Working from home is only one part of most of our lives, and by its very nature it competes more with our daily activities than other jobs do. This is because it is difficult to separate working at home from other things that compete for our attention at home. This is exactly why I chose to set work-at-home New Year’s resolutions this year, and I hope sharing them will help some of you as well.
Set Working Hours
Maybe it is before the kids get up and after they go to bed. Maybe it is while the kids are at school or while they nap. Maybe you do not have children but you need to remember to set appointments, schedule coffee dates, and do house work at certain times, leaving working hours to be just that, working hours. One major key to productivity while working from home is to have set working hours. My resolution is to get up and work an hour before everyone else gets up, and stay up and work two hours after everyone else goes to bed.
Develop a Routine
A routine is easier to follow than a strict schedule, and it leaves some wiggle room for things that may happen unexpectedly. It also leaves room for spontaneity, which is the spice of life in my opinion.
A routine says I will do these things today in this order, spending this much time on each thing and starting at this time. A schedule says “I will eat breakfast at 7:00 a.m., exercise at 7:30, and shower at 8:00…” While this isn’t a bad thing, it can be discouraging and stressful to get behind. With a routine you are developing habits and getting things done, but not stressed or discouraged by a clock.
There are numerous ways to help yourself stay focused. There are programs available to help you avoid distractions such as email and Facebook while working. Working in a distraction free area is great as well, but not really an option for many moms that work at home with children.
Hydration is also key for focus, as I have seen not only with myself but also with my children when it comes to school time. Some people use essential oils to help with focus. We have found diffusing a blend of peppermint and lime is great for this. Peppermint is proven to improve focus, which is why there are often peppermints available during testing and training workshops!
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My favorite trick for focus is an energy drink called Spark, by Advocare. It does have caffeine, but also a mix of vitamins and minerals that offer incredible focus, with very little sugar. There are other supplements that claim similar results, and one of them may work for you.
Find a way to stay focused on work and quickly get back on task after distraction. (I do not sell Advocare products or essential oils really, but I do use and love both Spark and my essential oils.)
One of my most motivating factors during this past year has been the “Make Over Your Mornings” course by Crystal Pain. It takes about 15 minutes a day for fourteen days to go through the course, and it is life changing. It isn’t really about getting up early, though it sounds that way at first. It is more about getting things done and living a more rewarding life. You can click here for more information and to try the first day of the course for free instantly!
Another tool I have used is the Motivated Moms app. The checklists help me wrap my arms around my day and keep things in perspective. There are printable lists as well, for those who prefer a paper list over an app. These are truly the best editable checklists I have found for staying on top of things. They are designed for house work, but editable so I add work and other tasks to them as well.
Take Care of Yourself
This is one of my struggles. My goals for 2016 are simple. Eat better, drink more water, and take my vitamins daily. I know this does not sound like a work related resolution, but I am hoping being healthier will help me stay motivated and focused.
I would caution you if a multivitamin or other supplement is on your resolution list. There is evidence that cheap vitamins really are not as effective because they do not absorb as well. I am a huge skeptic, and I did not believe this until I actually a tried a higher quality (more expensive) supplement. I could honestly tell a difference in how I felt after a week or so. I am now a believer.
These are resolutions I am making in my work-at-home life this year. I have other resolutions that pertain to other areas of my life, but these are those that I hope help me be more productive at my job, and maybe they can help you too. What are your New Year’s resolutions?