How to Be More Productive Working at Home (Yeah, I mean you)

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Think about how much work you get done the day before you go on vacation. Now, what if every day could be that productive?
The good news is that can be your day every single work day.

Working from home, there can be a lot of distractions. The double-edged sword is that you can keep going back into your office, and you can wind up working 16+ hours a day pretty easy.
Divide up the gigs you’re actually getting paid for, and you’re making less than you think per hour. Not to mention you’re not living. You’re not spending time with your family, you’re not visiting museums, you’re not gazing out of a window, you’re not watching a horror movie, you’re not planning a picnic in the park… you get the idea. Never chain yourself to a desk. That’s working from home badly.

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It basically states,”the task at hand will expand to fill the allotted amount of time.” Think about it, what if you didn’t set an allotted amount of time? Then, as you can predict, that task will expand forever. This can include writing for clients, checking your email, Facebook, or anything.

Make this your mantra : “Any task worth doing is worth putting a deadline on.” The solution is to get organized and assign time you’re going to devote to any task, and it’s easier than you think.

Plan Your Days
I have two favorite planners I recommend to people. I like my day on paper because where I live, electricity isn’t a constant during the winter months or storms in summer. If you like everything on line, I have a solution for you below too.

One of my favorite Erin Condren creations is a life planner that literally does everything. Daily goals, schedules, remember birthdays, hold notecards – seriously everything is here. You can customize it with stickers and stuff, which a lot of people have told me they find really motivating to see their children’s (or love of their life or their dog) faces as they work.

Another good life planner is Tools4Wisdom’s Planner.
Full disclosure: That is the planner I am currently using and the link is my affiliate link that helps support this site if you buy one too! It has goal planning, priorities, it’s so much more than a date book. When you lay it open, it shows the entire week from 5:00am until 11:00pm.
For a lot of people, this is minor, but I really liked the fact it has Saturday and Sunday together. It makes planning weekend activities so much easier than having a work week between Sunday and Saturday.

Want a free online planner? I have used several and one I kept coming back to. Make a spreadsheet using Google Docs. It’s free, it’s in the cloud, and you can access it from anywhere.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Here’s a quick way to see what you want and need to accomplish.

Take a piece of paper or type it out on your screen of your favorite device and write down everything you can think of you want or need to accomplish. No thinking no order just write it down. It can include everything from health goals, work goals, ideas for new businesses, motivational goals, activities with kids-in short–everything you want to accomplish. Now take that list and prioritize it according to what you think is highest priority to lowest.

If you’re considering starting a work out regimen for yourself, when do you want to start? Do you want to do it daily? And most importantly: how much time will you devote to this task? Set an end time. If you are considering starting another business or product offering, make some notes for what you need to get it off the ground. Write down the every step you can think of that will need to be done to accomplish a goal. You can add or delete as you move forward.

Then work on doing those at your own pace every day.

Learn What Your Own Pace Is

This is a big one. Doing your best won’t be the same when you don’t feel good, your toddler has an ear infection, or it’s just one of those days the call of duty for being a good mom outweighs any amount of money you can earn working online. Just remember no schedule is written in stone, if you or your kids aren’t feeling well, plan that into your day that maybe as much work won’t be accomplished. Learning to be flexible is a huge part of working at home.

Revamp Your Schedule Until It Works for You

If you plan out a day and it’s not working for you, that schedule is failing you, and that’s okay. Just move around your schedule until you find something what works for you. It took me several schedules before I found the one that works for me. In my case, I planned too much and felt like a failure when I didn’t get everything done. I realized I get three times as much work done before my family gets up. So,I get up at 5:30 every morning and in the quiet before my youngest spawn wants breakfast, my guy wants to do the morning conversation thing, and the cats and dogs start demanding face time and food; I get a lot of things accomplished between 5:30 and 6:30, including a 30-minute workout. Consider giving up a little of that morning snooze, and see if it works for you.

Get Rid of the Time Eaters
Facebook, Skype, Reddit, your Email, Ebay, Pinterest, and other sites are major productivity killers. If you want to go peruse Pinterest, schedule a start and end time to do it. There’s no reason to check your email 20 times a day. Set a few times and stick with it. Turn off the cell phone and don’t text message, or tweet what you’re doing no matter how badly you want to.

I went through withdrawal when I started only checking my email once in the morning and once at 6pm every night. But it’s been one of the greatest things I ever did. If something is an actual emergency, my clients know to just text me and I am happy to get right back with them, otherwise, I’ll handle it in the morning.

A Great Way to Fine Tune Your Time Management

Get the free app from RescueTime, I thought I was doing good, but this little app told the truth. I was still logging 16% of my time in Social networks and 13% in my email. That’s just ridiculous and I had no idea it was translating into that much of my week. I corrected that quick, fast, and in a hurry. I found I am even more productive.

Once you get into the groove of planning your days and setting not only times to start but times to finish, you’ll be amazed at how productive your working time can be. It’s also nice to find out how much more free time you have to pursue activities that are not on a computer screen.

Remember : “Any task worth doing is worth putting a deadline on.”

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