Guest post by Nikki Stephens from Mommy My Way
Working from home can be a pretty sweet setup: you wear whatever you want, sleep in more than usual, don’t have to fight traffic to the office, and if you’re a parent, even save a little on daycare costs. What’s not to love?! Well, if you aren’t disciplined, you run the risk of being unproductive. The laundry, the television, the sleep—oh, how beautiful the sleep is!—all of this can hinder your productiveness. Here are a few tips to combat the distractions and maximize productivity while working from home.
Get Dressed in the Morning
No, you don’t have to go full business professional, but at least change out of your pajamas. By putting on a fresh pair of pants and a blouse, you’re tricking your body into thinking you have somewhere to be. This mindset will help you be productive.
Designate a Workspace
This goes hand-in-hand with getting dressed in the morning: being too comfortable can cause you to treat your work-from-home day like any other day at home. One minute you’re sitting on the couch in your PJs with your laptop in your lap, and the next minute the TV is on or you’re upstairs vacuuming. Counter this by designating a space in your home that is strictly dedicated to work during work hours. Whether it is your dining room table, an in-home office, or a bench/table on your patio, transform a single area into a space reserved for work only. This will again trick your mind into being more productive.
Leave Household Chores for Breaks
When working from home, your attention can easily shift to chores and honey-do items. If the dirty dishes in the sink glare at you from across the room and you can’t focus, take some time to tackle them—but do so during a predetermined “break” time. Treating your remote home office similarly to an on-site office, will help you stay on track. You can either schedule your breaks ahead of time or take them as you need them throughout the day, but either way, be uncompromising with yourself about the length of time you choose. Whether breaks last 10, 15, or 45 minutes—however long you need to refocus—be sure to stick to the time frame you designate.
Know Your To-Do List Before You Start
This tip is one of the most important things you can do to maximize productivity when working from home. Know what you are going to be working on before you start your day. If you begin with the mentality that you will figure things out as you go, EVERYTHING will be more enticing than accomplishing small tasks. You’ll convince yourself that they can be handled quickly when you are back in the office, and you’ll end up accomplishing nothing at home. Naturally, tasks can change last-minute and what you plan to work on may not be what you actually end up working on, but start your day with a plan and you’ll be more equipped to tackle projects on your to-do list.
Have a Hard Start and Stop Time
It can be easy to casually start and stop working whenever you feel the need. To maximize your productivity working from home, treat your home office like an actual office. Set an official start time and end time to your day, and try to stick to your schedule. Remember to keep summer Fridays exactly that.
WFH MOMMY BONUS TIP + Take Full Advantage of Nap/Sleep Time
Your kids’ schedules can be unpredictable, and even the most routine baby will upset the plan on occasion. So don’t break when the baby breaks (naps); use that free time to crank out as much quality work as you can muster. Hopefully, your employer can be flexible and understand that your work-from-home days may not always be eight-to-five when you have a little one. If so, you can wake up early or stay up late to get in your eight hours per day. Toddler sleep time is more precious than gold in more ways than one; don’t let it go to waste.
Visit Nikki Stephens at Mommy My Way for more career and parenting advice. Nikki is a 25-year-old single mom who works full time both in a corporate setting and from home, owns a small business, and blogs. You can find Mommy My Way on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.