Why am I sharing my top work from home tips to stay productive? Well, the excitement of working from home has probably worn off by now. You might be feeling overwhelmed, which increases if you’re teaching your children, attempting to complete work, keep everyone fed, and run a household all at once. Throw in Zoom meetings, a few 3p.m. happy hours, and trying to find peace and quiet, and you’ve got a cocktail full of stress.
Honest talk—working from home is not as glamorous as you might think. Over the last few years, I have learned how to be productive working from home. This has come in handy, especially now, with a pre-schooler at home, running multiple businesses, cooking dinners, and finding time for self-care.
Read on to learn the tried-and-true ways that I stay productive while working from home. These easy-to-implement work from home tips will help you get that pep back in your step so that you can spend quality time with your family and taking care of number one, while still crushing your work life!
Work from Home Tip #1: Hello Morning Routine
A morning routine is easy to overlook but I promise you, it’ll make a major difference in how you feel during the day. This can be a simple thing to implement but if you aren’t a morning person, it might take a few weeks to adjust. This is what my morning routine looks like:
Morning devotional and journaling
Drink a hot cup of coffee
Read 15 pages in a book
Move my body
Get dressed and ready
All of this is done without touching my cell phone.
Work from Home Tip #2: Pick your Top 3
This is my favorite way to set my day up for success, plus feel accomplished at the end of the day. Start off by writing the TOP 3 things that you need to get done that will either move the needle forward in your business, generate income, or stay on top of client work. This doesn’t mean answering your emails, posting on social media, or doing mindless tasks. It could be sending invoices, calling clients, or wrapping up that project.
These are important tasks that need to happen. Once you’ve listen them, make sure to complete one of them before noon! These tasks will typically be the most time-consuming, so it’s best to tackle them when you have the most energy. You will feel like a rockstar once you’ve accomplished them!
Work from Home Tip #3: Create a Designated Work Space
Honest talk—I did not have a designated workspace for over 2 years. I worked at the kitchen counter, dining room table, or the couch. I was not productive and would struggle with focus because my attention would be pulled to do dishes, start laundry, or waste time on other tasks. You may not have the luxury of a home office but you can create a dedicated work space within your home. Find a spot, clear the cutter, and create a space that is just your own to get work done.
A little trick—bring what you need to work to your designated space. That could mean a notebook, coffee, water, headphones, snacks. This is also when I use my Focus timer app to give myself focused work time with timed breaks. To read more on the apps I utilize to stay productive click here.
Work from Home Tip #4: Set Boundaries for Email
I used to think it was the most important thing to be in my email. Then I realized that email is the biggest time suck that makes you feel productive, but in fact is the exact opposite. Spending too much time in your inbox during the day puts you in reaction mode instead of being proactive.
It’s important to get back to people, especially when you are working from home. I set times during the day with timers for how long I’m in my email. For example, I check in on my email at 9am and give myself 20 minutes. This is enough time to flag what needs to be responded to and pick the top 3 emails that need a response right away (do you see a top 3 theme here?). Then I go back in at 3pm to review emails for another 30 minutes. This way I’m responding to the people that have urgent issues and questions, but on a time that I’ve set. I also categorize my emails to know what I can work on when my energy is low and flag accordingly.
Quick tip—take email off your phone or at least the notifications! This way you aren’t getting distracted by the “dings” or the red numbers that will automatically make you feel stressed.
Work from Home Tip #5: Create a Schedule.
Ok, here’s the deal. My need for control can get a bit overwhelming at times but creating a schedule for myself and my daughter is a game changer in my productivity. Not only do I know when I get to take breaks, but my daughter knows what is happening day-to-day which means fewer meltdowns. Win-win right?
There is room for flexibility but I typically get up at the same time, and take a break at 10am and spend 30 minutes with my daughter. Lunch is at noon, then we tackle school. I head back to work while she plays independently from 3-4:30pm. A bit of screen time for her while I make dinner. Then after she goes to bed, I wrap up any work that needed to get done by 9pm and get an hour of relax time before I rest my eyes.
“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and schedule to get things done.” – Peter Turla
Having a schedule helps everyone in the house feel in control of their environment and also brings a sense of normalcy to a very uncertain time. It might take a few weeks to adjust but I promise it’ll help your day run smoothly and make you feel like the productive business owner you are when you go to bed at night!
Work from Home Bonus Tip #6: Remember Grace
Grace. I have a love-hate relationship with this term. This is one of my bonus work from home tips that I have to remind myself of daily. Give myself some Grace. This might just be the most important thing to remember.
You might be used to working from home or this is a whole new thing for you. There isn’t a certain structure you have to follow. You might be new to teaching your children school. You don’t have specific rules to follow but you want to feel good at the end of the day. Some days might not go as planned and that is ok.
Your productivity does not define you. It’ll help you to move the needle forward in your business but the world will not end if a few days go awry. Make sure to give yourself grace, have a basic schedule, a place to work and be intentional with the use of your time. Let these work from home tips help you along and make them work for you! You’ve got this, friend!
Rohana Olson Photography is a Minneapolis and destination wedding and portraits photographer.
I believe in creating imagery that transports you back to that moment in time where you’re reminded of the love that surrounded you on your wedding day.
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Fueled by equal parts strong coffee and French 75’s, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that convey distinctive emotion through intentional moments and create elevated images you’ll treasure for a lifetime. I showcase your story and your love in an exceptional, gracious way. I believe in real moments, heartfelt conversations, love stories that grow stronger through the storms and the kind of joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. When I'm not tearing up during the vows, you'll find me whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen dancing to Sinatra with my husband, or snuggling with my mini me.
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