How to Get S#!t Done While Working From Home8:00 AM
On occasion, because of the flexibility of my job, I find myself working from home. Whether it's due to weather, sickness, or those dreadful cable company all-day appointments, it's important that I'm still able to get all my work done. And trust me, just because I don't have human children, doesn't mean my house doesn't get hectic. I've had to learn a few tricks of the trade over the years so I don't go insane.
Have a room dedicated to work with no distractions.
It doesn't matter whether you're a freelancer, nine-to-fiver, work-from-home-mom, or even stay-at-home-mom; sometimes you just need to distance yourself from the temptations and distractions of the house. For me, it's my dogs. If I'm home for the day, Harvey will constantly bring me toys and place them in my lap as if I'm an automatic ball-thrower. While I tend to just ignore him, every time he bugs me I get just a little bit distracted and those moments add up.
I have my office/craft room blocked off by a baby gate. It keeps Harvey and Quinn out of my hair and forces them to play with each other (half the reason for us having two dogs!). Now, not even the best of baby gates can keep a cat out so I still have to deal with the occasional "oh hai mom. imma sit right here on the keyboard. okai???" moment with Batman and Talia but for the most part they leave me alone.
In my little
safe haven home office I'm also sheltered from other distractions like TV, the fridge, or dirty dishes (this is where Mike laughs out loud and objects because I normally have to be forced into doing dishes).
Use a block schedule. (And set alarms!)
Sometimes it can be very easy to lose track of time while working on a certain project (or, you know, procrastinating on Facebook). I find it helpful to block out my schedule so that I only work on a certain project for a planned amount of time. Not only do I get more done, I've actually found that I don't get as burnt out on a particular design. I can take a "break" by working on another project and when I come back to the design, many times I find that my creative juices have restored to maximum capacity.
Personally, I like to use hand-written organization methods. I use my iCalendar for long-term planning like appointments, dinner dates, etc. But when it comes to to-do lists and mapping out my work day, I love a good pen and paper list. The problem is I can never find the planner I want in stores. So I print my own! That way I can include everything I want and get rid of anything that I don't need. You can find download links for my daily and weekly planner sheets in this post.
Turn on the tunes.
This may not work fo some people, but there's nothing like a good jam session to get me ready to knock out some things on my to-do list. Depending on my mood that day, I may be listening to anything from electronic dance music to contemporary piano. No matter what the genre, listening to music while working helps me drown out the rest of the world and keeps my creativity flowing at the same time.
Don't forget to take breaks!
It's been said that taking a break every half hour can actually increase your productivity. In our work-focused society, breaks get a bad rap. It seems like some people view taking a break as slacking off and they couldn't be farther from the truth. I've actually found that if I take a break every hour (give or take) and walk around, grab a glass of water, or have a conversation with a friend, I come back recharged and ready to rock and roll.
As someone who can be the Queen of Procrastination Nation, I can honestly say sticking to these "rules" helps me out a lot. And hopefully they help you out as well! Do you have any secret tricks for staying productive at home or in the office? I'm always open to suggestions. Happy working!