How To Be Productive When You Work From Home

by JR Griggs

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productivity Working from home has been an amazing experience and I would now consider myself unemployable. I could not imagine going back to a full time job. I make my own hours, I set my own pace. It’s been great!

But it took some time to get use to it and be productive. It is really easy to get lazy. So here are some of the issues that I had to deal with.

Motivate Yourself

Being that you no longer have a boss over you shoulder pushing you harder, you have to do this yourself. You need to be a self motivator to get things done and always be moving forward.

I found many times at first that I was satisfied with whatever I was doing even if I was not getting nearly as much done as I should. There was no one there to tell me I was slacking.

Eventually I had to realize this and start to expect more of myself and to push myself harder. Suddenly I noticed that I was getting much more done in the same amount of time. I just need to push myself and remember that if I don’t I will end up working for someone else again.

If I needed any motivation I could always drive by those guys on the streets holding signs for a restaurant.

Always make sure that you are staying motivated and ready to not only get the job done but to be working on the next big thing.

Schedule

Although one of the benefits of working from home is the freedom you have. You still need to set a schedule in order to stay productive. One thing that was really hard to get use to was making my own hours. It would seem like this would be easy but it was hard to adapt.

At first I just thought “hey I can start whenever I want”. This was not as great of an idea as I thought. See I was starting at like 10-11am and thought it was the greatest thing. The problem was that my wife and kids were still starting there days at 7-8am. So at 5pm dinner was almost ready and they were expecting daddy to be available. This meant that I was only working on average 5-6 hours if I took a lunch break.

Although I hope to someday only work a few hours a day at this point I am still in the 8hr mode as I am doing a lot of different things. 5-6 hours wasn’t cutting it.

So then I started working again after the kids went to bed and would work late. Of course my wife did not like this.

So eventually I had to start working earlier so that I had more of a normal day. Don’t get me wrong it is still far better than getting up at 6am so I can be at a job by 8am and home by 6pm.

Right now I usually getup at about 7am and take a couple hours to eat with the family and do some reading, news etc… Then I try to wrap it up between 5-6pm. This has been better for us as a family. I also am getting more work done this way.

Check your schedule and see how much work you are getting done and how you can adjust it to be more productive and keep everyone happy.

Set Boundaries

Because I have a wife and kids at home, this too took some time to set some rules for productivity.

It was really hard for the kids to understand that although daddy is home it is not a weekend. It was also hard for my wife. It was real easy for her to forget that I am working and want to go to a store or the beach. Although I have been able to do that and adjust my schedule so that I have the freedom to hang out with them whenever. You have to be careful that it does not become the norm which will slow productivity a lot.

To be honest those days where I can take them to a movie in the morning or go to the beach have been motivational in themselves. I am just always careful that I do not start doing stuff like that everyday and never getting any work done.

Make sure you also have some rules about when you can be disturbed and when not. When I have my door shut is usually the sign that I should not be bothered and that has worked well. And try not to take for granted the opportunity that you have.

Turn It Off

Turn off anything that distracts you. That could be email, Twitter, TV, whatever it is that pulls you away from work. Occasionally I will have to shut down the email and Twitter so that I can get work done.

If you are doing things that don’t involve the internet you can disconnect from that too. Often I can get very distracted with news etc.. And if I just watch one YouTube video that can take an hour due to all the related videos 😉 Not good!

Try to disconnect and turn it off when you can.

Get Out

Finally one thing that does help is that if I have a lot to do, I will sometimes get out of the house and go to a coffee shop where it is quiet and has few distractions.

For some reason just the change of scenery and the atmosphere help me to be more productive. There are much less distractions and I can just focus on the task at hand.

Besides, it is another one of those cool freedoms that you can work from anywhere. Many would love to have their office be at a mall food court or a Panera Bread.

 

What areas have you struggled with and what tricks have you learned along the way?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Acts7

Hey JR. Yes indeed.
First off – it truely is a blessing to be able to work from home. I praise God for the opportunity.
This is a great post. And I agree with all that you’ve written.
One thing I would add – is setting boundaries for your clients and prospective clients. You have to set their expectations of when you are available to them. I still work five days a week but I’m only available three of those days. I leave time in my day and allow for emergencies on those other two days. But if you let your clients know up front…
For example, existing clients:
I am only available
Monday – afternoons
Tuesday & Wednesday – whenever they may need me
Thursday – limited access to respond and varies as to how soon I can get back to them.
And Fridays not at all.

For new clients. I will only discuss prospective business in the afternoons. I have found that there is too much to accomplish in the mornings, to worry about any prospectus or Q&A sessions.
Plus it allows me to be thoroughly prepared.
I do discuss new business on Fridays. But will make exceptions for out of town clients.

Having these boundaries really allows me to get the work done in a week that needs to get done – while allowing me to decide on new business.

The other thing you forgot to mention was “First things first”. I am a firm believer that EVERYONE needs to adopt this principle. By first things first – I mean:

Everyone should spend some time in the mornings reading their bible and talking to God about the day ahead. Praying about how to be a better husband and father. Sure there are people who don’t believe in God. And yes they can skip this step. But I tell you it makes a huge difference in my life… not just having God be a part of my life but having him be the center of my life.

Finally tithing. When you work from home this is an almost essential role that so many of us take for granted. Especially when you are working from home. When you rely on others need for business and their ability to pay … its all the more important to give God your first fruits. The bible clearly states “Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

Tithing really could fall under being disciplined or motivated. Because really its about disciplining ourselves to live on 90% and giving back to God. I recently have been convicted on this as we weren’t being faithful. And the very day I decided God was first, God turned around and blessed us beyond what I could have imagined.

In closing, wanted to share my thoughts. And like I say you have great points. Just a few more pieces of meat to chew on for you and your audience.

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