In your mind it is the ideal situation…yoga pants, the ability to catch up on the never-ending pile of laundry and no commute. Working from home sounds like a dream, right?! Working from home can be a disaster if you are not prepared for the massive change to your routine, surroundings and habits. Below are my top 5 tips to increase productivity while working from home.
1. Plan Your Week. Identify your top priorities to accomplish and schedule them on your calendar. Yes, it can be tempting to clean and do the laundry, but you are less likely to get totally distracted with a plan. I start each week by identifying 4-5 priorities to accomplish throughout the week. Struggling with identifying priorities? Check out your calendar and if a meeting is happening that week it is a priority. Are you focused on growing your clientele? Activities to drive more people into your sales cycle are priorities. Have you outlined clear goals for the year? Identifying the action step that scares you the most is usually a priority. The point is take the time to plan so you can work proactively versus working reactively. If you really want to increase your chances of follow through, share your priorities with an accountability partner and share your progress at the end of the week. Check out my post on peer accountability for more ideas.
2. Schedule Time to Connect With People. In an office setting you typically bump into colleagues at the coffee machine and engage in casual conversations. Isn’t this one of the things that makes work enjoyable? Thankfully, my business centers around people and relationships, so I get to connect with clients daily. It’s probably obvious that you should maintain your client-facing relationships when working from home. I recommend setting up your environment to also maintain social relationships. Can you schedule a check in call vs. sending an email to your team? What about setting up virtual (and budget friendly) coffee dates? Even when not in the office you can still enjoy other’s company over a cup of coffee. Each month, I have calls scheduled on my calendar with a few women in my tribe, happy hour with a couple of the women from my old office and a peer accountability call.
3. Be Intentional With Exercise. When I stopped going to an office, I stopped walking 2 miles per day. I schedule time in my day for working out! This keeps me sane, healthy and happy. The key is being intentional and learning what works for you. On heavy coaching days, I schedule my work out midday to boost my energy and focus for the afternoon. On creative days, I schedule my work out in the morning and use it as my think time. If I am taking a non-client coaching call, I might go for a walk around the block to log extra steps.
4. Develop a Morning Routine. When you go from working in an office to working from home you automatically minimize your commute time. What are you going to do with that time? You can replace commute time with reading, journaling, meditating or visioning. A solid morning routine will help you get focused for the day. I find that a morning routine also shifts my mind from home mode to work mode. Click here for ideas on sticking to a morning routine?
5. Establish Boundaries! Just because you are working from home does not mean you are actually “home.” It can be super tempting to focus on home tasks instead of work tasks. If you constantly do home tasks during work time, your work tasks will bleed into your home time. It’s important to set boundaries and remember it won’t be perfect. Determine the hours you are going to dedicate to working and work those hours. I physically put my laptop away on weekends to signal the end of the work week and bring it out again on Monday. We all need to rest, re-set and enjoy the life we are working so hard to fund.