Staying on task while working from home can be a real challenge. There are SO many distractions within the walls of your own home. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, children, refrigerator (snacks, ahem), Netflix, Facebook – you get it!
Working from home is a beautiful thing, but it can get ugly fast if you do not have a system for staying productive.
For many years, I essentially worked two jobs. First, waitress and nurse. Then, nurse and school. Finally, business owner and nurse. I KNOW the pain of trying to get things done when you have so many items on your “to-do” list. Or maybe you’re distracted by the thought of curling up on the couch with a good book.
I also know how important my productivity is to my success and still having quality time to dedicate to my family and personal life. Time is a VERY valuable resource for any business owner.
Create a system for staying productive so that you can model and teach your others how to do the same (ahem, your kiddos some day.)
We live in a world of technology and it is a wonderful tool that helps us to achieve more and reach our goals. However, technology can also be a big time wasting black hole if we let it. Use these seven action steps to boost your productivity as a work from home mom. Make this the year you get stuff done!
WRITE OUT YOUR SCHEDULE
There is absolute magic in writing things down. No really, there is! The NUMBER ONE thing that is stopping your productivity is not having a game plan. How can you accomplish anything in a day if you don’t know what you are supposed to be doing?
- Determine what planning system you prefer to use and stick with it (digital or analog)
- Outline your yearly schedule – block off any major events/holidays
- Outline your monthly schedule – be sure to include work and all activities, parties, extracurriculars, etc.
- Create a rotating cleaning schedule
- Weekly: Mondays – bedrooms, Tuesdays – bathrooms, Wednesdays – sweep/mop, Thursdays – dust, Fridays – outdoor clean up
- Identify your top 3 tasks for each day – business, personal, & home
- Block schedule for daily scheduling or theme schedule for weekly scheduling
- Schedule personal/family time
DO A NIGHTLY CLEAN-UP
I am a morning person – always have been, always will be.
The reason I LOVE mornings is because it is a fresh start to a new day. Whether I spend my morning in work, self-care, or personal growth. It is my mommy time for some peace, quiet and a good cup of coffee. I know that by starting my morning on a positive note, my day will flow better.
On the flip side, I also know what my day looks like when I go to bed without preparing for my morning. Safe to say, it’s not quite as pretty! While a nightly clean-up doesn’t always happen in this house, it is definitely on my goals list for this year because I have seen the positive impact it has on my productivity.
- Start preparing for dinner first thing in the morning – set out meats to thaw, etc.
- Clean up the kitchen as you cook
- Enlist the help of your kids/spouse while cooking/cleaning counters/loading the dishwasher
- Have kids put away toys
- Do a walk through of each room and put away items that belong in that room
WAKE UP EARLY
There IS something to waking up early and let’s face it – as a mom it’s usually a must.
I understand if your schedule or your kiddos don’t allow for this in your life right now (I’ve worked night shift and I’ve raised a newborn, I understand!) That’s OK, that’s just the season you’re in,
However, if you can wake up early, my perspective is that it typically helps you get in the right mindset for having a productive day. Mornings are a time to care for yourself, get your attitude and mind right, take care of any to-do’s to help you have a successful day. So get up, get ready, show up, and be prepared for a productive and successful day.
- Make a plan for what you want to accomplish BEFORE your kids wake up
- Example: Devotional, workout, breakfast, shower, get ready
- Determine exactly how much time you will need for each task
- Set your alarm early enough to accomplish all of these tasks before your day officially begins
- Set ONE alarm and wake up the first time
- PS – Move your alarm to an area where you have to get out of bed to turn it off
- Be realistic with your plan and acknowledge the season you’re in
- If you need it, ask for HELP
DESIGNATE YOUR WORK SPACE
I started my business at my previously well, loved kitchen table. So girl, you’ll get no sympathy from me when it comes to the “finding a place to work struggle!”
Because my business was brand new, I didn’t have the funds to invest in a big, comfy office. However, I had a great views out of our dining rooms windows, and I was removed from the distraction of television. It was a perfect place to start my little side hustle, that is now my full time job.
And that same full-time job has allowed me to create a beautiful, new office space within my home. Every morning, I clear off my desk before starting my day and try to keep my office as distraction free as possible. I also accomplish any tasks early in the day that require me to use anything located in my office. After that, I do have another favorite spot that I love to sit and work, while enjoying my wind chimes and a breeze, my front porch!
- Designate a distraction free area of your home as your work space
- Take one day and organize your space to create a productive work environment
- Set-up binders/folders/filing cabinets as needed
- Organize your computer to easily access all business files and websites
- Include cleaning this work area as part of your weekly schedule (don’t forget to write it down!)
I want you to write what you’re currently doing on your t0-do list. Reading a blog post. Now, directly overtop of that line, I want you to also write, responding to an e-mail. Looks like a jumbled up mess, right? That’s your brain while multi-tasking.
We are NOT meant to multi-task. As soon as you read this, come back to this section and write the mantra below on paper, and put it somewhere you’ll see every morning!
“I was not created to multi-task. I was created to work on one task at a time. I was created to be productive, to reach my goals, and to be an effective and efficient business owner. This is my promise to myself to stop multi-tasking.”
If you think I’m joking I’m not. If I could call you up every day and make sure you are saying that mantra to yourself I would. Stop hurting yourself, your personal life and your business by multi-tasking. It’s the sad, sad story of “busyness” in our current society and we can make it stop.
Distractions and multi-tasking go hand in hand. We have social media at our finger tips, our best friend is only a text message away, and binge watching Netflix is as normal today as going outside for a walk.
Over the past two years, I have stopped watching any and all TV during day time hours. It is absolutely the BEST decision I have ever made for myself and my business.
TV, internet and social media are three of the biggest distractors while working from home. And unfortunately, if this is the the normal in your daily routine, it may be a difficult habit to break. When you live and work in an isolated environment, we learn to provide socialization by creating “noise” rather than actually socializing. Technology is the quickest and most effective way to create some noise.
- Turn off wi-fi during your designated personal/family/cleaning time
- During business time, open ONE internet browser at a time
- Sign out of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as a reminder not to use those sites while working
- Work only in your designated work space, away from the TV and any other distractors
- Turn your phone to vibrate
- Schedule social events/activities outside of work hours to break up the isolation
If you need it, this is your final pep talk to remind you that YOU are an incredible business owner. You have goals and dreams that you can and will accomplish. People are waiting for you to just do the dang thing and help them out with their problems, and you have the solution! But now, it’s time to help yourself, and start creating productive days. It’s time to stop the excuses, the distractions, and start taking action! Now go do BIG things!