Do you run your business from home? Some days I sit down to work, with only good intentions, only to get completely off track within the first couple of hours. I suddenly realise I forgot to put the washing on, or I notice something on the floor and decide I need to hoover. With so many distractions around, how can we make sure that we stay productive?
We have so many distractions surrounding us, especially when we are in the environment we feel most comfortable. And with so much useless information at our fingertips, and an app for everything, procrastination is one of the easiest bad habits to pick up.
You must understand that, in order to increase your productivity, you need to be willing to work hard and make a conscious effort to avoid unnecessary distractions. What works for one person, might be totally useless to another, so it is important to recognise the strategies that suit you best. Here are my top tips for staying productive when you work from home.
1. Create a Work Space
It can be hard to differentiate between a work state of mind and a home one when the two things come together. Designating a specific area to work in can help you to keep the two separate. If you can set up an office, that is ideal, although we don’t all have space for that. Instead, try setting up a desk space in the corner of a room, or setting up at the dining table.
Although it can seem appealing – most days, in fact – working from your bed isn’t ideal. This is not a space you naturally associate with work, so procrastination becomes all too easy. Sitting on the sofa, in front on the tv, also provides distraction.
2. Devise a Schedule and Stick to It
If you worked in a corporate office, you would go in at a certain time and know what you needed to do. Treat your home business in the same way. What time will you start work? When will you take breaks? Create a clear list of what you need to achieve. There will be some tasks that need to be completed daily, and others weekly etc.
A clear schedule will help you to stay on track, and avoid distractions and procrastination.
3. Focus on One Thing at a Time
Do you ever get started on a big task, and then remember that there was something else you wanted to do? This is a big one for me. If I don’t write myself a list of things I need to do, so that I can check them off, I find myself chopping and changing between tasks all day. Definitely not the best way to get things done.
Try to focus on one project at a time. See it through to completion before starting anything else, to avoid any confusion that could affect your productivity.
4. Have a Plan for Online Activity
Social media is a huge time thief. We live in a society where social media is most people’s first stop for information, so it’s no wonder that the majority of business owners turn to a number of platforms as business building tools. But how many times have you logged onto Facebook, only to find yourself aimlessly scrolling for hours on end?
It’s far too easy to do. We start reading people’s rants, or looking at amusing images and before we know it, we have no time left for what matters. If you make yourself a plan – and stick to it – you can avoid wasting time by doing these things. For example, ten minutes in the morning for responding to messages. Ten minutes to engage with connections on Facebook and LinkedIn. Write down the online activities that you need to complete daily, and assign a specific amount of time to do so.
5. Learn to Say ‘No’
Too many people find it hard to say ‘no’. Don’t be afraid to turn down people’s requests when they will hinder your own work schedule. Avoid doing favours for people that will eat into your time and prevent you from being productive. When it comes to invites, don’t feel like you need to say yes to every one. Be confident in turning down meetings and appointments that are of no benefit to you or that conflict with your priorities.