The Secret to a Productive At-Home Work Day
Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Working from home was once an anomaly. It wasn’t until the last year that many jobs, including those in some medical fields, moved to remote positions. Now, thanks to video conferencing, even doctors, fitness coaches, and dietitians can work from their home computer at least part-time.
So how’s it going? Are you able to keep up with your workload the same as when you were working in the office? For many people, working from home is a bittersweet experience. While we enjoy more freedom working from home, we can also feel unproductive and overwhelmed when our work life and home life cross paths.
I am coming up on two years of working from home and finding that while it’s been great having the “extra” time, there are days that I feel like I’ve been working all day, and by dinner time, I still haven’t really accomplished anything. Do you ever get that feeling?
Here is one important step I take that helps me stay focused and productive working from home that can help you too.
How to Increase Productivity Working From Home
Start Early and Eat the Frog
I’m not saying you have to be a morning person, and I’m definitely not saying you need to start chowing down on amphibians for breakfast. If you’re not familiar with the term, it means to get the worst part of your day over with at the beginning, and the day will only get better.
If you like getting up at 5 am for a run and breakfast, then good for you. As for me and the rest of you who don’t fall into that category, when I say “start early,” I mean that you need to start work within an hour to an hour and a half of waking regardless of the time you get up.
“But Brandi…I need my coffee and my shower, and I need to check Instagram, and I need to reply to some emails, and I need to work out, and I need to make a healthy breakfast...”
I KNOW! I “needed” to do all those things too but unfortunately it led to a lot of procrastination. So look at it this way: when you worked in the office, did you get all those things done before work? If you did, again, good for you. But I certainly didn’t. Most days, I’d eat breakfast in the car. There were mornings that I didn’t have time to shower, let alone spend time on social media, and I honestly never worked out BEFORE work.
So if you did all those things and still can, keep up the good work, but if you’re like the rest of us mortals who value sleep over all else, then this is my advice to you:
Enjoy the extra sleep you get from not having to commute. Wash your face, make your coffee, tea, toast, or whatever it is that gets you out of bed, take it to your computer, and get to work.
This advice is the opposite of most “Create a Perfect Morning Routine” posts because as good as those sound, personally, I will not be able to sustain getting up early to get all those things done before a reasonable hour to start work.
You will need to find what works best for you. For me, my husband usually leaves for work around 7:45. My goal is to start work at 8:00, and today I got done with all my clients’ jobs by 10:30. The rest of the day, I worked on my blog, answered direct messages, did a little marketing, and even had time to go for a walk during lunch. Tonight I’ll feel relaxed, fulfilled and enjoy some light exercise and reading without any unfinished work looming over me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even start work until 10:30 or 11 o’clock and have to work late to get everything done.
Tailoring the Frog to Your Lifestyle
For most of us, that one “eating the frog” task will only take an hour or two, which is usually when I like to have breakfast. Of course, if you eat as soon as you get up, then do that first, but for me, I’m ready for breakfast around 10.
You can also use the break to shower and get ready, especially if you have any meetings that day or plan on leaving the house. Otherwise, try showering at night. It’s relaxing, and it’s always nice to get the day off of you before getting into clean sheets.
The important thing is at the end of the day, you feel accomplished and not overloaded with work. A significant factor in productivity loss is social media. You might want to make a rule that you can’t use social media until that frog is eaten. It will help you get your projects done faster and is a great incentive to stay focused.
Steps for a Productive Work Day at Home
Start work before you have a chance to get distracted.
Eat the frog first (What’s your most dreaded task of the day?).
Don’t use social media or check emails before you eat the frog.
Enjoy your midmorning break by making a delicious breakfast, stretching, or taking a shower.
Get yourself put together for the rest of the day. Wear some form of pants. Put on some makeup. Brush your teeth. Whatever you need to do to feel ready to take on the rest of the day, do it.
Still Don’t Have Enough Time in the Day?
You might be at a point in your career that no amount of organization or focus is enough to get everything done you need each day. Having too much on your plate can lead to serious burnout, and the quality of your work can decline.
If you find yourself needing a little extra help to get things like wellness blogs, healthcare articles, email campaigns, or social media posts written, send me a message, and we’ll schedule a free consultation!