Here we are – in a new “normal” where a lot of us are home…all. the. time. And after the newness wears off a bit, what does your daily grind look like?
I’ve worked from home for about 4 & 1/2 years now and thought it’d be good to share a few tips for being more productive when you’re at home & with kids around, yet you still have things you need to accomplish.
Feeling a little unmotivated? Here are some tips I use to keep myself going in the right direction, and it’s amazing how much it helps my mental state when I actually get things done. Who’s with me?
1 // Revamp your TO DO List
You can’t just make a long list of to-do’s and actually be productive at the same time. When the list is too long, you’re setting yourself up for failure, you’re not prioritizing certain tasks and you’re not being strategic about your day.
So…here is what you SHOULD do to revamp that to-do list.
- Assign a MAX of 3 most important tasks for the day
- Tackle these most important tasks early on in your day
- (most important might = most dreaded depending on the day haha)
- Put like items together on the list
- Time chunk your day
- This way you don’t get lost in one particular task for too long and sabotage your entire list you worked so hard making
- Focus on the task at hand and break it down to tangible to-do’s
- ie. Don’t just put “Build new website” on the list – but break that down into actual to-do’s like… “Update menu bar” & “Build xyx widget”
I also find that actually writing my to-do list keeps me more focused when referring to it. When my to-do list is on my phone, I’ll pick up my phone to check the list….and then a notification comes through and I’m like – “oh I’ll check that really quick”…and then another notification pops up and I’ll think – “oh I’ll just respond to that DM quick” and then I’ll all of sudden remember that I need to sign up for my next Row House class in the app so I’ll do that, and then a calendar update comes through and I check my schedule to see if I can fit it in…and then a pop-up about an invoice being paid comes through – YES! Let me check what bills I was planning to pay with that. And the list goes on and on.
EVERYTHING is on our phones – which means it’s a tool that can easily distract us when we truly need to focus. So I’ve found that “housing” my to-do list on a physical piece of paper (or in my planner) is SO much better for this very reason, that way when I’m referring back to it, I don’t get distracted with all the other “tasks” that I do on my phone.
2 // Get your new morning routine down
The morning can set the tone for the day so it’s good to use this time wisely. Don’t get me wrong – I love a leisurely morning with no rush or hustle in sight and staying in, but it just can’t happen all the time. Being at home all the time though – it’s SOOOO tempting to stay in pj’s, pour another cup of coffee and wait another 10 minutes to get in gear.
So whatever works best for you and your family to get a good routine down for the morning can really benefit you all for the rest of the day. Hone in on your family’s needs and set the stage for how a typical morning will go for you all – and maybe even make a visual for the family to refer to while you’re learning your new normal so it’s clear. Structure helps – even if it’s a very loose guideline.
3 // Find a clutter-free zone to work in
This may not be possible all the time – heck…it isn’t for me! I DREAM of the day when I can have an actual home office.
Right now, I have a tiny desk in a very, very small loft area in my upstairs hallway. Or I work in my bed a lot. And when I finally actually get some time to work (during Lo’s nap and after I’ve set Avalon up doing some sort of activity…with a snack and a drink, and a blanket, and whatever toy she wants to have next to her, and made sure she went potty, and answered about a million other questions she has for me…haha) – the house is typically a MESS because we’ve been playing in it all morning, having breakfast, having snacks, having lunch (each of which means mess, mess and more mess) – and while I try my best to clean as I go…it doesn’t always happen. So when the time comes to hopefully get some work done in the afternoon – it comes at the expense of not cleaning up so there is clutter everywhere. I have a limited chunk of time so I always have to choose – tidy up the house or work.
So all that to say – having a dedicated area to work in that remains clutter free is ideal. That way you aren’t stressed out or feeling pulled away from work by seeing your daily chores pile up in front of you.
4 // Stop working at a specific time of day
When you work in an office, it’s easier to stop work at a specific time because you have to head home. But when you work at home, it’s pretty easy to just keep working…
So set some boundaries for yourself and still end your day at a specific time. Turn off work and do something that makes you happy. Maybe even set an intention at the beginning of the day – I have “x” to look forward to at “x” time so that you’ll stop working.
Even if you have to log back on later in the evening – time block a specific time to end work every day to spend time with your family, don’t check your messages during this time…and then dedicate another specific time later in the evening to check back in if you need to.
And remember – work/life integration is the goal. Interweave your work life and personal life together in a way that fits your life. So maybe that break is more in the middle of the day for you. Whatever it may be…just build it in and give yourself time away from work.
5 // Spark Inspiration
If you start to feel unmotivated and the couch is calling your name – maybe lean into something that will get you excited again. Listen to a podcast, a TED Talk, or read my blog 😉 Anything that gets you feeling confident and inspired. It’s hard to stay on the right path when you’ve lost motivation. So finding resources that help you out is a great thing to rely on.
BONUS TIP // Get Outside
We are all spending A LOT more time isolated from one another – so getting outside is MORE important than ever right now. So go on a mid-day walk or a couple walks. Or sit on your porch/patio for a bit. Read this post about how getting outside is so important! It’s so good for the mind. 🙂
What are other ways you stay productive when you are home all day? Please share!