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Six Tips to Stay Productive When You Work From Home

I was chatting with Sarah over on IG the other day, and she brought up a GREAT point. She mentioned how important it was to her to find discipline, specifically with her schedule, and how to make sure you’re staying efficient in your work day from home.

It can be hard to be productive throughout the day, especially with kids and husbands at home! My husband talks to me all.day.long (while I just ignore him). 😉

We want to be there for our families, but in reality, it’s a huge distraction from work. 

So, how can you maximize your free time and stay productive during your work day? Here are six tips to help …

1) Break up your time, and calendar block based on your client needs for the week

This is one of the main reasons why I recommend signing up clients on a retainer basis (meaning they buy a package of hours from you each month, and that number stays the same from month to month)

Because then you can break down your weeks according to your monthly client hours and really plan ahead.

What I do is take the amount of hours that I need to work per week for each client, and break it down. For my clients who need more immediate attention from me, I give them a couple of blocks throughout the day. For clients that I know are okay with me just doing my thing on my own time, I schedule them in where I can.

I also love to use color blocking so I have a quick visual guide of my day. Here is an example (removed client’s names for confidentiality):

As you can see, I block off my time and schedule things out based on when I think I will want to work on them, or when I need to have things done. If I take time off during the work day, I schedule in to make up the time on another day (like the Saturday block from taking time off for an appointment on Thursday). I color code my tasks by client, anything personal (blue), and meetings (orange).

Now, this doesn’t mean that I 100% stick to this, but I do try to as much as possible. But of course, things come up and sometimes I have to move things around, but that’s why I put in a free block for an hour at the end of each day. This way, I can stay pretty structured, but still have that open time to work on or finish up any important work for each day, and I can choose whatever I want to work on during that time.

And of course, if I get done with projects early in a client block, I can just move on to the next client block and knock out my to-do list faster. That’s totally fine, too!

2) Choose the most important items to work on first

During each work block, I start with the most urgent tasks. I also try to strategically set my blocks based on the clients with the most urgent tasks happening earlier in the day.

Anything that is time sensitive, urgent in the client’s eyes, or anything that I need to have prepared before a client meeting always gets done first.

3) Choose the items that need you to be the most clear headed, for when you know you will be alone

If I’m doing research, it’s probably not as important if someone is talking to me or if I’m getting up to do something in between looking at things online. However, if I’m working on a copywriting project, I know I really need to sit down, be focused, and be able to get into a creative state, and for that, I need quiet and no distractions.

Plan your days around when you know you will have more “free” time for the projects that need your full focus. This way, you can knock out those projects with quality. Then, it’s not as big of a deal if you’re working on the easier tasks on your list while you’re going back and forth from your laptop and taking care of your family, or whatever it is that’s pulling your attention away.

I also love having routines that help me to feel grounded and on track, like my morning email and coffee time where I don’t feel rushed, and go through my email inbox, my to-do list, and set the tone for my day. Having a morning routine can help you to start your day clear headed and ready to work.

4) ALWAYS use your project manager – for everything

This is ultra important! As soon as you get any task, no matter how small it is, put it in your project manager and assign it to yourself (or whoever is responsible) with a due date. I recommend Asana.

This really allows you to free up your mind, knowing that you’re not missing anything throughout your work day … and that will feel like a huge relief. You can even put your personal tasks in there, too.

This way, when you start your client block, you can simply go through your list of items and immediately start working through it. You don’t have to worry about what you need to be doing, or stress over if you’re working on the right tasks.

5) Take breaks – and step away in ultra stressful moments

Having breaks on your calendar is important because then you can tell your family when you can do X with them – or you can schedule your breaks around times where you know you will need to step away, like if you pick up your kids from school every day.

And if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or are working on a difficult project, it’s okay to step away for a few minutes when needed. Even if it’s just to breathe and take a moment to clear your mind, it’s important that you take care of yourself at a high level. Your productivity will stay higher when you feel calm.

Unplugging and stopping work is also so important. I know so well that it’s easy to just stay glued to your laptop and phone nonstop. Make sure you take time for you and have dedicated time for those you love, so you have that quality time too.

6) Do your best to minimize distractions as much as you can

Shut down Facebook, turn off the TV, and try to be in a quiet space for important projects. The more you minimize distractions, the more you will be able to get done and concentrate on your work. Sometimes we can’t help the distractions we deal with daily, but a lot of times, we can.

If you can get more done in the time that you do have more control over your enviorment, the times where your kids need your attention at 4 pm won’t be such a big deal, because you’ve already got a lot of good work in.

I hope this helps!

Have questions about how you can stay productive working from home? Post your question below! 

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