Many small business owners and entrepreneurs work from a home office. This can mean different things for different people. For some it may mean a calm peaceful environment with a perfectly decorate space, for others it might mean screaming kids, barking dogs and endless chores staring you in the face.
How do you avoid your working from home obstacles and still have a productive day?
As a small business owner who spends most of my time working from a home office when I’m not out on client meetings, I’ve put together my top five tips for maximizing productivity at home.
1. Physically write down your goals for the day.
I learned quickly that having a million goals floating around in my head didn’t translate into the level of productivity that I was hoping for. If you’re anything like me, as an entrepreneur and a creative, my mind never stops. When it comes to accomplishing specific goals, I can often get distracted or start six new tasks before ever completing the first one.
I found that actually writing down my goals (or at a minimum typing them out) helped me focus. For me, it created higher stakes, because if I didn’t hit those goals they would be staring back at me for the rest of the evening, eating away at my feelings of success for the day. There is also absolutely nothing better than crossing something off, or writing “done” in all caps next to an item on your to-do list.
2. Have a morning routine.
This productivity lesson took me a little bit longer to learn than some others. I was actually newly pregnant when I decided to start my business, and feeling extreme side effects. All of the side effects in fact. It was way too easy to sleep in just a little bit longer. Especially when I could rationalize that I didn’t have to spend an hour getting ready most mornings, or 45 minutes commuting either. Why shouldn’t I get to spend that extra time snoozing after all?
Unfortunately, or fortunately, on mornings when I slept in I felt feelings of guilt about my day before it even started. I knew I was wasting valuable time. Instead, I started putting together my regular morning routine and ignoring the snooze button, which helped keep me on track. Your morning routine could be anything that works for you, whether it’s a cup of coffee, a cold shower, a morning workout, meditating, or a walk with your dogs. Taking my dogs for a walk is one of my favorites, (@ronandnora on Instagram). The point is to find something that gets you going in the morning and helps you start off your day with a positive, determined attitude.
3. Steer clear of TV or streaming subscriptions.
While it may seem like having some daytime TV or a Netflix binge session playing in the background while you work it a great idea, it’s totally distracting. Even if you’re someone like me who claims they can do anything while simultaneously watching any and all shows in the Real Housewives franchise, you probably can’t.
Even though I hate to admit it, I work much more quickly and efficiently when the TV isn’t on. My working from home rule is no TV at any point during the day, not even during lunch! I love reality TV, but I decided to start living my own life instead.
4. Ditch social media.
Managing social media is part of my job, so if I’m saying to ditch it, I mean business. While I need to engage on some social media when managing accounts for clients, I try to keep my personal exposure at a minimum during the day. Being active on Twitter is important for my personal branding, so I do take a few mental breaks a day to shoot out some tweets and retweets, but I make sure never to actually click on an article to read more until the day is over. I like to think I’m saving the pieces I’m interested in for evening reading.
As for Facebook and Instagram, I try to cut those out completely. Facebook is a complete time suck full of ads, political updates and videos it seems like you just have to watch. I do have a soft spot for Instagram, but luckily for me, and for all of us who work from home, the posts and pictures will all still be there after the work day is done. Instead of checking social every time your phone buzzes, save everything you can for after work instead, and look forward to a fun social catch up session.
5. Eat well.
This goes for working from home, or at the office. In order to stay concentrated and keep your head in the game you need to give your body the proper fuel. I fell victim to the granola bar express train when I first started working from home. I got a five minute sugar high and then was immediately hungry again.
Now I try and fill my days with good fuel, especially in the mornings. My easy favorites are oatmeal, fresh fruit, or green juice to give my brain what it needs to keep up with you all day. Ditching the processed junk food that’s high in sugar will help you stay focused for longer, and feel great at the same time. My best trick for avoiding the unhealthy daytime cravings? Just don’t buy the stuff to begin with!
These are just a few of the tips and tricks I’ve learned to help me stay productive while working from home during the day. Even though it can be difficult, I absolutely love the flexibility of working from home, and I would do just about anything to not give that up. I may have learned some of these lessons the hard way, but hopefully that means you don’t have to!
If you have any other tips for maximizing productivity while working from home, I’d love to hear them! Tweet me @AlexandraEesley to start the conversation.
Alexandra Eesley is an independent marketing consultant and owner of Eesley Consulting. She provides next level marketing solutions to small and medium sized businesses including content creation, email marketing, website design, social media, online advertising, strategy consultation and more.