re still working and need to concentrate on your work and you can talk, hang out, grab a coffee, etc. after work.
This can be extra difficult when you’re just starting out with your new business as you may face the standard responses of why you’re not working a normal job. This is, after all, the period when you need to invest some of the most time into your business to grow it fast. Express this need clearly and you shouldn’t have this problem anymore.
P.s. You are also allowed to say no. 😉
Create a workspace
A workspace goes hand in hand with creating good working habits.
This is a space that stimulates your workflow and is clear from distractions that may hinder you.
Depending on your work, this could be an organized desk in a quiet room with a comfortable chair. Or a backpack filled with hiking and camera gear. Or even your very own video set where all you need to do is hit the record button to get started.
An ideal workspace is one that doesn’t require any assembly or extra work to get started. Once you introduce additional obstacles to get started, the higher the likelihood is that procrastination will sneak its way into your workday.
Create a content schedule
What I mean by this is to create a daily plan for what tasks and ideas you plan on accomplishing.
For example, you may have ideas on creating 2 new products, a course, 10 blog post ideas and that’s without even considering your social media activities. There’s no way that you’ll get all of this done in one go and even if you could, it will overflow your customers, readers, subscribers, etc. to a point where the majority of your content will be missed and all that work will seem wasted.
A content schedule will allow you to space out your tasks more efficiently for your audience to consume it in a more controlled manner for maximum effect.
Productivity is not just about how much YOU can get done; it also depends on how much THEY can consume.
Plan out a content schedule based on your business and audience and stick to it.
Plan off days
If you want to avoid overworking yourself and burning out, you’re going to need to take time off.
Plan to take days off, this can help you not only recuperate and restart rejuvenated but if you’re like me, you may also have a final push of energy the day prior to getting some extra work done. 😉
Chill out at home, go on a trip, relax with the family or do some more energy-draining activities like mountain biking, hiking, etc. Just keep your mind off of work.
The whole point of an off day is for your mind to get a little rest and think about other things.
(This should go without saying, but don’t look at work emails…)
Tackle larger tasks first
The Pareto Principle (A.k.a. 80/20 rule) states that in many cases, 80% of the effects originate from 20% of the causes.
This principle is used often in project management and for entrepreneurs. This revolves around the power hours of the day, your peak working hours. Let’s face it, you can’t function at 100% from 8 am till 5 pm, it’s just not feasible, and it wouldn’t be very healthy.
Now, this is the time when you’ll tackle your larger most important tasks, the 20% that will bring 80% of your results. Here you’ll use your most brainpower and crank out your most productive work.
This section may be titled to tackle the larger tasks first, but take that as more of a generalization. Most people are more productive in the morning and therefore, it makes sense to tackle the larger tasks first. If you’re like me, however, someone whose power hours come a little bit later in the day, then go ahead and tackle those larger tasks when your peak working hours come into play.
Quite an accurate way of finding your peak working hours is to understand your body’s circadian rhythm. The 24-hour cycle of physiological processes that occur within living organisms. I recommend reading up on sleep chronotypes and in particular, The Power of When by Dr. Michael Breus.
Take note of small tasks
Make a note of smaller tasks that can be accomplished within 5 minutes or less. These tasks are usually simple and don’t require much creative thinking or problem solving and can be carried out whenever a free 5 minutes shows itself throughout your day.
Tasks like posting to social media, answering emails, replying to comments, sending an invoice, etc. These can all be accomplished whilst you’re waiting for a meal to finish cooking in the oven, or whilst your waiting for a bus, train, etc.Productivity is not just about how much YOU can get done; it also depends on how much THEY can consume.Click to Tweet
[callout]Leave your home[/callout]
Speaking of buses, trains, etc. Sometimes the best way to be more productive whilst working from home is to not be at home at all.
What I mean by this is, you may be experiencing a dearth of ideas and by entering a new area, space or location, your mind can clear up and new ideas can flow.
This is a good way to minimize writer’s block and a great way to get you out of your usual location and around some actual human beings. 😉
If your workspace at home is not very inductive of your work, then getting out into a more inductive space, like a park or a coffee shop, can really help boost your productivity.
Take breaks and go outside
Breaks are an important part of the working processes, it may seem counter-intuitive to increase your productivity, but by taking breaks, you’re allowing ideas to settle, your brain to rest up and to catch a breath before pushing on again.
By going outside and taking a short walk, you’ll absorb some sunlight, get your blood flowing, and enjoy some fresh air.
We have a pair of energetic dogs, so we tend to take quite a few enforced breaks if you know what I mean. 😉
To increase productivity = get a dog. 😝
Now we can’t always be online or active in our businesses, but many platforms, audiences, etc. expect and almost require an almost permanent presence for the best results.
As I’ve mentioned already, constantly working is not feasible, regardless of how fun and exciting it may be, you do need to sleep and rest after all.
This is where schedulers come in. Schedulers allow your profiles to be active without actually being active or online at that exact moment.
There are tons of great and useful schedulers out there, with many that can help increase your productivity and grow your business, social presence, etc.
Some of the simplest that you may already be using can be automated emails, letting your customers know when they can expect a response or even social media scheduling tools like Tailwind.
I recommend Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram; I use it to plan out and schedule a months’ worth of content in just a day.
You can start a free trial and pin your first 100 pins or 30 Instagram posts for free. Find out more about Tailwind here.
Additional schedulers can be found built right into platforms like Facebook, allowing you to automatically message potential customers, or on YouTube where you can schedule when your videos should go public.