Working from “home” – it’s the dream, right? Wake up whenever. Work from wherever. Make your schedule and then mix it all up, if that’s what you feel like doing. You’re in control. But being in control requires some major discipline that just isn’t always there. For entrepreneurs, freelancers, and any others working outside of the office, getting everything done can be a daunting task.
So how do you maximize your productivity? We’ve put together a small list of 6 tips and tricks to stay on top of your work. Some you’ve already heard, some are silly – but don’t count any of them out!
1. Rise & Grind
Isn’t the whole point being able to make your own schedule? Why wake up early?
Yes – making your own schedule is a major plus. Sleep in whenever you need it! But for those days that you need to grind: try setting your alarm a few hours earlier. This doesn’t mean you have to get to work right away. Exercise, eat a hearty breakfast, read, get dressed (a tough one for those who don’t go into the office), etc. Do whatever it is that sets you in the best mindset so that you’re encouraged and ready to knock out the tasks of the day. You’d be surprised at how a refreshed mind plays into effect.
2. Make Your To-Do List Start BIG
We promise that the gratifying feeling of marking out a completed item will send at least a little motivation to knock out the next one. But more so than that, a to-do list will keep you from forgetting any tasks you need to complete, as well as prepare your mind for what’s in store for the day. No matter the order you list your tasks, you’ll be conscious of those that are the most pressing. Whether they’re time-consuming or not – try to knock these guys out first! When you get ready to start your workload, filter out the most critical emails, jobs, meetings, etc. and make them your first priority. This eliminates the underlying stress that procrastinating a tedious project can hold over everything else you do. Plus the grand accomplishments will fuel your drive to move through the day! Try starting your day with that big win.
3. Make a Schedule
Depending on the type of person, this might sound ridiculous. Do you really need a to-do list AND a schedule? Just try it. At the beginning of your day, box out time periods for yourself with small deadlines. From 9am-11am, knock out those big tasks. From 11am-12pm, knock out two quick meetings, followed by an hour block for lunch. So on and so forth. This is primarily all an organizational tactic to keep your mind focused on what needs to be done and when you need to have it done by. When you’re ready for the next step – try turning this into a daily schedule (not just work-related), and see if you can turn it into a routine to stick with.
4. Control Your Smartphone
A blessing and a curse: smartphones have the potential to be productivity crushers. Limit your phone usage when it’s not work related (this means no more justifying that quick Facebook break in between sending emails). When you don’t absolutely need it, try putting it on “Do Not Disturb” to completely avoid distractions. That’s harder than it sounds….we know. If that’s too much of a commitment to start with, try turning off notifications for any of your unnecessary distractions such as personal social media accounts, news, or sports updates. It’ll all still be there when you finish what’s important – we promise!
5. Ditch the Physical Distractions
Location matters. It’s nice to be out of the office, but outside of it you’ll come to realize the importance of them. Minus tight cubicles and grouchy coworkers, offices do offer a space without much of the distractions you might find in a public place. If you’ve got options of workplaces, maybe you just need ways to clean them up of distractions a bit. If working from home is the preference, it’s important to clear a clean space that eliminates clutter and unnecessary distraction. Avoid sitting somewhere too comfy that your mind might associate with relaxation rather than working, sit near natural lighting, keep your pets in a separate room. If a public place is the preference, be sure that your mind is can tune out the movement and noise that comes with. Invest in good headphones and find a place comfortable seating for extended periods of time. And if neither of those are preferred – find a coworking space near you and try it out (obviously we’re advocates here). These do come with a cost, but they typically provide the distraction-free feel of an office without the office drag. Plus many of the amenities you might be struggling without, such as printers and a solid wifi connection. If you’re located in Austin, there’s plenty of shared office spaces to test out!
6. Give Yourself a Break
Avoid getting consumed by your work. Socialize, spend time outside, meditate. Do something to relax and refresh your mind. All of the emails, spreadsheets, designs, etc. slowly fatigue your mind and drain your creative fuel. Take a quick walk and call a friend. Let nature work its magic and get those creative juices flowing again. You deserve it – but more than that, you absolutely need it.
Try them all, or try a few. We’d like to guarantee you’ll see a difference in your productivity levels.
And if you’re looking for distraction-free location to implement some of these tactics – sign up here to snag your free trial day at MELD Coworking, our positive and productive shared workspace in Central Austin!
We’d love to have you, plus we’re located in a beautiful area to walk during one of your breaks & will gladly socialize with you while you recharge. Killing all of the birds with one stone 🙂