I’ve been working from home for seven years.
I don’t know how that’s even possible. Seriously. Didn’t I just quit my 9-to-5 yesterday?
I suppose time flies when you’re having fun! I’ve certainly had my ups and downs in those seven years, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I’ve learned a lot about working from home and being my own boss, and I want to share with you the top seven things I’ve learned over the past seven years. Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or already have your own business and need some pointers, I got you covered!
Find your most productive time
This should be one of the first things you do when starting your own business, but it’s important to do even if you work a “regular” job. We all have times during the day where we’re most alert and productive. The next time you’re working, take stock of how you feel during different parts of the day. Are you ready to rock at 9am but hit a 3pm slump? Or maybe you’d rather work at 7pm and sleep in? Find your peak time and do your most important tasks during that time frame.
Design a routine and STICK TO IT
Having a routine is HUGE, especially when you’re your own boss. It helps hold yourself accountable and actually get things done. After you’ve found your peak productivity time, create a routine around it and incorporate your must-haves. Be sure to create a specific start and end time so you’re not working yourself to death. (If you wanted to do that, you’d stay in your 9-to-5…or 9-to-8 😉)
Create an ideal environment/dedicated workspace for working from home
Your workspace doesn’t have to be huge or fancy — just functional. Having a certain space in your house to do your work greatly helps with separating your work time and your personal time. Keep your space free of clutter with all your essentials: computer, pen, paper, references, and anything that sparks joy (like photos or candles).
Bonus: One of the key principles in organizing is that everything has a place. Keep extra pens and paper, your laptop power cord, headphones, snacks, and everything you need in a particular spot and within easy reach.
Remove distractions as much as possible
I know, I know. This can be super hard, especially if you have kids in the house. But take it from me that eliminating as many distractions as possible can only help your productivity. Close all those extra tabs, turn off notifications, remove your phone from the room, and close down your email. Keep a pad of paper and pen handy so you can jot down random thoughts quickly and then continue working. Don’t forget those other distractions too…go to the bathroom and have snacks and water on hand.
Clean your house BEFORE you start working
This one might not be as common of a tip, but it’s a BIG one for me. Maybe it is for you too! If I know the dishes are piled up, there are two baskets of laundry that need to be folded, and the kitchen counters are full of crumbs, I’m not going to be able to focus on work. So I take ten minutes before I start working and get all the housework done I need to in order to stay focused. If it can be done in less than ten minutes, I just do it. I know I’ll waste far more brain energy and focus if I don’t clean up.
Create a to-do list system
The most important thing is to use a system that you like and works for you. I LOVE me some Trello, but I also use good ol’ fashioned pen and paper and sticky notes. Try different systems until you land on one you like. And remember, you can always change it up in the future.
Implement time blocking
Time blocking is something I’ve recently implemented in the last year, and WHOA has it been a game changer. Take that to-do list we just talked about and choose the top three things you need to do today to drive your business forward. Now go to your calendar and block out exactly when you’re going to work on those things. You’ll be amazed at how much more focused you are and how much faster you can get stuff done! You can take it one step further and use the Pomodoro Technique in conjunction with time blocking.
There you have it! These seven tips will help you stay focused and productive while working from home.