It's been nearly two months that I quit my job and since I have been traveling for a month and working for a month from home. Traveling was definitely the fun part, working from home was and still is a learning process.
You see, having a job provides you with structure. You know that you are going to work, you have your desk, you have your work colleagues, you have your work breaks etc...
Working for yourself means that you get more freedom to do what you want, but it can easily leads to procrastination if you are not being careful. So here are couple things that I personally do since I quit my job to remain productive on daily basis.
1. Find your work-style
What I mean by that is that being your own boss means that you can do whatever you want and work however you want. Find the work-style that will best contribute to your productivity. If you are not a morning person, leave the morning to other activities and work the rest of the day. Do you like to stay home or would you rather go to cafes, libraries or co-working spaces? Find your most productive hours and stick to it.
2. Dress to impress
Even if you are working from home, it is not a reason to dress down and stay in your pyjama all day. Treat working from home as if you would be going to a workplace everyday. Dress up, keep a good hygiene, keep a neat appearance. This will help you psychologically.
3. Have a Schedule
The first thing you get excited about once you get your freedom is :" Yes, I will finally be able to do what I want". But what is it exactly you want. Break it down in blocks of working hours. I personally like the trend of working 2 full hours and have a break. On busy days I will be working on 5 different topics, hence 10 hours of work, and on quiet one on 2-3 topics per day, hence 4-6 hours. But allocating time to work on a specific topic will help you be more productive and also help you work on other projects you are running. The most important is to progress on your project(s) every day. It is very easy to focus your time on one thing only and then realise at the end of the day you did not have time to work on other projects.
4. Remove Distractions
Nowadays, it is very easy to be distracted, especially with social media. What I personally do is the following:
- Check my emails twice a day. Once in the morning when I sit at my desk before starting working and once in the early evening.
- Check my Facebook and Instagram feed three times a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. I am not counting managing my Facebook group and communicating on Messenger with members of my team. This way I have a purpose to check my social media accounts rather than looking at it out of boredom to fill the time.
- Put my phone on silent during the 2h allocated time I work on a project. If the call is important, people will call me twice and with the new feature on iOS 11 for iPhone owners, the phone will actually ring.
5. Make Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly goals
Yep, I am that serious! This is a habit I kept from working a corporate job. I would set up 3 to 5 goals per quarter, meaning 12 to 20 goals per year and reverse engineer by breaking down the goals with different steps I need to complete.
For instance, if I want to lose X amount of weight by the end of the year. I need to go to gym at least 3 times per week, do a cardio session at least twice a week and eat healthy every day. I would create a spreadsheet on excel or just use a simple notepad app to monitor my daily activities, weekly and monthly progress.
The most important is to remain consistent.
6. Get outside at least once per day and socialise
Working from home is great, but do it every day and you will go crazy. Even me, as an introvert, need to get outside and be around people. Psychologically it helps to be surrounded by people and not feel lonely. I personally kept contact with my ex-colleagues and still meet them for lunch from time to time, or I would go work in a coffee shop for couple hours or I would go meet with couple friends to go play basket ball.
It is great to work but do not forget to take some time off.
7. Take a step back
Something I am just starting to apply more and more is to switch off once I am off my PC. I did it when I was working a corporate job so why couldn't I once I work for myself, even though I am passionate about what I do. This is important for your work-life balance and also keep a great relationship with your friends and family
8. Schedule your day the day before
Your schedule can fluctuate as you are the one in charge, however, having a schedule planned ahead will help you remain productive. List down all the tasks you need to complete for the next day and try to tackle as much as you can every day. Furthermore, prepare yourself and your office space. You might set out your clothes or prepare your lunch. You might also clean up your office and pull out any resources you might need for the next day’s tasks. A cleaner, more prepared office makes it easy to go straight to work without worrying about a mess.
There you have it, all the productivity hacks I use to make the most out of my days working from home. I won't lie to you, it requires discipline, and you need to find the right rhythm that will match with your lifestyle. But once you do, you will realise how beneficial it is for your business.