In recent years there has been a rise in the number of people who work from home. A recent Gallup poll shows that while only 9% of workers telecommuted in 1995, that number has risen to 37%. There has also been a huge growth of the gig economy. The gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The gig economy includes multi-level marketing companies, ride-sharing like Uber, space renting like Airbnb, delivery services such as DoorDash, and more.
I officially began my work from home journey four years ago when I left classroom teaching. Even though I once again have a part-time job in an office, I still spend most of my working hours at home. I wanted to pass along what I’ve learned along the way about staying productive and motivated when you work from home
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Tip #1 – Time Blocking. This is hands down the biggest key I have found to staying productive and motivated while you work from home. Time blocking keeps you on track, helps you set boundaries, gives you permission to say no, allows you to jump into new opportunities and just keeps a general sense of organization. There will be some days when your schedule goes awry, but having routine and consistency is important to productivity outside of a traditional work environment. For my time blocking I use this time management sheet. I know a paper time blocking sheet might sound old-school, but even in a digital world, old-school organization is so helpful!
As a side note, I also believe in time blocking if you work a more traditional job!
Tip #2 – Get Ready. Getting ready in the morning, even though you’re not leaving the house to go to work, sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to get to work. You don’t have to spend hours getting yourself glam, you can totally go with just a 5-minute makeup routine. But spend a little bit of time in the morning at least throwing on a piece of jewelry or two, or adding a little make-up. It makes a big difference in your productivity.
Tip #3 – Create a Workspace. Not everyone has the space to set up a gorgeous home office. That’s okay! You don’t need to create an elaborate workspace, you just need a space designed for productivity. Just like parents are encouraged to create homework stations for their children, work spaces are important if you work from home. Set up a space with the supplies you use most regularly, something beautiful that makes you smile, and a little room to get work done. This space ensures you don’t waste time looking for supplies, you don’t feel miserable while you work, and that you can actually work.
Tip #4 – Leave the House. Even if you don’t need to leave the house for work, find a reason to leave the house. Take a walk to your local coffee shop, go on a morning walk, run a quick errand. Just do something to get out of the house and break up your day. If you work from home it can be easy to become a hermit…don’t do it! Find a reason to leave the house and talk to actual adult humans.
Tip #5 – Create Activity Bags. If you’re a work from home mom I have found it helpful to have some special work-time only activities. These are the activities that only come out when you’re working. Which means they can stay special…i.e. they have a higher chance of holding their attention while you need to work. I put together a few activity bags by doing a little shopping at the dollar store, the dollar spot at Target, the local teacher supply store, and Walmart. I picked up lace cards, spelling activities and other similar activities. The idea is that these are fun, simple, activities that require little instruction or supervision. So don’t put playdough in one of the bags 😉
What tips do you have to be productive and motivated when you work from home?