It is a little ironic that I’m offering productivity advice as I’m a huge procrastinator that is constantly guilty of wasting time and being easily distracted.
But who wants to take advice from people that have it all together? My thought is that if this can help me, it can help anyone!
As I’ve mentioned (a few times), I’ve recently made the move to become a part-time freelancer and I LOVE it. I’m being challenged to get out of my comfort zone and I am okay with that. Every day brings new opportunities to be creative and learn something new and it’s be a great experience so far!
Working from home has so many positives.
One may assume what working from home looks like… and you’d probably be right.
My mornings are more relaxed.
I can wear the same clothes 3 days in a row and no one’s judging- except maybe my neighbors who see me walking our pups in the same clothes 3 days in a row.
I don’t have to worry about a crazy commute or getting stuck in traffic for an hour on my way home.
That being said, I’ve learned that having some structure is good for me if I want to be have a truly productive day.
Whether you work from home, have a typical 9-5 job or something completely different- it doesn’t matter! I think you’ll still find that at least a couple of these tips can be applied to whatever your situation may be.
Have set start/end times.
When it comes to working, I have the habit of doing one of two things:
I find myself working non-stop, answering emails at all hours of the night, never really turning my “work-brain” off. Then I burn out.
I am the laziest person I know, rotating between scrolling social media on my phone and watching tv all day, usually leaving a body-size imprint on my couch. Nothing productive gets done.
So every day, I have a designated start and end time. While, there are days I may start later than planned and more often than not, I find myself busy in the evening doing something work-related, I’m so much better at turning it “off” and focusing on the moment.
Another little tip? I highly recommend focusing on your to-do list and leaving any house tasks for after hours. When I first started working from home, I really did think I’d be able to finish laundry, clean the apartment, prep meals, grocery shop, etc during the day in addition to getting my freelance work done. I was wrong.
I consider myself a pretty good multi-tasker, but I found that switching back and forth to be a challenge. It felt like I was never able to get 100% to any task that I did.
So now, I may throw in a load in the morning and switch it to the dryer at lunch, but I really try to treat my days as if I was at a real office where it wouldn’t be possible to shampoo the carpets in between emails or fold laundry while on a conference call.
Get “ready” for the day.
If I’m being honest, I had this idea that I’d be sitting in bed with my laptop and coffee and just getting all the things done and done. I’ve since learned that dream is not realistic, at least not for me.
For me, this means that I must:
- Put on a bra. (yep, it’s true.)
- Wear contacts. (wearing my glasses while using a computer gives me a headache.)
- Brush teeth. (because ewww.)
- Change out of my pajamas – most of the time just into sweatpants and t-shirt. (because stretchy waistbands are always a better idea.)
- Eat breakfast/drink coffee. (It really does get your brain jumpstarted!)
- Sit in my home office as opposed to my bed or sofa. (Working in bed or on my sofa tempts me to turn the tv on and I have no self-control.)
I realize that this may be unique to me as many people say the best part of working from home is that you don’t have to leave your bed and maybe one day, I’ll reach their level but as of now, these steps are a must to ensure I don’t find myself in an endless day of Bravo marathons.
By getting “ready” for the day, I change my mindset which really does help me be more productive.
Make a game plan.
It’s no secret: I love a to-do list.
It is a great way to stay on task and make sure things get done.
Every morning, I take a few minutes to write out a checklist. As my day progresses, if something comes up that I need to do, I add it to my list. If I don’t do this, I have the tendency to pivot from one thing to another without taking time to finish anything.
Making a list helps to visualize everything that needs to get done and prioritize it as best as possible. Whether you handwrite your list or use a digital version, it’s a great way to start your day!
Change up locations.
Recently Bob and I turned our guest bedroom into a home office and I love it.
It’s light and airy and so comfy. It’s really been a great place to settle in and get work done.
That being said, when I’m having a bit of a creativity slump, I head down to a local coffee shop, grab an iced coffee, find a comfy spot (hopefully with a plug nearby) and get to work!
Even despite the inevitable time I spend people-watching, I am still able to cross my to-do list off and go home knowing the day was well-spent.
I’m not sure if the change of scenery, being around different people and their energy, or simply leaving the house is what makes the difference- whatever it is, it works every time!
Celebrate your milestones, big & small.
Working for yourself can be tough. It can feel like you are in it alone because well…. you are.
It is so important to see the value in the work you are doing and celebrate your successes, whether they are big or small.
Did you set a weekly goal and reached it? That’s awesome!
Did you have an idea that you are finally seeing coming to fruition? Fantastic!
Did you cross off everything on your to-do list today? Great job!
It’s okay to be your best cheerleader! If you don’t value the work you do and celebrate your successes, no one else will.
I hope you are able to take at least one or two of these tips and apply them to your life! If you do and find it to be successful, I’d love to hear about it!
Are you an experienced free-lancer/self-employed individual? What would be on your Top 5 list of Tips for Productivity? Are you new to this all but have found something that is working? What is it? Comment below and let me know!