Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. We all know why it is a blessing; because we get to stay with our kids, save money on gas/clothing, and best of all, it is super convenient!
Some days I log into work without even brushing! Now that would be impossible if I had to go into the office, would it? [scary thought!!]
But yes, it is wonderful, and I have been working from home for the past 5 1/2 years now.
On the flip side, it is a curse as well. Apart from the convenient factor, there are several reasons why working from home is detrimental to your career, mental health, and productivity.
Related: Disadvantages of working from home
If you have a super flexible work routine where you can log in/out, and pick your hours, then that’s wonderful. But I DON’T! I work like a normal 9-5 employee except in my home instead of the cubicle in the office.
There are expectations, and productivity goals to meet, as well as meetings to attend. So how do I get shit done when I have a 19 month old who is breastfeeding and a 5 year old preschooler always desperate for attention?
Here are some of my best productivity tips for work from home moms.
Productivity Tips For Work-from-Home Moms
1. Time blocking
Setting time aside to get things done – for example, when I have a ongoing project, I set time aside in the morning [without interruptions] and tackle it then. Similarly, planning your day in chunks can prove to be productive.
2. Plan ahead
Make a list of things to do that day and plan your time accordingly. Use a planner for personal things that need to be scheduled during work time. For example, when the kid’s have a doctor’s appointment, I plan my day accordingly so I can get urgent items out of the way before the appointment, or before I need to leave for the day.
3. Focus on one thing at a time.
Aah! The most common yet misguided production killer is multitasking. I am a pro doing multiple things at once. However, I have realized that multitasking reduces quantity and harms quality. Therefore, making a list of things necessary and tackling them singularly is the best thing to do. Even if you do not finish the list that day, you know that what you did was done with focus hence guaranteeing the best quality.
4. Take your breaks.
This is a must! Breaks help you recharge and clear your mind. And yes, take your breaks away from your desk/office space.
5. Clean and tidy office space.
Clutter is the physical manifestation of stress. And a stressed mind and body decreases productivity. So get some storage containers for your office paper work, and get that space cleaned!
6. Buy a good chair.
An ergonomic chair designed for office helps you sit and work with ease, especially if you have long hours to put in. My company supplied my chair but my husband also bought me one when I was pregnant [more comfortable, and with better back and neck support <3]
7. Turn off distractions and notifications.
A big one! Not just cell phone and social media notifications, but emails and office notifications should be turned off if you are working on something serious. These are productivity KILLERS! Every time I have a project, I turn off the notifications for my work IM and email. After a few hours or when the urgent work is completed, or when it’s time to check my email, I turn them on again!
8. Chunk your time at work.
This goes with time blocking. I check my work email when I first log-in and once during the day, and then before I sign off for the day. In the middle of the day, especially in the middle of working projects etc., I resist checking work email every 5 mins. Chunking time for a specific task enhances focus, decreases distractions, and keeps you productive.
9. Know when you do your best work and use that time wisely.
Are you a morning person? I know I am! Therefore, I get more done in the morning; infact I do most of my work early morning as oppose to later during the day [that’s when the baby is asleep].
10. Communicate with family.
I let my husband know my agenda for the next da. Meetings, urgent work, unable-to-leave-my-chair moments, all of them! That way I know the kids are covered and I am left alone to get my work done.
11. Eat well.
Breakfast and snacks will get you through the day and productively too. I try to keep snacks at the table – healthy nuts, granola, etc. – that way I do not have to get up every minute to raid the fridge, which, if I may add, is very tempting, and unproductive. 😉
12. Hydrate to stay alert and not only with coffee.
To avoid the afternoon slump and a second cup of joe, keep a water bottle next to you.
13. Keep toys and entertainment ready for kids.
With 2 kiddos always ready to pounce on mama and distract her from work, I need everything and anything to keep them busy. I keep a bin full of toys where I work and then small bins all over the house. My older one is in preschool until noon so I get half a day of peace. But the baby is with me and after I feed her, my husband keeps her entertained while I work.
What are some productivity tips that have worked for you? 🙂