5. Screen Calls & Limit Distractions
Phone calls can become a distraction and before you know it an hour of productive work time has just gone out the window and your deadlines are not met… which means you end up eating into your home/family time. If you don’t need your phone, turn on the ‘do not disturb’ function so that you don’t get sidetracked.
I truly love my family and friends but they often assumed that because I worked at home, I wasn’t busy. I would screen my phone calls through the day and message those that had called to check they were okay and to let them know I was working and couldn’t take the call right then. If they had called for a chat, I would call them back later that afternoon, on the weekend or schedule a time to catch up for a coffee. I have even stopped answering the door for those dear lovely people who would come around and see if I was interested in putting solar on my roof, or signing up to something they were trying to sell. In the end they only served to distract me from my work.
6. Keep Your Desk Tidy
I love the saying “tidy workplace, tidy mind” because for me a messy desk is a distraction and disrupts productiveness, especially when I’m trying to find paperwork. When I worked from home my office didn’t have doors, so my desk was visible to everybody in the house. For my own sanity and love of being organised I liked to keep it tidy. It drove me crazy starting work with an untidy desk – it was like starting the day with an untidy mind, so I made sure that I left it tidy before I picked the kids up from school. It’s a habit that I still do today, even in my office away from home. On the flip side though, there is an article by David Burkus on Forbes which explains when it makes sense to have a messy desk and when to keep it tidy. If a messy desk resonates more with you then go with that – it’s all about finding your style of productivity and working with that.
7. Consider Your Attire
I love my PJs and could happily wear them all day, but it would also make me feel lazy and sluggish which in turn wouldn’t be very productive. Speaking of sluggish, when I was working from home and felt tired or knew that I had to get through a long to-do list, I would work in my gym clothes. It improved my mentality, made me feel more active, and helped me complete tasks quicker.
8. Use A To-Do List
When I worked from home around my children’s schedule, I had limited time to waste. This is why I created a Let’s Get Organised To-Do List. I am such a forgetful person, and still to this day rely on my to-do list daily. I put all tasks onto my list, then prioritise each one and add due dates. I usually look at my to-do list before I shut down each day so I know what is due the next day, I can then create a game plan with a quick glance at this list. I ensure that I complete my regular daily tasks before I start on my to-do list. I also spend some time managing my to-do list on a Friday afternoon to help me structure the following week.
9. Turn Off Notifications & Limit Multi-Tasking
Focus on one task and resist the urge to multi-task. Close down emails and switch off Facebook and Instagram… ooh the horror! It was amazing how much this improved my focus and how eliminating simple distractions like this allowed me to work more efficiently.