If you’re like millions of other Americans, your life has been shaken up over the past few months. For many of us, this has looked like transitioning from full-time employment in a corporate office to self-employment and working from home. If that’s you, then it’s important that you figure out how to be as productive as possible with the hand that you’ve been dealt.
The Challenges of Working From Home
Working from home is great in many respects, but it also carries numerous challenges and issues. And one of the biggest issues is the presence of distractions.
When you’re working out of a corporate office, it’s easy to put yourself in a professional mindset. But when you work from home, there are many other distractions fighting for your attention. This includes piles of laundry that need to be folded, a TV that’s begging to be watched, kids bickering in the next room over, neighbors who randomly “pop in” to chat, and household chores that need your attention.
If you aren’t careful, you can end up wasting entire days and weeks worth of time on non-work related items. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Productivity isn’t nearly as elusive as it often seems. All you need is the right approach.
5 Productivity Tips and Hacks
Whether you run your own ecommerce business, you’re a copywriter, or you’re a freelance consultant for other companies, productivity is something that defines your daily success as a self-employed worker. Here are some productivity tips and hacks you may find helpful:
1. Create a Schedule
When you’re an employee in an office, you follow a pretty predictable schedule. You’re expected to show up at a certain time, take a lunch break around noon, and then head home at a particular hour. And while it may seem a little constricting, this sort of schedule actually helps to keep you productive.
When you work from home, the lines get blurred. It’s less clear when your workday starts and ends. As a result, productivity often wanes. To avoid this issue, you can create a schedule with start and stop times. Not only should you follow this schedule, but post it in a place where your family can, too.
2. Choose the Right Home Office
You might not have much flexibility in choosing a home office, but if you do have options, be strategic with where you “set up camp.” Ideally, your home office should (a) have a door that can open and close, and (b) be secluded from the rest of the house.
3. Speed Up Your Computer
Few things are more frustrating than having a slow computer. It bogs down your entire workday and prevents you from moving in an efficient manner. Some of the top causes of slow computers include:
- Old computer (more than five or six years old)
- Viruses and malware
- Too many programs opening automatically
- Not enough memory on the drive
Not sure what’s holding you back? Take your laptop to an expert and have them diagnose and fix the underlying issues for you.
4. Sign Out of Distractions
You can’t prevent all distractions, but you do have more control than you realize. During work hours, make a habit of signing out of distractions. This means logging out of social media accounts, turning off email notifications, and silencing your phone.
Don’t have the ability to totally sign out for huge chunks of time? Set aside 10 minutes out of every hour to check and respond to messages. Once that 10 minutes is up, go back to your silent “bubble.”
5. Invest in Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Whether it’s rambunctious kids, loud neighbors, or a busy street outside your office window, noises can throw you off your game and prevent you from being as productive as you should be. One of the best tricks is to invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones and play white noise or peaceful music.
Give Your Productivity a Boost
Productivity is something that you should always be optimizing and improving upon. Try implementing a few of the tips and hacks outlined in this article and you should see a noticeable uptick in your daily output and efficiency. Let us know which ones are most effective for you!