Ways To Be Productive When You Work From Home
Over the last few years, I do more in my business because I’ve learned ways to be productive. I’ve tried quite a few things and I know that some of it comes from the confidence of running a business, as well as the skill that I’ve acquired to make that happen.
Here are my top Ways To Be Productive:
Write a To-Do List Is a Major Way To Be More Productive
I want to talk about writing your tasks out and tips on how to do it effectively.
For many, to do lists are the only way they can get things accomplished efficiently. For others, they think to do lists are unnecessary.
But did you know…
Studies have shown that people who write things down, be it in a to-do list, a calendar, or just on a sticky pad, perform better than those who don’t.
The theory behind this is that when you write out exactly what needs to be done, what order they need to be done in and when they need to be finished, it reduces chaos within the brain. This is a big help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or not sure where to start. Just start your to-do list and it’ll start to come together.
When your list is done it will allow you to focus on each task because you don’t have to worry about forgetting an important step.
Much like trying to remember anything else, if you see it, hear it and write it down, it tends to stick with you longer than if you just do one (or none) of these things.
When done properly, a to do list can save you a lot of time and boost your bottom dollar. Again, it’s because you can work faster, more efficiently and therefore generate more sales quicker.
To do lists don’t work on their own. There are some things you can do to make them even more effective.
Prioritize Your Tasks
Life gets in the way at times so chances are you won’t get every task on your to-do lists completed. Make sure you are doing the most important tasks first. These will be the key tasks that make you the most money or get you closer to your goals.
When I first got started I heard a piece of advice and I have always follow it.
“Start with a money task.”
The reason behind this is because life gets in the way and if you’re only able to do one thing before you get distracted or pulled away – it will always be a money task.
After that I start working on my to-do list. I have TONS of things on my to-do list, but I know it’ll stay on the list until I make it a priority. Sometimes it stays on a When I Have Time List until I’m able to make it a priority list. That way I remember that I’d eventually like to do it – just not right now.
Create a Divided List For Productivity
Above I mention that I go through spurts of being extremely productive to semi-productive. I know that most days even when I don’t feel productive I’ve still accomplished at least three tasks that I need to do in my business.
I expect more of myself, but I also know that I don’t make taking time off a priority so I get burned out and can only manage a few tasks a day instead of the 1,001 that I have on my list. Haha. It isn’t that long but some days it feels like that.
Like right now. I absolutely LOVE hosting the Toolboxes on my new site Your Essential Toolbox, but there are a lot of moving parts. So not only have I made a to-do list and prioritized it – I also a goal of getting everything completed by Friday.
So what did I do?
I divided the list. The list is long and if I look at it as a whole it can get overwhelming, so I’ve decided to break up all the sales pages, JVPages, product set-up, etc into a list. Then I assigned certain tasks to different days.
Since the sales page is going to take the longest because there are over 45 contributors – I’ve broken that up into 3 to 4 days. For the most part, I copy and paste the information the contributors have provided for me, but I have the sales page as well as the download page that I need to do.
It’ll go by fast and in my mind doing 15 for three days is a lot easier than trying to do the entire 45.
So when you divide your list do what makes sense to you. This could be to add them to specific time slots and work on that specific task for 2 hours the entire week or it could mean breaking it up into manageable pieces.
It doesn’t matter how you make your list, as long as you prioritize the tasks and actively work on each section.
Plan Around Your Most Efficient Times
A few years ago I would tell everyone that I wasn’t a morning person and that would be the end of it. And I truly wasn’t a morning person. As a kid and into early adulthood I was extremely grouchy and unfocused in the morning. I didn’t like them at all.
But my priorities changed. I was growing a business with a child. When I started working my online business full-time he was 7. A seven year old has taken on some of his own personal responsibilities but they still need quite a bit from a parent.
In order to get my work done, homeschool my child, run my house and so much more – I started getting up early. Yes, the first few months were EXTREMELY hard, but now it is such a habit that my body will wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 am. Sometimes I’ll even sleep in until almost 6:00 am.
I get up because the time from when I get up and my son gets up is my most efficient and productive times of the day. These few hours are mostly uninterrupted. I now have a dog and a cat and they can require a lot of attention. I think I’ve finally managed to teach the dog that morning time is mine except when I put him out and feed him, but there is NO convincing the cat. She believes that all time is her time when she decides it. Thankfully for the most part she takes a nap right after she is fed. 🙂
These hours in the morning are when I make sure to do the tasks that require the most from me. When I have to fully focus and concentrate. After my son, Darien wakes up is when I can do the tasks that don’t require so much from me.
I also know that because I get up so early I don’t do a lot after 2 or 3 pm. I can work on a few tasks if I need to or I want to, but this time of day is usually reserved for my family time.
I’ve become a morning person but I know that there are some people who are complete opposites. So when is your most efficient times? Not sure. Think about when it is easy for you to get into the “flow” of work and can focus on what you’re doing. That time is usually your best time to work.
This could be in the early morning like me, in the later afternoon or even at night. Whatever time you work best, plan to do the most important tasks then.
Evaluate Daily, Weekly and Monthly
Evaluating is something that I need to work on in my business, but I feel like it is important. So how does one go about tracking?
Start with tracking your progress each day, week, and month. I’ve seen people use Evernote by creating a list of completed tasks and I’ve used Toggl in the past. It helps you see what you’re spending your time on.
Then evaluate daily, weekly, and monthly. You’ll want to take some time to look back over everything to see what worked. Analyze what you were doing. Schedule this on your calendar or put it on your to-do list. Make it a priority.
- What didn’t work?
- Why didn’t it work?
- What can you do differently?
- What might need to be scrapped?
- What needs to be added?
By analyzing what you’re going it’ll help you cut the tasks or products that are sucking up your time and not making you any money or aren’t of value to you. Plus it’ll show you what is working, what your audience likes, and then you can adjust to make content, blog posts, and products based on that.
You won’t know unless you track and analyze.
Last December I bought these amazing journals from Brandon Burchard called The High Performance Planner. These help you evaluate your overall business and life – it isn’t just about being productive.
He focuses on being a better you by evaluating daily, weekly, and monthly on what you could do better.
If you’ve had something on the bottom of your to do list(s) for more than a couple weeks, chances are it’s not as important as you once thought. So take the time to re-evaluate it. Is it really important?
I have a to-do list on things I’d like to try or want to get done. These are amazing ideas, so I keep them at the bottom or in a different section so that when I decide to make them a priority I can move it to my main to-do list. I don’t feel obligated to get these done and I don’t stress over them. If I did – I’d have to weed out the ones that I really wanted to do and get rid of the rest.
But I’ve also had to take a few off because they’re never going to get done or I’ve decided not to go forward with them.
So look at your list and consider removing some of these items from the list. It will keep you from stressing about not getting them done and you can always move it to a future bucket list.
Removing something is one of the hardest things that you do because normally you have an emotional attachment to the idea. A couple of years ago I wanted to start a site and worked consistently on it for 6 months. The concept was great and it was going to be an amazing site but I had a mental hangup or something and so I eventually ditched the idea.
After I made that hard decision to let it go I’ve been less stressed and I moved on.
Letting go can help you move to the next thing that might move your business in a different direction. A better direction.
Outsourcing Your Way To Be More Productive
I never came into growing my own business with the intention of doing it all by myself. I knew from the get go that I was going to outsource some of my tasks because of my decision I’ve outsourced small and not so small tasks as soon as I could afford to invest in it.
Outsourcing and working with a team is a skill that you must develop, but it is worth it.
You can start with simple tasks that must be completed in order to reach your goal. You should always remember that Just because a task needs to be done, doesn’t mean YOU have to do them.
In fact, you should be working towards outsourcing any tasks that don’t need your personal attention. If you find the right assistant(s), chances are, it’ll save you money in the end.
I will give you a few tips.
- Only assign them one task at a time. Don’t overwhelm them.
- Give them step-by-step instructions.
- Always make sure that if they have questions – they can come to you.
I’m still working on these but you never want to overwhelm whoever is helping you because then they’ll stop. I’ve done this multiple times and so I work extremely hard to only assign one task at a time and explain it thoroughly.
I’d love to hear your best ways to be productive below in the comments.