Technically, I was a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years, but it was rare that I didn’t have many projects or responsibilities outside the home to juggle. Most recently, I have made blogging my job from home for the past 4 years. Additionally, Andrew has worked from home for most of the last 7 years. Over that time, we have discovered many ways to be more productive when working from home.
We have teenagers still living at home and I have also been helping my daughter, Madison with her son, Rhett since he was a couple of months old. She works from home also, and we have a really good routine down.
No doubt, working from home can be challenging at times. As a mom or the parent who assumes the primary responsibility for the kids and home, it can be a lot to juggle!
I have found it takes a lot of self-discipline and a list of ways to be more productive below to successfully work from home.
12 ways to be more productive working from home
- Create a dedicated workspace you are comfortable with. I have had different workspaces over the years, but many of them were not spaces I wanted to spend time in, which led to me not using it. While one of the benefits of working from home can be that you are mobile, there are some spaces you can be more productive in than others. Don’t hesitate to examine your space and make changes where necessary.
- Time management has to be a priority. I describe my days as a puzzle. Most days are so busy, my to-do list fits together like a puzzle. I have to stay on track, or there is a lot of wasted time and priorities don’t get done. In the evenings, I plan out my day (sometimes on paper, sometimes in my head) when I am doing what so when my feet hit the floor the next morning, I am off and running.
- Spousal support is vital. With Andrew and I both working from home, we are both very supportive and respective of the others’ work hours. Of course, we have flexibility when needed (that’s the major perk of working from home), but we recognize when the other is involved with something and shouldn’t be interrupted.
- Lay ground rules for kids. This has been one of the hardest in our house. Of course, this needs to be age-appropriate, but we have teenagers. Teenagers should be able to understand and abide by ground rules. Typically, we ask the kids not to interrupt Andrew if he is in his office working. When he comes out of his office, they are supposed to ask if he has a minute or two to chat if they would like to chat. This is most difficult in the summers, but it’s manageable. When it works, it’s very helpful.
- Be realistic. As long as there is more than 1 person in the house and/or pets, there will be distractions.
- Take time off. It can be easy to overwork when working from home. We have often worked 7 days a week when needed, however, I don’t recommend it for too long. Days off are helpful and lead to higher productivity.
- No guilt. It can be difficult, especially as a mom, to balance housework with your work from home job. You may have to be okay with letting the laundry sit until your “work hours” end.
- Create scheduled work hours. There is a lot to be said about being self-disciplined when working from home. When you create and keep a schedule, it can be much easier to focus.
- Stay organized. As with any job, in or out of the home, and any project, keeping a list, using a project manager such as Asana (the free version works great for me) or Trello (also free version). I also like the flexibility of having a physical planner such as a LifePlanner (I get one every year and love them) by Erin Condren.
- Schedule move breaks. Sitting too long can have negative effects on both our mind and our body. Try to get some steps in (preferably at least 250) every hour to keep feeling in tip-top shape.
- Pretend you’re going to the office. Get cleaned up, get dressed for success.
- Keep the room you work in clean. My office is currently part of my bedroom. We always make our bed and keep our bedroom tidy. In addition, if I notice the floor needing to be vacuumed, I take a few minutes to do that before I sit down to work.
Working from home has provided so many opportunities for me including being able to balance everything I love – raising my children, being close to family and keeping my brain challenged. Home based businesses full time or part time is perfect for those who enjoy flexible work hours without the hassle of traveling into an office.
Many companies are allowing employees to work from home to not only reduce overhead expenses associated with office space, but according to Institute of German Economics, studies show working from home can boost productivity.
What is your biggest distraction when working from home?