If you’re a service-based small business owner who works from home, it’s likely you’ve experienced one of those days when you feel very unproductive.
You know what you need to do, but then something distracts you and time just disappears.
You discover a new shiny object to play with, a social media post you need to respond to, and a website formatting issue that you need to fix urgently.
I know what this type of day feels like exactly. And in the past, I told myself it was all part of the process.
That these were the tasks I needed to work through, to attract my dream clients and build a business that gave me the freedom and lifestyle I was looking for.
However, you know what… That wasn’t true.
While I was busy working all day, I wasn’t spending my time, energy and focus on the things I needed to be doing to be successful.
So, here are my top ten work from home strategies that I employ to help me stay productive and achieve success:
1. Use an online calendar
During my corporate life, there wasn’t a day that went by when I wasn’t looking at my outlook calendar multiple times a day. So, I’ve also implemented this strategy now that I work from home.
By having time blocked-out for certain activities, it helps me to stay on track and know what I should be working on every day.
I know that time-blocking is a proven strategy that helps with productivity and will ensure I’m working on the tasks that will lead to success.
2. Write a daily to-do list
I include only 3-5 tasks on my daily list to help stop the overwhelm and focus on what’s important.
There’s no more getting distracted by work that isn’t urgent or due for some time yet.
It also provides a great sense of achievement at the end of the day when I cross the items off my list. This positive feeling helps to build momentum and keep me going on the tough days.
3. Follow a morning routine
I wake up at the same time each day, get dressed as though I’m going to work, and ensure I’m sitting in front of my computer working within an hour of waking up, so I’m not distracted by social media or morning TV.
The discipline of a morning routine has helped me to improve my productivity and make consistent progress each day in my business.
4. Create separation between your business and home life
When I started my business, I set up a dedicated workspace in my home so that I could separate myself from my work.
I also can’t see my workspace from my living area, so I’m not viewing it as a constant reminder of all the work that I still need to do.
In doing so, I now both physically and mentally walk away from work at the end of the day and enjoy a break.
It’s a work from home strategy that ensures I ‘go to work’ the next day with a bright and fresh mind to help stay productive.
5. Take regular breaks
I know that it’s certainly not healthy to spend every minute of the day working on your business.
Or, to spend days on end without leaving the house.
I’ve found that it’s so easy just to keep working when you’re based from home.
However, to boost productivity, I also know the importance of taking the time to rest and recharge.
6. Limit the time spent on social media
It’s so easy to waste hours online searching in Facebook groups and trying to connect and engage with potential clients.
When really, it would be far more productive to be working on your own business and getting those all-important tasks done.
I set aside time strategically in the morning to review and update my social media activity. However, then I shut down all those tabs and limit the number of times I check it during the day so that I stay on task and productive.
7. Upgrade or purchase new equipment
To enjoy working from home and be more productive, you need to be working from a space that’s comfortable and inspiring.
Additionally, it needs to have fast internet and the right tools and equipment for you to do your job well.
When starting my business, I invested strategically in a new laptop, desk chair, and artwork to enhance my workspace.
8. Use an online project management tool
The most significant benefit I’ve realised is that I’ve stopped working on the tasks I like to do, and instead, work on what’s due next.
It’s free for the basic version, and you can also use it to manage tasks and communications with a small number of clients.
Of course, for more detailed functionality you will need to upgrade.
9. Set goals and review them regularly
When you have direction and know where you’re going and what you’re trying to achieve, then your productivity soars.
It becomes easier to break down the tasks you need to focus on, and you can allocate deadlines over time.
10. Implement systems or outsource
To stay productive when working from home, I’ve found it essential to manage my energy and find ways to work more often on the things I enjoy.
This also means working less on the tasks that I find mundane and boring!
By outsourcing and using systems and tools that help me complete tasks faster, I can spend more time working on the jobs that give me energy, rather than drain it.
By implementing these ten strategies above, I’ve been able to make significant progress in my business and achieve more than I thought was possible in the timeframe.
What other work from home strategies do you employ to stay productive? Share them in the comments below.