In my first six month of working at home, I learned a lot. Especially about time management and productivity. When you don’t have fixed working hours, it can be quite tricky to manage your time and tasks without neglecting other things.
A few month ago, I decided that I don’t want to go to bed EVER again with the feeling, that I wasted my time or spend too much time doing absolutely unimportant things that could be avoided. For this reasons, I wrote down 10 tips to be more productive and efficient while working from home. Those tips will hopefully help you to save a lot of time and stress! Productivity is not a talent, it’s a skill and it requires a lot of practice, patience and compassion towards oneself.
Streamlining your work process can be quite difficult but it feels so much better to have your tasks under control and your day structured. So here we go with my 10 tips on how to be more productive:
1. Develop routines
In my „7 tips to start your morning happy“-article, I already told you a bit about my morning routine. Routines are in general very important and helpful, since they are independent of your currant mood. They ensure that you always do the right thing and also are quite independent of your motivation, provided you strictly establish them in your everyday life. Routines also give us safety, you can look forward to them because no matter how terrible your day may be, you can always be sure that your morning will be good because your make it like that with your routine.
Other routines that you can adapt to your everyday life can be, for example, cleaning and tidying routines, workout routines, grocery shopping routines etc. Start with a small routine and develop it. Routines will makes your life easier and save you a lot of time.
2. Identify your productivity window
No one can be productive throughout the day. Every one of us has a certain time window in which he is particularly productive. My window, for example, is in the morning. From 9.30 until 14.30 I am the most productive. In this time frame I finish all important tasks such as mails, phone calls, meetings. I write articles and develop new concepts. After lunch, however, I often have a little mid-day low and am less productive than in the morning. In this time I mostly do research work for my next articles, save interesting links and try to get the non-creative tasks done like accounting, invoices and other paperwork. Towards evening, my productivity increases again and between 19-22pm I get often much work done.
Currently I try to replace the night-productivity with my low-productivity window from the afternoon. I will keep you posted, how it works.
3. Create to-do lists
Since I am self-employed, to-do lists are my best friends (and lifesavers). Without them, I sometimes would not know which way is up and down. They are essential not only for my job, even for the household, shopping and other little things I always write those lists.
With a daily to-do list you can structure your life and get all your tasks done. With lists, you keep on track and don’t forget any important appointments, tasks or similar . There is nothing better than to put a check mark behind your tasks, right? Try to write down your tasks as specific as possible and always make your to-do-list for tomorrow, the day before!
4. Arrange your To-Do lists by priority
A chaotic to-do list helps us as much as no one. Therefore, you should prioritize your list. An example is the A-B-C system. A stands for the most important tasks which have the highest priority and need to get done as the very first thing. B stands for medium important tasks that don’t specifically hurry, but should be done by today. C-tasks have a lower priority than A&B. Nevertheless, you should get them done, too. If some of the A&B tasks take more time than expected, you can move C-tasks to the next day. I really like this system. It’s easy to follow and can save you a lot of time!
5. Set goals- daily, weekly, monthly, yearly
Writing down your goals is as important as the to-do lists are. It’s human nature that we lie to work towards a goal. We need a goal on which we can focus. Without them, we are unproductive and unstructured. Therefore, you should definitely write down your goals for each day, each week, each month and each year. Write them in a notebook, which you always keep on your workspace. That will keep you more motivated and productive.
6. Organize your workspace
When your workspace is clean, organized and minimalistic- you can work much better. I always try to have as little as possible on the table. So I have more space to move and there is less that could distract me. I also like to decorate my table a little. Like with fresh flowers or a scented candle. That makes my workspace cozier and I feel more comfortable. When everything on your table has its place, it will save you a lot of time when searching for it.
7. Create a motivation-mood board
Visualizing your goal can make a big difference. Create your own mood board. You can post inspiring photos, motivating quotes to or what never you like on the board. If you hang the mood board right beside your work space, you always visualize your goals. It will help you to stay motivated and will keep you productive whenever your spirit leaves you for a moment.
8. Eliminate smaller tasks immediately
The Immediately-System will definitely ease your live and your conscience. Uncompleted tasks make us feel guilty every time we remember. It has a huge impact of our subconscious. With the Immediately-System you complete every task that takes no longer than 2-5 minutes -immediately-.
Through the Immediately-System you can celebrate some small achievements every day. It feels good to get things done. It strengthens our self-confidence and gives us the feeling of having accomplished something. We thereby keep track and not lose ourselves in minor and inessential tasks.
9. Cut off from social media
I definitely have to practice this one. Sometimes it works but more often it doesn’t. Often I find myself clicking on the Facebook logo like an autopilot, scrolling down my feed, totally bored. After a few minutes, I notice, that I actually wanted to look for something completely different. These small „social media slip-ups“ are time-consuming and are in addition highly unproductive. That’s why I installed a plugin which is called „StayFocusd“. It blocks Facebook (or any another website) for a specific time. In this time, you have no chance to go to the specific website. The great thing is that you can get rid of this bad habit very quickly with this plugin. I especially like that there pops up a window with a large „shouldn’t you be working?“ when you try to go on the site. Very practical and effective!
10. Healthy and energizing snacks are your gasoline
Nutrition also plays a big role when it comes to productivity. Nuts are, for example, a great source of vegetable protein. Especially almond works well to nibble on during the day. Other healthy foods that will help you to me more productivity are: avocado, fresh fruits, dried fruit, berries, bananas, vegetables, ginger, dark chocolate or walnuts (see what I eat in a day here).
Just as important as eating the right snacks, is to drink enough water throughout the day. Sometimes I find it particularly difficult to drink enough water. However, I often notice that I get tired or a headache when I drank too little. Therefore I downloaded an app called „drinking clock“ which frequently reminds me to drink a glass of water. Mostly I pour water in a bottle and put some lemon juice or ginger in it. I also like to drink a green tea in between. That may help you to keep your metabolism boosted. (Here are 10 tips to drink more water during the day)
I hope you like my 10 productivity tips for working from home! Do you have any other experiences? I would love hear about them in the comments!
P.S.: Did you alerady checked out my article about how to stay happy and energized all day long?