‘Productive’ doesn’t always describe your day, does it? It can be hard for all of us. My wife and I both work in a home-based business and you would think that it would be easier to be productive. Well, it might be- if it wasn’t, well…at our home! Let’s face it, there are plenty of distractions every day for every one of us. Getting stuff done is a job in and of itself.
Take the conversation I had with my wife last night, for example.
We finally had a few minutes to sit down together, uninterrupted. It was around 9:00pm. I asked about her day and the late meeting she had just attended and then we discussed our plans for the next day. We had recently discussed some goals and how we were “really going to stick to them this time!”. I asked her if she’d hit her goal for the day. Her response will probably sound familiar:
“I got nothing done! Absolutely nothing. It has been a non-stop day today!”
Have you ever said that or felt that same way? Why is it so stinking hard to get stuff done!?
If you’ve said these same things or felt the same way (and I’m guessing you have!), then hang in there. There is hope.
6 Steps to Being More Productive
Not all of these ideas may be applicable or maybe even attainable for you. However, learning to find what works and having options is a big step in the right direction. For many of us (whether you’re a home-based business owner or not!) we simply need some traction to help us get moving. Pick a few of the ideas below and see what works for you.
- Write it down. I say this all of the time but I believe in it so much! “What gets written, gets done!” For many people, their day gets going and their list of what has to get done grows with each passing hour. Soon, they find themselves at the end of the day wondering where all of the time went and why nothing got done. It is a simple practice, but writing down what MUST get done can mean the difference between a very productive day and an unproductive one. Simply write down what you need to do. Prioritize it, and then do #1 until it is done. Then move on to #2 and so on.
- Stretch and Breathe. It has been proven that stretching and focusing on your breathing can reduce stress and can trigger feelings of relaxation and mood improvement. It doesn’t have to be a full-out yoga session (although that’s not a bad idea), but take a few minutes each day before the craziness of the day hits and try it. I recommend a good foam roller to work out the knots and get the blood flowing (like this one). This simple practice can be a great way to set the stage for a very productive day.
- Get Up Earlier. This is something that has not always been easy for me but has made a huge difference in my day. While I am losing some much needed beauty sleep, I am gaining some space to myself. I have never considered myself to be a morning person. Maybe you aren’t either. But forcing myself to get up five days a week before the rest of the family wakes up has become sacred time for me and has helped me to do some of my best work. My mind is much clearer in the morning and it is easier to write down what needs to get done (as in point #1) and think clearly about my priorities as well.
- Turn Everything Off. Let’s say that you’ve taken my advice and you’ve prioritized your day. You are now working on priority #1. To be truly productive and focused, you must be fully present. That can be hard to do when your phone keeps beeping at you and alerting you to a new text or Facebook post about cats or squirrels on water skis. (you know…the important stuff!) As much as you’d like to see that crazy squirrel, turn off the notifications. Turn off the t.v. Turn off the distractions. As much as possible (and I realize that sometimes that seems or is impossible to fully do), this may be the most important step in the entire list. Eliminate what you can and you’ll be able to do more than you thought.
- Set a Timer. One of the best ways that I’ve been able to help motivate my kids to be more productive is with an old-fashioned timer (okay, my timer is an app now, but it works the same way). I will set the alarm (or just make the kids think that I have) and then I tell them, “You have 15 minutes to get as much done as possible and then you can go on with your day.” It’s amazing to see how much can get done! The same is true for you and I. Set a timer for yourself. You’ll surprise yourself with how much you can get done when your mind believes that you only have a limited time to get things done.
- Take Breaks and Move. A lot of the work that I do is done in the same spot: in front of my computer and sitting down in my home office. Because that is true, this productivity tip is especially helpful for me. When I find myself getting bogged down or my mind starts to feel drowsy and unfocused, I know that it is time to move. Literally. It may be as simple as putting my work down and going to get a drink and chatting with my wife for a minute. Or it may be starting a different project outside or in another part of the house. Whatever it is, the trick is to move. Take a break. Get somewhere else and then come back and start again. It is incredible how effective this can be at re-setting your brain and helping re-energize you at the same time.
Like anything, learning to be more productive takes practice. But simple tips like these can dramatically increase your productivity and change the way you feel throughout your day. Pick one or two options and give them a try. Find out how to create some rhythm in your life (I wrote about that here and may help build off of this subject) and you will soon find that little steps can create big changes and help you in your goal to become more productive.
What works for you? Please comment and share what you have learned or what you do to be more productive in your home-based business. Do you know someone who this may help? Please share it on your social media by clicking on the links below and tag a friend in it!