Happy Friday friends! I don’t know about you, but Fridays are a pretty fun day for me. If I’ve done a good job staying focused during the week, my Fridays have a fairly light workload. They’re my “swing days” – when I’m able to work on checking off all the random items that got pushed to the end of my to-do list during the week, and get myself prepped for the week to come.
I’ve been working from home full-time for a few years now, and loving it! But staying motivated everyday isn’t always easy. Sometimes I just want to sleep in, and enjoy coffee in bed. Ever get that feeling?
Over the past years, I’ve learned a TON about how to create an environment that allows me to work more efficiently and stay motivated throughout the entire week. Here’s 10 tips that can help you do the same.
1. CREATE A WORK ONLY ZONE
I cannot stress this one enough — it’s made such a difference in my productivity! Whether it’s a separate room, or just a desk in your hallway, having a dedicated work space is so helpful in getting your mind ready to work. Choose a place in your home where you’re able to keep a calm spirit and have the least amount of distractions. I work best when I have lots of natural light and can see all the critters (birds, squirrels, deer) outside.
2. KEEP A (SOMEWHAT) CONSISTENT SCHEDULE
Set regular work hours and hold yourself accountable to keeping them. Working from home can take some practice and discipline, and keeping a schedule will make it easier to get in the mindset that it’s time to work. That said, one of the perks of working from home is the ability to be flexible. If I have a light week, I like to take an afternoon and do something fun that gets me out of the house for a bit.
3. USE A TASK LIST & PRIORITIZE YOUR DAY
I’m partial to the Bullet Journal Method of task tracking. But I’ve modified it to work within my personal workflow. If you remember nothing else from this post, please remember this: find a system that works for you and stick to it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten sucked down the rabbit hole of looking for a better solution, or trying a new productivity app. I’ve lost hours messing around and setting things up, only to go back to my original method.
4. MAKE BLOCK-SCHEDULING WORK FOR YOU
When I sit down to prioritize my task list, I also block out my time for the week. I prefer to work on no more than two projects per day. This allows me to dig deep into each project and get more done than if I tried to work on every project every day.
I also like to use the 52 / 17 method to block out my day. 52 minutes of focused work, with a 17 minute break away from your desk. I use the 17 minutes to grab a snack, empty the dishwasher, or go for a short walk. I have trouble sticking to this one sometimes, but when I do my output is better, my house is cleaner, and I’m a much happier person at the end of the day.
5. LISTEN TO MUSIC
It’s amazing how much music can influence your mood. Find music that fits the type of project you’re working on, and change things up throughout the day as you move from one project to the next.
6. SET THE MOOD
Having a dedicated work zone and great music can do a lot to set the mood. But don’t forget to also surround yourself with things that make you happy and inspire you. Update your desktop wallpaper, use your favorite coffee mug, and spring for office decor that you love.
7. DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHAKE THINGS UP
Sometimes a girls just gotta get out of the house! If you find you’re having an off day, try going to a coffee shop, co-working space, or library to refocus.
8. STAY HYDRATED & TAKE TIME FOR LUNCH
I’ll admit it – I’m terrible at taking a lunch break. I get wrapped up in what I'm working on that I don't want to take the time to eat. And I can tell the difference in my mood and attention span. So don’t be like me – give your body the fuel it needs to keep you happy and healthy.
9. LEAVE WORK AT "WORK"
When I first started working from home I felt like I was supposed to be tied to my desk all day long. And I felt so much guilt at the end of the day that I would continue working (not very productively, I might add) till it was almost time to go to bed. Needless to say, working this way burned me out and I lost some of my love for design in the process. I’m happy to report that this is no longer the case. Do I still pull some late hours? Sure, when it's needed. But I also give myself time to breathe and rest up in between work days. Give yourself time at the end of each day to relax and think about something other than work.
10. HAVE SOME GRACE
It’s so easy to play the comparison game and look at what everybody else is accomplishing. But if you’re intentional with your time and working towards your personal goals, then you’re on the right track. Remember to have some grace for yourself, and stay positive. It may take a while for you to get into the habit of being your most productive self, but you’ll find your sea-legs and what works best for you if you keep working towards that goal.