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How to be More Productive Working At Home and Guidelines for Blogging Productivity
Working from home can be simultaneously one of the most difficult and rewarding things you can do. In some ways it is so much fun because you get to set your work hours, wear whatever you want, and cozy up in your own home or local cafe...
But then there are the downsides.
The dishes are calling you.
Your environment becomes waaaay too familiar.
Distractions abound and your bedroom starts to feel like your workplace.
Working from home isn't all sunshine and rainbows, especially if you're trying to raise children at the same time.
That being said, it's still my preferred way to work and I wouldn't trade it for anything!
With a few good productivity tools under your belt, you can get a lot of work done on your business while working from home, all the while taking care of your family and keeping your household on track.
These are my best tips for staying productive while blogging from home.
1. Take Advantage of Nap Time
If you have kids, my number one tip is to take advantage of their nap and sleep times. I don't know about you, but working on my blog while my 2-year-old is running around is just about impossible. I don't even try anymore!
Nowadays I take advantage of early mornings, preschool hours, and nap time to get my work done. You can check out my full blogging schedule as a stay at home mom here, but suffice it to say that I try to make clear distinctions between time with my son and time working.
The two don't overlap very well, and this works out well for me because it forces me to stay super on task and focused when I have work time without him running around the house.
2. Get Your Most Important Task Done First
My second productivity tip for bloggers is to get the most important task of the day done FIRST! It's way too easy to start the day by checking your email and poking around on Facebook. But no matter how much we think we can restrain ourselves, all of us end up spending way too much time doing this, and not enough time on the important stuff.
I've now started checking my email only once or twice per day, well after my most productive work hours have been finished.
I also do my best to start every workday with a single goal in mind that, if I met that particular goal, would mean that I had done my very best work that day.
On some days, this is creating blog content for the upcoming weeks. Some days it is crafting new emails or filming videos for an upcoming course. Whatever it may be, remember that your brain is freshest when you first get started!
Don't spend that prime time on small tasks. Do whatever you have to do to dive into the hard stuff, and then you can sit back and relax with Pinterest and email tasks later.
3. Avoid Social Media Like the Plague
Next up? Avoid social media no matter what. I wish I could say that I'm somehow immune to the black hole of Instagram and Facebook, but I'd be lying. It is just way, way too easy for me to get sucked in and start watching YouTube videos all day or checking out other people's photos online.
My best productivity tip for avoiding this is to simply set a hard rule for yourself that you can't go on social media until your workday is done (or you go on lunch break). Sounds harsh, I know, but so far I haven't found a better way of keeping myself on task with social media in my browser tab, so this is my strategy.
Avoid, avoid, avoid.
4. Change Up the Scenery Every Few Weeks
Have you ever noticed that when your environment gets a little too familiar, your creativity takes a nosedive? Yeah, me too.
Switching up your environment every few weeks is an important part of staying productive. I like to check out new cafes and libraries in my area on a regular basis so that my scenery changes often enough to keep my creative juices flowing.
Of course, if you are one of those people who works best in a consistent, perfectly controlled environment, this may not be the tip for you. You'll know if that's your experience!
5. Work During Your Most Productive Time of Day
My next productivity tip as a blogger is to make sure you set your work hours for your most productive time of day. I'm a morning person, so I try to get the majority of my blog work done before noon.
Part of this is getting up before the rest of the house and getting in a little bit of work. Then I take my son to preschool from 9:00am to noon and work from a cafe during those hours as well.
Now if you are a night owl, working in the evenings will probably work better for you. The key here is to just figure out when your brain is most naturally creative and “awake”, and try to schedule your work time then.
The more creative you naturally are at a given time, the better your work will come out.
6. Restrict How Much Time You Have For Each Task
One of the built-in productivity tips that has served me well really well is restricting how much time I have to do something. Before I had any kids, this isn't something I did. And to be honest, I was way less productive then!
When you have all the time in the world to get a certain task done, it can take you forever. Here’s a little example...
When I was in high school, I had a teacher who would give us only a few days to get a major paper done. When the students objected to being given so little time for a 10+ page paper, he told us that it really didn't matter how much time we were given. Whether we were given two weeks or a month, he said we would still wait until the last minute to get it done.
Over the years I've come to realize that this is totally true, and one of the best ways to become more productive is to simply restrict how much time you have to get something done. Of course, having children in the house is a natural restriction!
Knowing that I only have three hours to work until I have to pick up my son, or an hour and a half for him to nap before he's ready to come out and play keeps me motivated to get the most important tasks done first.
If you don't have kids or any other natural restrictions to keep you on task, I recommend setting a timer for each of your tasks and only give yourself that much time to get it done.
You want the amount of time you have to be reasonable, but also a little bit on the tight side. Feeling like you're going to come up 5 minutes short will motivate you to work smart and work quickly, and get it done as quickly as possible.
7. Batch Your Tasks As Much As Possible
My last productivity tip is the one that made the biggest difference for me in the last year. If you've never heard of batching, here’s the logic behind it.
It turns out that switching from task to task takes your brain quite a bit of time and mental energy. The most productive way to work is actually to focus deeply on one or two different types of tasks so that your brain isn't constantly switching from writing emails to posting on social media to creating blog content to networking with other bloggers, and so on.
So how do I make batching work for me?
One way I batch is that I write an entire week's worth of blog content in one day. Sometimes more! I generally try to create an entire month's worth of blog content in just two or three days, because I'm able to focus solely on that task and create really good content that way. I don't worry about social media, or Pinterest, or any other blogging tasks. I just focus on writing.
After my blog content is all written, I batch the editing process. Instead of editing as I write or at the end of each blog post which would take me forever, I simply dictate all of my blog posts in a couple of days and then take one work session to edit all of them at once.
This is a rather boring task for me, but I'm able to get it done efficiently because I don't have anything else on my brain except for editing.
Another task I love to batch is creating titles for my Pinterest pins to send to my VA. Because creative brains work well when they are focusing only on one task, it's easy for me to get into the groove of coming up with high quality pin titles for a bunch of different posts. So, I'll usually set aside one work session to do nothing but write these pin titles for the next few weeks.
Not only is batching more productive than switching your brain from task to task, but I've also found that the quality of my work goes up when I do it.
You know how when you go to work out and it takes your body a good 10 or 15 minutes to really get into the rhythm of exercising? Well, your brain works similarly! When I start writing blog posts or pin titles, the first few minutes are usually a little rough.
I have to think a lot harder about what I want to say, the sentences don't flow as easily, and I don't feel as creative. Once I get into the swing of things however, the good stuff just flows and everything becomes so much easier.
8. Know What You Are Going to Eat That Day
One thing I love to do to stay productive even when I'm not working is to have a daily meal plan. I don't know about you, but I can spend forever staring at the fridge and trying to figure out what to whip up for way too long. And if my toddler is screaming while I'm trying to figure it out, you can quadruple that amount of time.
Having a meal plan and knowing exactly what I'm going to eat, with everything I need already in the fridge, is one of my best tips for staying productive. Here's the key though. You need to plan meals you actually like.
One of the reasons most people don't stick to meal plans is because they don't take the time to shop for and create meals that they're really excited about.
Don't go for something plain and boring just because you don't want to commit to a full meal plan. Come up with five or six recipes that you simply can't wait to eat, and put those on your weekly meal plan!
You'll be so glad you did, you'll save money, and you'll have so much more time in your day. Bonus points if you can prep your meals the night before or do a few freezer meals on the weekend!
9. Start Your Work Day Off With A To Do List
My last tip is a super important one. And that is to start off each workday with a short to-do list. It's important to remember that your brain is the most productive when you first sit down to work, so you don't want to waste any of that energy on social media, answering emails, or figuring out which task to work on first.
In a perfect world, we would all write down two or three main tasks we want to accomplish the day before our next work session. I say two or three because that is the number you are most likely to achieve. If you end up having extra time to do more, that's great!
But it's important to get into the habit of finishing your to-do list, instead of constantly feeling like you are behind. Make it super reasonable, write down two or three of your most important tasks, and then knock them out.
You'll feel super productive, be excited to get to work each day, and get more of the important stuff done in your business if you follow this little tip.
Working from home can be super rewarding, and it’s nice to not have to dress up every single day and head out the door into a traffic-laden commute. The key to working from home successfully as a blogger is staying productive!
These are my top tips for getting everything you need to get done and more in your blogging business:
Take advantage of nap time to work on your blog.
Get your most important task done first.
Avoid social media like the plague.
Change up the scenery every few weeks.
Work during your most productive time of day.
Restrict how much time you have to complete each task.
Batch your tasks as much as possible.
Know what you are going to eat that day and plan for it.
Start your work day off with a short to do list.
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