- 21 tips to increase productivity when you work from home
(especially with kids)
- Keep a daily routine
- Create a work space that works
- Time Block
- Have no-technology zones
- Plan ahead
- Commute to your home office!
- Dress to work
- Manage Your Time
- Stay healthy
- Eliminate distractions
- Avoid multi-tasking
- Stay hydrated
- Delegate or outsource
- Use an accountability partner
- Be an early riser
- Take Charge of Communication
- Create physical boundaries
- When you’re working, act like it!
- Remind your children to let you work!
- How do you organize yourself to increase productivity when you work from home with your kids around?
Now that we must stay home to stay safe, how to increase productivity at work, especially when you work from home with kids? Here are 21 proven tips to make sure you stick to those deadlines without freaking out.
After all, don’t we all dream of doing more in less time so we can kick back, relax and spend time with our family? When I first started working from home, I think I quickly turned into a zombie, stressing over completing work in time while trying to juggle family time and housework. Most of all, I missed being with my son as much as I wanted to.
I realized I was not being disciplined enough with my time and got distracted too easily. I had to switch off that ‘always on’ mentality.
Without further ado, here are the 21 tried and tested tips that worked for me—and still do.
21 tips to increase productivity when you work from home
(especially with kids)
Keep a daily routine
I used to think working from home meant having the flexibility to work whenever I wanted. I was so wrong. Truth is, now, more than ever, is when we need a daily schedule if we want to increase productivity and keep work from gobbling up all your time. Start and stop work at the same time every day, exactly as if you were going out to work. This will ensure that there’s enough time to recharge.
Create a work space that works
Working from home means working from wherever you want, right? Yes, in a way, but I highly recommend creating your work space. Make it official. You need it to stay on track and get things done. Personalize your work space. Have a comfortable seat. Invest in a good quality office chair. If you can, try to ensure you have a door you can close. It can be really tough to work effectively from home when your folks are around. So you need a place to go to if you want to avoid distractions.
This is very important if you want to increase productivity. Make time your friend. You need to identify when you are at your most productive. Do you work best early in the morning? Whatever time of day it is, make sure your priority tasks are scheduled for that time. You’ll be amazed how quickly you get things done. The sense of accomplishment that follows is awesome!
Have no-technology zones
You need your laptop and cellphone to stay in touch with your work partners but the flip side to this is—they make you feel like you are always “on”. The next thing you know, you’re fighting stress.
So, set up no-technology zones at home—for example, when you eat, when you’re taking time off, and a couple of hours before bedtime so you sleep peacefully.
I could not survive without my to-do list! It does wonders to increase my productivity. I do not believe in deciding impromptu what to do—because that’s pure stupid—I would just end up spending too much time wondering what to do and too little time actually working.
It is difficult to achieve what we want to if we don’t know what we need to do. So, set daily goals.
Maintain a daily to-do list. Decide on what you need to finish the next day before you wind up for the day. And check off things as you complete them. Your outcomes will be much better. I have a black board hanging on a wall. When my son was little, he loved to wipe off completed tasks because that implied it wouldn’t be long before I spent time with him! I find it quite encouraging to see tasks disappear!
Commute to your home office!
I’d say take a short walk before you get to your work space, but now, since we can’t really go out, I suggest a quiet 10-minute meditation to clear your head. It will calm you, center you and get you ready for your day. You’ll be able to create a break between home tasks and work tasks and thereby increase productivity.
Dress to work
This is one of my favorite tips. And I urge you to follow it. Shower and dress to work. I know it is all too easy to rush from your kitchen dressed in an old t-shirt and track pants to your work desk, panicking over the ten-minute delay. I used to do that. If it is warm where you live like I do, ugh. Please dress well. It makes all the difference when you sit down to tackle your work tasks. Dress the part.
Manage Your Time
Even if it seems like the Holy Grail, you have to manage your time efficiently especially if you want to hit those deadlines.
Organize and prioritize key tasks with a to-do list to keep you from procrastinating or losing focus.
Make a list of minor jobs that take 10 minutes or so that you can fit into gaps in your day when you have the time. Don’t forget to take breaks.
Track how much time you spend on each task by setting up an activity log so you know how your time is being spent. This will also help you figure out when you are at your most productive, so that you can finish those tough jobs during that time.
I cannot emphasize this enough. To increase productivity, you MUST be kind to yourself and take care of your mind and body. All you have to do is try and schedule some exercise a couple of times a week—at least—even if it means just a walk around your block. It is something you can do as a family activity.
When working from home, distractions come from everywhere and this can send your focus all over the place. Sure, some people can watch TV while they’re working. My husband can do it. But that’s a minority. Me, not so much. In fact, I find turning off the TV, setting my phone to silent and closing all the unnecessary tabs—especially social media and email—helps increase productivity.
I set aside specific times during the day to check in so my time doesn’t get sucked up by notifications. It is worthwhile to look at which distractions affect you the most. And oh, don’t rule out those household chores and interruptions from family, friends and our own precious kids. Remember I mentioned a door earlier? Yup. Shut it if you want to accomplish your day’s tasks.
I know how hard that is—but do try and focus on only one task at a time You’ll finish it faster by giving it you complete attention. You’ll also be able to do more. Refer to your priority to-do list to pick one task at a time.
As simple as this sounds, you just cannot afford to ignore it. Drink water. Other beverages also count. Staying hydrated ensures that your brain and energy levels are optimal.
Delegate or outsource
Yes, you are Superwoman, but taking too much can burn you out or scatter your focus, making you tire yourself out over things that are not getting done—leading to stress and anxiety. Whenever possible, outsource or delegate tasks that are trivial or things you are not interested in doing. Which basically means you can outsource housework—especially cleaning. This will save you time, energy and stress.
Use an accountability partner
We tend to achieve most of the things we want to when we make ourselves accountable. So tell someone what you plan to achieve. Include a target date. Update your progress regularly. You will increase productivity and your chances of success. Plus, you have the added bonus of talking to someone should things not go according to plan.
While having a to-do list keeps you focused on what you need to do, sorting your tasks by priority is crucial if you truly want to be productive. Do the most important things as they are the ones that will sit heavily on your mind if you dont complete them. They are the tasks that probably bring in the bulk of your income! So give them top priority.
What?! Am I crazy? But yeah. Relaxing will increase productivity. You MUST learn to relax. In fact, schedule regular timeouts during the day. Even 5 min at a time will do. This will give you a breather to focus on yourself and your own needs. Your chances of getting stressed out are less.
Set alarms to remind you. Short breaks also energize you. A cup of coffee, sit by the window, get some fresh air, listen to a song, you figure out what zens you out. Also, it is important to get off that chair. I usually do some stretches 2-3 times a day—win win plus wakes up my sleeping muscles and contributes to my fitness.
Be an early riser
Seriously. You’ll get so much done when the rest of the world is still sleeping. When I have a tight deadline, the morning hours are my saviors. The utter silence, the peace of mind that everyone’s asleep, no chance of doorbells or phone calls – utterly blissful. And I get more done during those two or three hours before the household stirs. Such a great feeling.
By waking up earlier, you have better control over your day, achieve more. If you have no deadlines, you can still use the time to meditate, exercise, read, or anything you’d like to do. Especially if you have kids at home and are looking at ways to stretch your 24-hour day and increase productivity.
Take Charge of Communication
If you want to maintain your focus on all you want to do, take control of your communication—or it will control you! Schedule time to check in with your partners/managers/coworkers and also, when they can call you. Most minor issues can be resolved on the spot so you can carry on with your work without interruption after that. Use apps like WhatsApp for quick communication without getting tied up in marathon phone calls.
Create physical boundaries
Besides setting up your work space at home, let everyone know your working hours. Explain that you will be busy during that time. Set up your work space, preferably with a door, separate from your usual living space, so you can shut out distractions. And when you wind up work for the day, you can cut off from work!
When you’re working, act like it!
This tip ties in with #7 – dress to work. Have work clothes separate from clothes you wear at home. It sets the tone for the day and just in case you get pulled into a virtual meeting–you’re ready! You definitely don’t want to get caught in your pajamas and your hair in a mess! Also, avoid going into certain areas of the house, so that you know when you’re in work mode.
Remind your children to let you work!
Ensure that you have reliable childcare in place, and remind your children that when you’re in your office, you’re not to be disturbed. However, don’t be too rigid: one of the great joys of working from home is being there when they get back from school!
That said, here are some special tips for working from home with kids:
- Schedule your day carefully with your priority tasks. Decide hour many hours you can work, when you’ll return calls.
- How much can you achieve when your kids are busy with their own activities? When they are napping?
- Remember it is okay to be flexible if you are your own boss. Once in a while it is okay to join your kids in the yard if it is a beautiful day outside. It is a great way to bring down your stress levels and then, catch up on work once the kids are settled down.
- Plan activities for your kids to keep them entertained so you can have uninterrupted work time.
- Do invest in a good quality chair with good back support.
- And don’t forget a pair of quality headphones. You’re welcome.
When my son was a toddler, I set up a desk for him next to my table to keep him busy with stuff. Of course, there were interruptions, but eventually he did learn to focus on his own activities and that gave me work time. Plus, we enjoyed our meals together like two colleagues. Good times!
How do you organize yourself to increase productivity when you work from home with your kids around?
Do share in the comments. ♥