Ok, ladies… I thought I’d share some of the habits and routines I’ve found to be helpful for anyone who currently works from home or is considering it in the future. If you work at an office, I am sure you will still find many of these useful for you. Keep in mind, I work from home with 6 children and we homeschool. So, productivity and resources are a must.
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HERE ARE 13 HABITS FOR WORK-AT-HOME PRODUCTIVITY:
1. PREPARE FOR YOUR DAY IN THE MORNING
You know I am all about routines. In our home, we all have a morning, afternoon, and evening routine. It makes things run so much smoother when everyone knows what to expect. I do my best to get dressed everyday and fix my hair and makeup. Nothing fancy, but just enough so I am not embarrassed if I have to answer the door. Your routine may look very different from mine, but set a routine that you will follow every day. Wake up at the same time, go through the same motions and prepare well.
2. SET ASIDE TIME FOR HOUSEKEEPING AND CHORES
In that same manner, make sure you have your housecleaning and chores set in your daily schedule. I know how easy it is to get distracted as a mom and forget that I put laundry in the wash. I also know that there are many times I lack energy and I just don’t want to. But, if I have a chore routine in place already, it is easier for me to just get it done. I feel better when certain chores are complete and my house runs more efficiently. Believe it or not, my children are calmer when they have certain things in order too. If you need a starting point, here is my simple Daily and Weekly Housekeeping Routine.
3. DISCONNECT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
We’ve all been there. Facebook can be a huge time sucker for the best of us. Those phone notifications can be a huge distraction. Imagine if we all tracked the amount of time we spent aimlessly scrolling on social media! I turned off almost all of my notifications on my phone and it has done wonders for my productivity. I now have a set time when I check my emails and a set time when I check into Facebook.
4. HAVE A DEDICATED WORK SPACE
I know this one can be difficult. I am blessed enough to have a home office now, but for years I worked from the kitchen table. I understand. I am not telling you that you need a separate room, but you do need a space that is dedicated for work. If this is a chair in the corner of your living room, just make it your own. It will make a world of difference, I promise. Make it clean and tidy and decorate it so it makes you happy. I do not recommend working in your bed…that space should make you feel relaxed and working in it does the opposite.
5. KEEP ESSENTIALS CLOSE BY
You know what you need when you are working. I always keep a notebook and pens near me. When something comes to mind, I write it down. Then I can go back to it later when I have the time. I also always have my water next to me – remember, we are taking care of ourselves! You may have a few other things that you know you use on a constant basis, so keep those handy.
6. POUR INTO YOUR CHILDREN FIRST
If you have children, you know how it goes. As soon as you say you are working, they need everything under the sun. This used to bother me, until I changed things up a bit. I now give my kids, especially the younger ones, some me time before I have any work time (this doesn’t include the time I am working before they get up for the day, obviously). The entire point of me working from home is so I am there with my children throughout the day. They are my first priority and they need to know it. I fill my cup, then I fill theirs, and then I am free to work.
7. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
This should go without saying, but I am telling you anyway. YOU MATTER. You can not pour from an empty cup. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, eat your veggies and get a decent night’s sleep. When you lack water, your body and mind are sluggish. When you fuel your body with proper nutrition, it can function the way it was designed. Sleep is important so you can retain information and work at peak performance.
8. LISTEN TO MUSIC
This may or may not work for you. I find I can concentrate easier when I listen to background music. I have tried listening to audiobooks while I’m working, but that is next to impossible. I have a few playlists on YouTube and Pandora that I know I can just play and I’m good to go. It depends on your taste and what kind of music you prefer, but pick some songs and make a playlist that keeps you going and help you focus.
9. SET BOUNDRIES
This is important for anyone who works at home, but especially as a parent. As I said before, it is important to make your children a priority and spend time with them. However, I also think it is important that your children know when it is your time to work. My children learn valuable lessons when they see me working at home. Set a precedent that your scheduled work time is only for working. Whether it’s letting your kids know that you are unavailable to play during that time, or letting friends and family know you won’t answer the phone during that time, it will really help to set boundaries between your personal and work life.
10. SCHEDULE AHEAD OF TIME
If you use social media for your business (as I am sure you do) then make sure you schedule as much as you can ahead of time. There are many free tools out there that you can fill up ahead of time. If you are a blogger, have plenty of draft posts that you can edit as needed and schedule to publish when you want. I try to schedule for a week at a time and then am able to post randomly when inspiration strikes.
This can be hard for those of us that are Type A personalities. It can be hard for any of us! But if you find you are lacking in an area, it may be time to get some help. Are there tasks you can hire out? Can you get some guest posts on your website to free up some of your time? If there someone close to you that could come over and help with the kids for a few hours a week? Could you hire a housekeeper a couple times a month? It is likely worth the time it takes to find someone trustworthy and competent to do those small tasks that aren’t a good use of your time. You know where those areas are.
You want to work from home for the freedom and flexibility, right? Don’t let it consume your life and do the opposite. Take breaks when you need to and put your work away when it’s time. Do not compromise sleep for work and make sure your family remains number one.
13. MAKE STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS
As a WAHM we are pressed for time. We don’t have a million hours to work on tedious projects or scour the internet for days trying to figure out how to fix the latest problems in our biz. I’m about as thrifty as they come, but I finally had to break down and switch from only free tools to a few paid ones. As soon as I did my business started to take off. My first investment was a small one, but one I still consider instrumental: Boardbooster. I can set up my pins and pretty much forget about them. It takes me only a few minutes each week. Another tool I use is Trello…and if you haven’t heard of it…you are welcome! Trello has revolutionized how I live and work. Sounds dramatic, but check it out for yourself!