Productivity tips for working at home

Productivity tips for working at home

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Home office

This is a guest article by Jennifer Moline* outlining some tips & ideas on how to set your self up for success when working at home.

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Set Yourself Up to be Successful

You can set yourself up to be successful by knowing where you are weakest. If you are the weakest in being able to self-motivate then create a scenario of work, fun, work, exercise, work, TV. If there is a particular show on TV that you like to watch at 10 AM, then determine a portion of the current graphic design project you want to have complete, then watch your show.

If concentration is your weakness, then purposefully build up your concentration endurance by focusing for 30 minutes only, then get up and walk out in the back yard and pull some weeds then sit back down for 30 minutes again.

Have two or three places when you can do your work. Do you have a back porch on your house? Take your laptop and work a portion of the day on the lounge chair. Do you have a favorite recliner in the den or living room? Do a portion of your work day with your feet up. Do not hold a prison term mentality to your home-based business.

Time-Line Your Day

Lay your entire day out the night before. This includes lunch, your graphic design project(s), picking up the kids from school, your graphic design project, dinner, family time, your graphic design project(s). Design your day!

These are goals that you are working towards and if you go over the hour, that’s OK, just keep working. Forever more, do not punish yourself.

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Break the Project Down

If you have a complicated graphic design project that a client needs finished by close of work tomorrow, you break the project up into bite-size pieces.

One idea is to create a pocket chart so each section represents one hour of your day. Slip a card stock bookmark in the pocket with “Bite #1 – sketch the graphic design” written on it for that particular hour and so on. Reward yourself as you finish Bite #1 from 8 am to 9 am, put a star on the bookmark or a magic marker “X” through it. This process also gives you a visual for your day so you do not have to mentally retain the entire day’s work.

Obviously, we all work in different ways, so try find what works best for you! Within a few weeks you may suddenly realize that there are more perks than negatives.

Have you got any unique personal tips to add?

*Jennifer Moline writes about freelancing, small business and design for the PsPrint Blog. Feel free to follow PsPrint on Twitter and Facebook.

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35 thoughts on “Productivity tips for working at home”

  1. Those are some great tips! I’d like to add that having a calendar on your wall with your weekly schedule planned out can be a great motivational work reminder. Glance up and you can see what you have to do and when it is due.

  2. Great tips – definitely agree on splitting up projects into bite-sized small ones. That helped me out many times.

  3. This article is quite interesting, i do tend to get distracted quite easily. But i think my greatest weakness it to try to do too many things at the same time.


  4. Great post! I love the note about changing up where you work. I often take the laptop to coffee shops on days when I don’t need the real estate of my second monitor.

    One thing I learned early on is to NEVER work in your bedroom or near your bed. It’s a ticket to snooze city, and you work will get real lazy real fast.

  5. The bite-size pieces is what works for me – as well as the getting up and leaving the work sometimes. Just walk away; jump on the motorbike and go for a ride 🙂

    It’s real annoying getting distra- hey, a notification 😀

  6. I had just finished designing a website template, read this post and was bout to type this comment when POP went my facebook notification. Typical case of distraction. Sure, I’m going to check the notification but sometimes I slip into the luring arms of that time-consuming necessary evil. a.k.a FACEBOOK. This is not to throw mud on the social netwroking site. Matter of fact I love it and use it everyday to support my business and personal stuff. But sometimes it tends to eat me up when I have looming deadlines. Help. Anyone?

  7. Great tips! I definitely enjoy having several “go to” places in my house that I like to work in. When one place gets stale, I move on to the next for some new motivation and inspiration! Sometimes the setting makes all the difference.

  8. Great article. My weakest points is having too much family around. I think if I lay out my schedule daily where they can see it – they will understand I’m actually working and should not be disturbed.

  9. Agree with Mike Watters, a coffee shop near me is essentially my second office; the change of scenery is important to keeping your mind fresh, I feel. =]

  10. Blimey I need this advice… it’s a struggle battling with the productivity when you’re slaving away (or not) on your own. Thanks for sharing

  11. True, breaking up projects is great. But the only problem is when you have multiple similar priority projects. Choosing the right one gets tough.

  12. Great advice. I do agree with you on not punishing yourself, because if you do, your life becomes miserable, and your mood can affect the outcome of your work.
    I really loved “Design your day!”


  13. Personally I’ve found the best way to be productive a relatively simple one, that requires little to no planning.

    I put myself in an environment where I have no choice except to get my work done so that I have to be creative. This usually means no internet, no TV, etc.

    I head down to a little hidden gem called Tea Parlour in Sydney when I do this, and always manage to pump out massive amounts of work.

  14. I am also a freelancer and the problem I suffer most if how to manage the time…I often just log in for a minute and minutes turned into hour. I often miss important occasions because of my works online. Do you have any tips on how not to do that?

  15. I liked the “prison term mentality” analogy – why is it that we think we need a truly spartan environment to be productive? Enjoying the surroundings doesn’t take – it adds to the focus and level of concentration. And fresh air helps with the blood circulation and enhances our brain’s functionality.

  16. What i would suggest for the same is, rather than writing the list vertically when we start writing horizontally. The importance of every topic ll increase, cos when ever i write things vertically i hardly finish 3 or 4 the rest 2,3 ll remain in my everyday list. so Horizontal writing works for me!!! try if it does the same for u too..

  17. Great tips, I’ve found doing something physical can really help put my brain in a different place and freshen up my perspective – I play drums so sometimes do this for 20 minutes when I’m getting lethargic or bored.

  18. Thought I might add this “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies… It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.” – Albert Einstein

  19. Those are some great tips! I’d like to add that having a calendar on your wall with your weekly schedule planned out can be a great motivational work reminder. Glance up and you can see what you have to do and when it is due.

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