how to be productive when you work from home
6 tips for entrepreneurs
Working from home is, to put it eloquently, the fuckin’ best. No commuting, no small talk about the weekend with co-workers, and no useless office meetings. But the most difficult thing about transitioning from an office building to your living room is learning how to be productive when you work from home (AKA when you’re in the same room as your hobbies and projects all day).
If that sounds familiar, read on for my hottest productivity tips for entrepreneurs – learned by very messy trial and error! – to keep you focused during your days so you can steadily make step-by-step progress on your long-term business goals.
1. Plan ahead
When you’re an entrepreneur there is always something on the to-do list. Always. Stay productive by organizing your to-dos by: daily, weekly, monthly, and no-deadline-but-still-needs-to-be-done. A paper day planner or calendar app with reminders are your best friends! Have Monday check-ins with yourself to evaluate where you are with client projects and business projects so you can set your intentions for the next few days. What NEEDS to get done? What do you WANT to get done?
If you feel completely overwhelmed by everything you have to do and could do, start by looking at your long-term goals, financial and otherwise, and work backwards. What needs to happen to reach that goal? What needs to happen before that, and before that?
2. Make a schedule, even if it’s fluid
It’s difficult to keep home life and work life separate when you work where you live and live where you work. Some business owners are adamant about office hours, but that approach doesn’t work for everyone. Some of us prefer to work when we’re inspired, and sometimes that’s at 10 pm, you know?
Making a schedule will look different for everyone, and that’s okay! Some people are more productive when they work from home by blocking off their entire day with specific tasks at each hour, and some work better by just working a set amount of hours based on their energy. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your schedule to see what works for you! Try out a specific morning routine for two weeks. Try checking your emails only once a day. Try doing content creation only on Mondays. Try doing client work only in the afternoons. You make the rules! Isn’t entrepreneurship fun?!
It’s also imperative to set time aside each week or month to work ON your business versus IN your business. Sometimes being an entrepreneur means being the accountant, customer service rep, social media manager, and janitor – but it always means being the CEO.
Scheduling frequent reminders to get up and stretch, refill your whiskey (I mean water), and play with your dog is also a good idea.
3. Give yourself a dedicated workspace
Create a dedicated workspace (even if it’s just a cozy corner!) so you can keep all your work shit together. I don’t always work at my desk, but I know that if I need the space I have it, and if I’m looking for an important document or my laptop charger I know exactly where they are.
If you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated workspace and really your “desk” is just the dining room table, that’s okay too! We gotta do what we gotta do, and there’s no shame in that. At the very least, try organizing your space at the end of every workday, or keep a basket of your supplies nearby so everything stays together and clutter-free.
4. Commit to just 30 minutes at a time
It doesn’t matter how many tips I give you for how to be productive when you work from home – some days you might just REALLY not feel like working. So don’t. What’s the point of working for yourself if you don’t have the freedom to make your own schedule?!
But on days that you really do need to get something done, make a deal with yourself that you’ll work on it for just thirty minutes. Literally set a timer and put your phone on Do Not Disturb. I’ll bet my last slice of leftover pizza that once you get going it’ll be easy to finish your project. And if not? You can call it a day knowing you put in a solid effort, do the thing you feel like doing instead, and try it again tomorrow.
5. Change the scenery or change your mind
It’s a lot easier to work from home when you wake up every morning excited to start working. If you’re constantly fighting procrastination, you might want to consider working in another setting, like a co-working space, a coffee shop, or even a friend’s house!
And if it’s not your environment that’s enabling your procrastination, it may be time to take another look at your business to make sure you’re doing the kind of work you actually want to be doing. Because you’re going to evolve as a business owner, and it’s important that your business evolves along with you (otherwise you’ll be trapped in a business you hate). You’re allowed to change your mind. You’re allowed to make your own rules. You’re allowed to build a business that supports your lifestyle instead of the other way around.
6. Find a community for support + accountability
It can be lonely out here for us online business owners, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s a lot to be said for your ability to handle your own shit, but having the support of a community that genuinely cares about you and your business is priceless.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a free Facebook group, a 6-month high level mastermind, a group text with your biz besties, or you hire a mentor to work with you 1:1; find the type of support and accountability you need right now to keep pushing you toward your goals and invest your energy there immediately.