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Whether you’re working outside the home and fed up with the commute, or a stay at home mum looking to make an income, the thought of working from home might be very enticing. But maybe you’ve already taken that step and working from home hasn’t turned out quite as you’d expected.
Whatever group fits your situation some friendly advice from those who have been there is always helpful. Working from home can be quite lonely, so it’s great to get some advice now and then.
The Ultimate Work at Home Bundle is specially designed, by Work at Home Moms (and some Dads) to give you the resources you need to start, or improve, your Work at Home Life. It’s a collection of 30 eBooks, 1 audiobook, 14 eCourses, 5 printable packs plus 9 bonuses all geared towards helping you on your Work at Home journey – and it’s available to you at a greatly reduced price for the next six days.
I’ve had a sneak preview of the bundle and have chosen to highlight just a small sample of the resources. The bundle covers a wide range of topics (which I will get to later) but I thought I would focus on the topic of productivity since it is an issue I’m particularly interested in.
So, here are seven work at home tips to improve productivity, which I’ve gleamed from just 7 of the resources in the Ultimate Work at Home Bundle.
Work at Home Productivity Tip #1: Focus
Since ‘Focus’ is my word for 2017 it seems like a good place to start. I have found that if I am focused on the task or goal then I am much more likely to be productive than when I am distracted or worried about other things.
Staying focused isn’t easy though, especially when working at home when there are so many ‘urgent’ tasks to do. And don’t get me started on those unnecessary distractions too!
So I was happy to discover that the Live: Creating a Life You Love by Mandi Ehman spends a month on the subject of Focus. Here are some of her tips for staying focused:
- Write a prioritized to-do list.
- Only purchase, open or pull out the supplies related to the task at hand.
- Make a note of any other tasks you think of for later. Do not stop what you’re doing to take care of it, even if it would only take a couple of minutes.
- For larger projects, set smaller goals and focus on those one at a time.
- Find a designated spot or time for your project.
- Remove distractions. Silence the alerts on your phone, close social media sites, turn off the TV. Set a timer to pull your attention back to the task at hand.
‘Live: Creating a Life You Love’ is a Year-long course that walks you through a different area of intentional living each month. There’s interviews, podcasts, worksheets and more in each section. If purchased separately the eCourse costs US$37 – great value on it’s own!
Work at Home Productivity Tip #2: Prioritize
One reason I struggle to focus is not knowing where my priority lies. With no priority I switched from one task to another as I deemed something else to be important. Then I would forget about the initial task. Nothing would get achieved. I made no progress. Yet still felt that I had been busy and had no time.
So my second tip to improve productivity when working at home is to set priorities.
In her ebook Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule so You Can Live Free Amy Lynn Andrews talks about this stuggle of doing too many things but not getting anywhere.
“Whether it’s an inability to say no, the fear of missing something, the need to keep up with the Joneses, or careless planning, many of us are masters at committing to things that sound good, but do not get us closer to our life’s finished picture. Frankly, if our tasks or activities are not moving us in our intended direction, they’re a waste of time, no matter how amazing they are.”
Tell Your Time walks you through setting goals and priorities (as well as some other great topics) with accompanying workbook and printables. It’s well worth the $2.99 (if you were buying it separately and not as part of the Ultimate Work at Home Bundle).
Work at Home Productivity Tip #3 Write everything down
Another great tip that has helped me to improve productivity is to write everything down. If it’s not on my calendar or to do list it’s likely to get forgotten about and won’t happen.
When I was working in an office I had my computer in front of me (with digital calendar and emails) and my note pad and phone by my side. I could easily take notes and book in appointments as they came to me by phone, mail or email.
When I switched role to ‘home-maker’ I stopped keeping a calendar and tried to just remember things. Of course, this didn’t work and I was extremely unproductive.
It’s taken a while for me to come up with a system that works best for me now that I am not sitting at a computer all day – a mixture of digital calendar, wall planner, task management and note keeping apps, and a bullet journal. Though there are things that still slip through the cracks as I still tell myself I’ll remember something!
I love the way that Monica puts it in her Busy Moms Building: 12 Steps to Running Your Own Online Business for Busy Moms eCourse:
I have a theory in my life, if I write it down then I am free to forget about it. It’s a very liberating thought and one that keeps me sane. I love to-do lists! They give me the freedom to tuck a thought safely away without using extra brain power worrying that I will forget about it. Once I write it down I am confident it’s somewhere I can go back to reference and I can let it slip from my mind for the time being. Our minds can only make so many decisions a day before being fatigued. This gives my mind freedom to make other critical decisions.
Busy Moms Building is full of step-by-step tips for moms wanting to start a blog, it costs $147 if you purchase the course separately. But remember, the Ultimate Work at Home Bundle is available for $47 for the next six days, so check out all it has to offer here!
Work at Home Productivity Tip #4 Use a Task Management Tool like Asana
When it comes to writing things down I have found that the Task Management Tool Asana has really helped me to improve productivity. You don’t have to be working as part of a team to get the benefits of using Asana. I can set up projects, repeating tasks, and individual to-do items quite simply. Everything is organised in the one place (no To Do lists getting lost all over the place).
Here’s what Paul Minors has to say about task management systems in The Personal Productivity Handbook:
“Getting everything well organised in your task management system is a big step and might take some time. Don’t rush this process. Investing some time now to pick and sharpen your tools will save you a tonne of time later. If you’re like me you’ll really enjoy this process of getting everything out of your head and organised into projects and sections. It can dramatically reduce your stress and brings a sense of ease as you can clearly see everything you need to do in one place.”
Paul also gives a number of benefits for using Asana:
- It has a lot of free features
- You can set up multiple teams
- You can include detailed descriptions in your tasks, format the text, add bulleted lists, create subtasks and include attachments.
- Using Asana in teams increases accountability among one another and you get a better sense of what everyone is working on.
- The ‘My Task’ page summarises all of your tasks across every project in one place.
The Personal Productivity Handbook: A Step-by-Step Program to Supercharge Your Productivity by Paul Minors is currently only available as part of the Ultimate Work at Home Bundle.
Work at Home Productivity Tip #5 – Have a flexible routine – and teach your children to do the same
One good thing about having a digital planner is you can easily make changes.
Having a routine to follow helps to improve productivity as I’m more likely to stay focused and do the task if it is part of my regular schedule. Having a regular routine or schedule also takes out a lot of the decision making, which saves time.
However, when working from home with young children to take care of the routines can often be broken. Just this week we’ve had a holiday on Monday; a school trip on Wednesday (which my husband took the day off to attend); dentist for the three kids on Thursday; an evening out with friends for my eldest on Friday; and a church meeting for me on Sunday evening – all of which are not part of the normal routine.
Being flexible with your routine is, therefore, important for me and the whole family. In Balancing Diapers Lisa writes that flexibility is an essential life skill. She advises that you purposely add flexibility to your routine in order to teach your children how to adapt to changes.
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines: A Busy Mom’s Guide to Minimizing Decisions, Integrating Kids, and Getting More Done by Lisa Tanner costs $47.00 – the price of the whole Ultimate Work at Home Bundle if you get it within the next six days!
Work at Home Productivity Tip #6 Delegate
If you are at home with young kids and trying to start your own business you may not think that delegating is an option for you. But there are possibilities.
- Employ a cleaner to come to your house once every couple of weeks,
- Shop online and have your groceries delivered, saving you a few hours,
- Ask a friend or family member to look after the kids for a few hours (it’s great to share this task with other mums during the school holidays),
- Give tasks to family members,
- Hire a local teenager to do some simple work tasks like filing,
- Get child-care, even for a few hours a week.
Here’s what Hilary has to say in More in Less: 21 Productivity Hacks for Creatives
“I know that there is something on your plate that someone else could do. And you could very likely pay them less per hour than what you are worth per hour. What are you waiting for? No brainer. If it’s not your sweet spot, outsource it. And if you don’t have a budget to outsource something consider bartering with a friend.”
More or Less: 21 Productivity Hacks for Creatives by Hilary Sutton is a cute little book of hacks, for the great price of $2.99.
Work at Home Productivity Tip #7 Get Moving
When all is said and done all the prioritizing, delegating and planning is not going to actually get more done at home. The simplest tip is that you just need to stop procrastinating, take action and just get it done!
We’re not going to get anywhere if we just keep dreaming about what we want to achieve.
This is one of my big challenges. I love researching and learning, and feel like I need to know everything before I get started. But really I just need to get moving!
Here’s Serena’s advice from How to Succeed in 12 Months: Creating a Life you Love
“Don’t get overwhelmed by what you want to accomplish – just consider what you accomplish today…We often use lack of knowledge or experience as a (seemingly) valid excuse for not taking action.”
How to Succeed in 12 Months: Creating a Life You Love by Serena Star-Leonard can be purchased through Amazon for around $15, if not purchased as part of the Ultimate Work at Home Bundle.
More about the Ultimate Work at Home Bundle
I hope you feel inspired and equipped to get more done at home with these 7 tips. But don’t forget each tip is only a small part of the book or course mentioned. And the Ultimate Work at Home Bundle consists of over 50 resources, not just these 7. There is a whole lot more to discover inside the bundle, covering topics like:
- Job Opportunities
- Growing a Business
- Etsy and Product Sales
- Work Life Balance
- Virtual Assistants
- Legal and Accounting
So make sure you check it out here before it is gone!
Do you struggle with getting things done at home? What tips do you have to improve productivity when working at home?
I’d love to hear what you think of the bundle – what are your favourite resources?