Productivity is a word that tends to get thrown around a lot, but most people only use it in sentences asking the average person to hunker down and get to it. Few people actually give you tips on how to achieve that quality of being able to produce good results consistently from your work. When you work at home for yourself or an employer, these tips are even more important.
In the modern world, productivity is a common ideal. It does not have to be the measure of much work you can accomplish in your job. Productivity can also be about completing the things you need to do at home, or even during your leisure time. The point is that you can get more things done in the same amount of time or even less.
Without further ado, here are 93 quick productivity tips that you can apply to your daily life. Note that while we used the word “work at home” here, in practice, these tips can be used to organize your personal and social life as well. And so, we begin.
Things To Do Before Work
This section presents tips that are intended to help you complete your tasks in an organized manner through proper preparation. “Fortune favors the prepared mind”, as Louis Pasteur said, so keep that quote in mind as you peruse this array of pre-work prep tips.
1 Make a list of your tasks for the day.
A simple checklist of the things you need to do can be surprisingly helpful at keeping you on track. Aside from ensuring that you don’t forget to do any of the written tasks when you see how much left you have to do, you can get serious about work. This can also help you avoid forgetting something and embarrassing yourself.
2 Check your agenda for the next few weeks.
There are times when tasks that have deadlines weeks from the current date will require preparation. As such, it is the best policy to always know what you should be doing within the next few weeks, so you can manage your time and resources properly. Remember to stay flexible, as changes can happen within those few weeks.
3 Use an app to keep track of your checklist.
If you have a smartphone, put it to work and use it to keep track of the things that need doing for the day. Apps like these can also help you prepare your schedule for weeks in advance. Remember that a smartphone is only as smart as the person who is using it.
4 Set up reminders for meetings and tasks.
When you set up a reminder on your cellphone, you are reducing the risk that you will run late or miss appointments and tasks altogether. Setting a reminder can also take a load off of your mind and allow you to concentrate better on the task at hand. If you’re working in a public area, do make sure that your reminder ringtone won’t bother nearby people, or you could be lessening their productivity.
5 Prepare all the materials that you need.
Though arguably this can be considered part of the work that you do, for argument’s sake let us put it in this category. Having all the tools and supplies close at hand makes it easy to complete tasks because you won’t have to break your concentration (or spend time) going to get something.
6 Set your cellphone to silent or vibrate-only mode.
Loud ringtones don’t just break your concentration but also that of your family or the people around you unless you’re in your home office. We don’t quite recommend turning your cellphone off during normal working hours because there may be urgent matters that can only come to your attention through your cellphone. However, Do Not Disturb and Airplane Mode are ideal when you really need to unplug.
7 Have a personal SIM and a work SIM.
If you can afford it (and if you have a high volume of message/call traffic on your cellphone), then get different SIM cards for your work and personal lives. You could put them in different cell phones, or on a single dual SIM phone, or just swap them in and out as needed. The idea is that you pay attention when the work phone rings and can choose to ignore the personal phone until you have the free time to check it.
8 Choose neutral ringtones.
This is a little less obvious. Using humorous ringtones or ringtones that carry some sort of emotional significance for you can be distracting. When you’re co-working or in a coffee shop, It can also bother nearby people. Using “neutral” ringtones – ringtones that simply notify and do not entertain – means that there won’t be emotional baggage with every ring, and you’re less likely to bother other people.
9 Turn off notifications.
If you’re in the flow zone while working, or want to be, turn off your notifications on your apps. There’s no need to have Facebook notifications popping up in your peripheral vision when you’re trying to accomplish something important.
10 Manage your e-mail settings.
Setting a filter to redirect and categorize your e-mail messages can be helpful, especially if you use one e-mail address for your work and personal life. This way if something pops up in the personal e-mail inbox, you can let it slide ‘til later, while something that comes into the work inbox deserves at least a cursory glance.
11 Proper workspace setup.
While having your own home office means that you can usually add things that express your individuality, adding too much personality to your workspace can be distracting. How can you focus on that spreadsheet when your kids’ to do lists from school or half-done project is taunting you? Here’s the tip in a nutshell: Decorate your workspace with and only allow things in that help you stay focused on the job.
12 Check your tools and equipment.
Whether you work in a home office, from your kitchen table, or the beach, you should always check your tools and equipment before starting work. That way you can ensure that you won’t waste time while in the middle of something important later on. Additionally, making sure your needed devices are charged or are within reach of a charger will save time. Keep multiple chargers and plugs near wherever you work each day and don’t move them.
13 If you didn’t do so the day before, tidy up.
There are times that you might end up calling it a day without cleaning up your workspace. While this is sloppy, it is also sometimes unavoidable, especially during if you needed to stop unexpectedly. In any case, if you come into your office after having left your space dirty the day before, your first order of business should be to tidy up in preparation for the day ahead.
14 Distribute data and supplies.
People can’t do their jobs if they are not supplied with the data and supplies that they need. If there are supplies or data that needs to be distributed to your clients or team members to allow them to do what they need, then it should be done as early as possible. Just make sure to check your inboxes to see if there are instructions that say otherwise or make corrections before going about distributing whatever needs to get to the concerned parties.
15 Check the evening news and social media the day before.
Every moment you spend not working are points against your productivity. Check the evening news for any announcements for the day after. You will never know when they will close off some streets on the way to your children’s’ school if the weather will be bad and you needed to run to the post office. You also shouldn’t get in the habit of checking social media before you start work. It’s sure to suck you in and cause un-needed delays and distractions.
16 Eat a hearty breakfast.
Low energy and a bad mood in the morning are often the results of skipping the most important meal of the day. Make it a point to eat your breakfast before starting work and you will see the difference. Drop the coffee-and-donut routine and look for something healthier with some protein and fats. If you tend to get sleepy after carbs, make sure you save those for later in the day when you don’t need to be on your A-game. No time to prepare in the morning? Make breakfast the night before and put it in a plastic container so you can eat it at your desk.
17 Prepare everything you need the day after.
If you’ve got children, it’s easy to forget their homework or assignments during the morning rush. Avoid unneeded trips back to school this by taking time to prepare everything you need and your children need before you go to bed. Make a list and check it twice before you doze off.
18 Have the proper mindset for work.
Sometimes, all it takes is the proper mindset to keep working. How could you finish that report when your mind is wandering? With this in mind, it is best to prepare your brain for work the night before you start your workday. When it is finally time to work, you will go straight to business without wasting precious time to motivate yourself while the clock starts ticking. This means you have more time to finish your work and thus increasing your output.
19 Send out tomorrow’s work today.
If you have team members, you can help them become more productivity by giving them their allotted work tomorrow on the previous afternoon. Or, even better, stay a week or two ahead of schedule. This lets them plan the next work day and think of how they go at it. In other words, you are helping them work more efficiently by giving them the opportunity to see what they are up against. So help your team become more productive and produce better results by giving them a sneak peek on the days and weeks ahead. This helps overall performance as well as boosts virtual relationships and teamwork.
Things To Do During Work
This section covers the various productivity tips that apply while you are working. Everything seems rather obvious and common sense here, but the fact is that a lot of people need to be reminded of these things.
20 Check your inboxes regularly, not frequently.
There’s a difference in checking your inbox at set intervals and checking your inboxes whenever you get the chance. Checking your inboxes, whether e-mail or phone, involves little time and few actions, but the distraction can be enough to lower your potential. This is especially true if you are the type who checks inboxes almost obsessively. Block out times in your day on your Google calendar when you will check emails. When the time is up, stop and get back to work.
21 If possible, set an inbox notification sound.
In cellphones this is easy, but for e-mail, it can be a little tricky. However, if you can set your e-mail program or system to make a notification sound when something comes in, you can skip checking your inbox unless it sounds. Again, the usual guidelines for ringtones apply – choose neutral, not too loud, and not too long. If you’re not waiting for an important email, disregard this tip as it may derail your important work.
You might say “Well, duh” or something similar. However, no tip is too small or obvious in the pursuit of productivity. Concentration is both a talent and a skill. Some people can focus on tasks easily – they’re usually the more productive ones – and some are not quite as good. However, you can train yourself to keep your cognitive and processing resources on the tasks at hand. It takes practice and, semi-ironically, concentration to build up your powers of concentration. It’s also important to know how to quickly RE-FOCUS. Distractions are inevitable, but if you can practice switching your attention from one thing to the next, you’ll save time and frustration.
23 One task at a time.
Though the human brain is capable of handling many tasks at a time the cognitive part of it works best on just one thing at a time. Just like how a computer slows down when there’s too much going on, your brain is not as efficient when there are several tasks to handle at any given time. Worse, you are more likely to commit errors than a computer is, especially when you attempt to multi-task. The bottom line: One task at a time. Finish that task before you move on to the next.
24 Learn and use shortcut commands.
Many software options come with built-in shortcut commands. While the standard point-and-click method works, using shortcut commands is a more efficient alternative. Simple keystrokes can work like magic and improve your output by a lot. The less time you have figuring out which menu to pull down, the more time you will have to finish up. Also, take a good look at your keyboard. Chances are there are already pre-programmed buttons that launch certain applications from the get-go. Familiarize yourself with these shortcuts and you will make better use of your computer. Also, never use the touchpad mouse if you want to maximize time. Get a wireless mouse and change the mouse settings to as fast as it will go.
25 Get it right the first time, every time.
This is strongly related to previous tips. When you focus on just one task at a time, you are less likely to make mistakes. Also, you should regularly check and double-check your work as you go through it, not just at the end. Every mistake can mean that you will need to redo a section, or at worst, the whole thing. Productivity is as much about ensuring the quality of output as it is about completing as many items as possible.
26 Identify the time of the day where you are at peak performance.
Just like TV has prime time, there is also a certain time frame where you are at your best. You can concentrate the most, able to work faster and more efficiently and produce better results during these hours. Do yourself a favor and make the most out of your prime time and really work into overdrive. The most difficult tasks of the day should be done when you are at your best. Anything that requires less attention should be moved to other times of the day. Mine is the morning, and I’m at my peak before noon.
Related post: 10 Ways to Rock Your Morning Routine
27 Take notes.
Whatever it is that you do, don’t forget to take notes of significant things. For example, if you come across some possibly important bit of information, make a quick note regarding its location and content. If you don’t have a pen and paper handy, put a note in Trello or share the link or page to yourself via email. That way, you can put it out of your mind until the time you need it. Keeping your mind as free of clutter as possible makes it more efficient; the same principle applies to relegating reminders to your smartphone rather than your internal active memory. You might find that this technique also reduces the number and intensity of headaches!
28 Tackle everything in Trello.
Constantly texting or sending messages in Slack to ask your clients or team members about work-related things are not only bad for your productivity but theirs as well. It is a complete waste of time and should be avoided as much as possible. This is why Trello (or whatever project management system you use) should be used for asking questions and making things clear with your coworkers. Everything related to a task is on a card and notes are saved so old conversations aren’t “lost” or forgotten. If you must schedule virtual meetings, do it on Thursdays or Fridays instead of Mondays to avoid burning out your team at the start of the work week.
29 Clear your mind as needed.
It does not have to be some esoteric Zen trick or an hour of meditation. Simply pausing your thoughts and taking deep breaths for a few seconds is enough to lower your blood pressure and clear your mind of clutter. If you find yourself getting confused or having a headache, pause somewhere you can easily pick up, drink a glass of water, and take a few moments to re-center yourself.
Related Post: 6 Uncommon Ways to Reduce Stress
30 Get up and stretch regularly.
You might think that getting up keeps one away from work and distracts from the task at hand but think again. When you get up and stretch, you relieve stress on your body and mind. With fewer distress signals to bother it, your brain can become more efficient than it could have if you just slogged through the aches. The trick is to pause your work in a way that you will find it easy to resume from. If your work was a set of math problems, then you should pause after completing a problem, not while in the middle of one.
Related Post: 10 Reasons to Make a Stand-Up Desk
31 Complete communication tasks as early as possible.
Communication is essential in any work, especially if it’s a team project. Remember that others may be waiting on your output, or they need to be informed of changes immediately. By completing communication tasks early and quickly, you can ensure that the whole team stays on track. Send files and data as soon as you have finished checking them, and respond to inquiries in the most prompt manner possible.
32 Close all programs and browser tabs or windows that don’t have something to do with work.
Your workplace is not the place to be harvesting digital crops or feeding virtual fish. Or at least, not during your active work time. If you can’t just leave your games for after work, then do it during your breaks, not while you are working. Even better, don’t play games (or be on social media) while at work! One of my favorite tools for keeping track of my tabs while keeping them out of site is the One Tab browser extension.
33 Bookmark useful sites.
If you use the Internet all day for work purposes, then keeping bookmarks for useful websites can be a big help. For example, if you find a great reference site, keep a bookmark of its homepage. That way, you can visit it again easily the next time you need to look something up. Even when you come across a site that isn’t useful at the moment but may prove useful in the future, add a bookmark to your Web browser.
34 Organize your bookmarks.
Aside from creating bookmarks, you should also keep them organized. Categorize them for easy lookup. File away old bookmarks that are no longer being used, or simply delete them. The idea is to make the bookmarks that you need easy to find by reducing the number of things you go through, either by deleting unused items or by grouping them for shorter sets to search through.
35 Prioritize work as needed.
Sometimes, work just keeps piling up until you have a full day ahead of you. Of course, there is nothing more discouraging than a stack of paperwork on your desk or 100 emails that NEED to be addressed. If it does happen, approach the problem by doing tasks one at a time. Prioritize work according to what is more important. Anything that can be put off for later should be put off for later. When you are done with everything marked “Important,” use your remaining time you have to tackle papers you still have left. Don’t confuse urgent with important. This is a more efficient way of dealing with a stack of papers on your desk.
36 Install a good antivirus program.
Installing a good antivirus program should be top on your list. There are a few good free antivirus programs, but if you want premium protection then you ought to have a backup of everything in Dropbox as well. A virus infection can cripple your ability to work, so it must be avoided at all costs.
37 Scan all files that you load onto your computer.
Before you even think about opening up removable media or files downloaded from the Internet, always run a context menu scan. Assuming you have an antivirus program installed, right-click the file or filegroup and look for something like “Scan file”. This should run a quick scan on demand specifically on the selected file or files. If it turns up clean, well and good. If it turns up infected, you’ll want to quarantine or delete the file as soon as possible.
38 Keep your virus definitions up-to-date.
New viruses are coming out all the time, so if you want to stay protected, you should keep your virus definition databases up-to-date, if not up-to-the-hour. Most antivirus programs do this automatically, but only if they are set to do so (which is the default). Without the data, your antivirus software may not be able to recognize a viral infection. Bottom line: Make sure your antivirus program’s database is updated and set to update automatically.
39 Keep your private info private.
This goes with little saying, but protecting your privacy and online financial security is strongly reliant on how well you protect your financial and personal information online. Make sure to read privacy agreements whenever possible. Avoid giving out credit information unless you can verify that the webpage you are on is what it is supposed to be, is secure (look for https instead of http in the URL) and not a look-alike. Checking the security certificate is a good way to lessen the likelihood that you’ll end up giving away information to unsavory parties. You can use Avast for anti-virus software AND a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
40 Minimize open windows and applications.
This one applies to those who work primarily on their computers most of the day. Avoid leaving too many windows and applications. Not only will it slow down the performance in general, but you increase the risk of unresponsiveness and automatic program termination. That means data loss and wasted time.
41 Save regularly.
Not all programs have auto-save features, and those that do may not be set to save often enough. A sudden program freeze or crash can be troublesome, but the impact can be reduced by ensuring you save regularly. Manually saving about every five minutes (or setting the auto-save to that interval) is a good way to minimize data loss in case of an unexpected program or system shutdown. I use G-Suite to autosave my docs, sheets, etc. Microsoft Office Online is another one to try, but slightly more expensive than G-Suite!
42 Get a small UPS for yourself.
UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Source, which is basically a smart encased battery that automatically kicks in when the power goes out. Unlike a backup generator system, UPS activates instantly – perfect for computers which can cut out with power interruptions of mere fractions of a second. In fact, one could argue that a UPS never actually kicks in because it’s always feeding power to whatever’s plugged in – it’s just that when the electric current is on, it continuously replenishing the onboard battery. A UPS can give you enough time to save all your information and do a proper shutdown, ensuring you do not lose data and avoid potential system or program corruption.
43 Keep regular backups.
Keeping backups of your files and regularly updating those backups is one secret to productivity. It does add overhead and can be a little tedious, but you will surely not regret it when you lose the active information. Keeping multiple backups is also a vital practice for programmers, since they may want to roll back changes due to unforeseen circumstances. Your backups should be on a separate machine, remotely hosted (Dropbox), or on physical media like an external hard drive that is stored properly.
44 Keep detailed information on backups.
You might know what’s currently on your active files and maybe the most recent backup, but what about the backups before that? Having lots multiple backups can make it confusing and difficult to track down the one you want, so you should maintain a readable file that details the contents and changes found in your backup files. If you have enough space, you can keep backups for years to come, and that can mean lots of duplicate files that may not necessarily be the same. Avoid wasting time on finding the right backup by keeping a summary file.
45 Keep records and store them properly.
For any kind of work, maintaining records of important daily information is very helpful. This does not just improve accountability and the ability to recover from a loss, but it can also help you monitor performance and take appropriate actions. Remember to regularly relocate your records to some secure location, safe from the elements in a fireproof and waterproof safe.
46 Perform regular maintenance for your work computer.
For instance, deleting unnecessary files are just a few simple clicks away. Defragging can help your computer de-clutter its hard drive and keep it running at optimum speeds. Do this regularly like once a week and you will have a reliable computer to work with. No need to keep calling the repair shop and stop working altogether.
47 Assign priorities
Know how to quickly review tasks and use your foresight to arrange them and assign priorities. Priority values rely on metrics like difficulty, time to deadline, required resources (including time), and who it’s for. High-priority items should be worked on first unless they rely on some as-yet unavailable resource. If a high-priority item cannot be worked on yet, turn to other high-priority items before taking care of low-priority items.
48 Don’t procrastinate.
Don’t put off work that you can do now. Unless something urgent that requires immediate attention comes up, you should direct your energies to complete whatever it is that can move you forward at this moment. Aside from lowering your overall productivity, procrastination sets you up for dangerous crunches that could be much less taxing if you completed your tasks as they came up.
49 Set a Timer
The Pomodoro Technique can be applied when you have a task that will take a long time, and no easy way to break it into chunks. Set a timer for 20-30 minutes and focus ONLY on whatever you can do on that task. Then, take a 5-10 minute break (step away, take a walk, look outside, take deep breaths), and come back and repeat until complete. The Tomato Timer is an easy and free online tool to use for this purpose.
50 Organize productivity contests
This is one for business owners and works best in companies which have multiple team members. Organize contests with prizes and you might see an increase in overall productivity as your team gets fired up trying to win that prize. Though in reality, they should be putting in effort anyway, a little incentive now and then is not a bad thing. If you’re a solopreneur or freelancer, set a reward for yourself at the end of the week if you complete the tasks you set out to from the start. You’ll stay motivated to get a reward for a job well done. This could be something free like a few hours of binging on your favorite Netflix show, or something like a massage for self-care.
If there are instructions or other information that needs to be communicated to others, then it should be done as thoroughly and as soon as possible. If it’s your responsibility to do so, then make sure to take care of it right away.
52 Update your agenda or schedules as needed.
When changes occur that will have effects on schedules or your agenda, update your reminders (I love Google Calendar for this), and if needed, communicate with the concerned parties. Do these as soon as the need arises so you don’t forget to do so. This will help you avoid situations where you forget appointments or you don’t get what you need because it was not requested beforehand, which causes stress and loss of time for everyone involved.
53 Maintain good working relationships.
Being cordial to clients, their clients, fellow business owners, and team members is good not only for your productivity but your reputation as well. It’s no secret that a harmonious relationship among coworkers promotes an efficient work process which is more likely to produce better results. Compare that to an office or online setting where a few people are cold towards each other. In such extreme cases, it might even start hostilities (have you seen people’s passive-aggressive social media posts?). Do you think people want to work with, recommend, or chat with people like that? If you are really not the friendly type, don’t say or post anything at all.
Things To NOT Do During Work
Just like there are things that you should be doing during your work time, there are also things that you must avoid doing. This quite obviously includes things, but there’s quite a bit more too.
54 Don’t seek entertainment during your work time.
Unless it is your pre-determined break time, you should not be doing anything that isn’t part of your work. That means that seeking entertainment, whether online, offline or on mobile devices, is discouraged as these can interfere with your work. Even if you use them during break time, you risk lowering your productivity should the content get stuck in your head, making you anticipate the next time you can enjoy that entertainment. Keep it for after you’re done for the day.
55 Don’t distract yourself.
It’s too easy to get lost in all the stuff that’s online, or on your mobile devices, especially if you work at home. Sooner or later, you end up looking through funny pet videos or following the adventures of Instagram influencers – unless of course, you have the discipline to stick to what you’re supposed to be doing. Stay focused on your work, and whatever you do, don’t click that mysterious link or click bait!
56 Don’t let others distract you.
Sometimes the mystical allure of YouTube and viral videos come to our attention through no fault of our own. A friend or family member might text you a link or funny meme. The point is that sometimes distractions are shown to us by other people, and though it is not their intention to make your productivity drop, it ends up doing so. That’s why you will need to stay on track and avert your eyes. When you’re done with work, then you can amuse yourself to no end, right?
57 Don’t download and install with abandon.
Practice Internet safety to avoid infection. It’s all too easy to abuse the Internet. Downloading programs and the like, you’re basically getting them for free. Matters of piracy aside, downloading and installing programs downloaded from less-than-reputable sites can introduce viral infections to your home network. The effects range from unnoticeable to a rapid decline in performance and breakdown. If you use a computer when working and it breaks down, you lose precious time to the required repairs, and worse, you could get busted for downloading and installing things that aren’t legal. Stay away.
58 Don’t stream videos or while working.
You risk slowing the network down for because of the bandwidth you are consuming and it’s distracting when your favorite show is playing in the background. I frequently listen to podcasts, but I download them on my “off” time and listen when I’m doing something that’s not work-related.
59 Don’t visit websites other than reference and work-related websites.
This is just common sense. Don’t be tempted to shop that one-day sale at Macy’s when you’re trying to be productive. Flag that email as important and go shop til your heart’s content later that evening. If you must be on Facebook for work purposes (raising hand), install the Facebook News Feed Eradicator extension. You’ll still have access to your pages and can post and schedule posts, but you won’t be distracted by your nephew’s adorable quote of the day. I can’t tell you how many hours this has saved me from mindless scrolling!
60 Don’t socialize during work.
One of the biggest distractions during work is socializing in the middle of the day. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, remember that your main focus should be to get stuff done. Of course, if you’re done for the day, or know you’ve got a few hours to kill and are happy with what you’ve accomplished, feel free! Don’t say yes if someone asks you to out of guilt if you know you’ve got things that must be done. There is always the time after work and the weekend to fulfill all your social needs.
61 Don’t meet someone out of the blue.
You may not realize it but having a sudden meeting with someone can ruin your productivity and waste your time. Such meetings are only good for interrupting your train of thought and disturbing your concentration. Next time a client or team member wants to have a virtual meeting right away, politely suggest meeting him or her at a time that is convenient for both of you at a later date. Then you both can be prepared in advance with an agenda to cover. You would be surprised to find out how much time you waste in these idle and unimportant chats.
Things To Do After Work
Your work does not really end after you finish it. As paradoxical as that statement is, there is truth in it. Especially if you own your own business. There are things that you can do after completing tasks to improve productivity. Yes, you may be tired already, but try to do these as much as possible, okay?
62 Put away your devices and equipment.
You might be using them again as soon as you start the next day, but that is no excuse for leaving them lying about. Putting away your devices and equipment doesn’t just keep them organized, it’s nice to start fresh each day. Charge anything that needs charged, and remove dirty dishes and unneeded paperwork from your working area.
63 Shut down your computer.
Some people simply put their computers into sleep mode or let them run overnight with the monitor turned off. Unless you are running some resource-heavy task that requires all night, you should shut down your computer. Putting a computer into sleep or hibernate mode doesn’t allow it to flush its memory completely, which means that you don’t get off to a fresh start when you turn it on the next day. A full shutdown means that you can start off from the best possible state because your computer was able to clean itself with the shutdown.
64 If you need to leave your computer running, turn off the monitor and use an automatic shutdown application.
Sometimes we can’t wait for our computers to complete certain tasks, which is why we sometimes need to leave them running after hours. If you want to do so, make sure you turn off the monitor and set an automatic shutdown. Give your shutdown a little leeway in case the task takes a little longer than expected.
65 Tidy up your workspace.
When you’re done for the day, make sure to tidy up your workspace. Place papers in folders or envelopes. Pick up bits of trash and throw them into the waste bin. Wash your coffee mug. Do what you can to improve the cleanliness and orderliness of your area so you can come in the next day to a neat and conducive workplace.
66 Lock up.
Lock up what you can. Whether it is your desk drawers, a document safe, windows, or doors. You probably should have a lock on your home office door. Security is essential to productivity, as it ensures that you won’t be set back by losses in supplies, equipment, end-products, or vital documents.
67 Review your work at the end of the day.
More specifically, take time to analyze how you did things afterward. Maybe there is a more efficient way of finishing your report that you have yet to stumble upon. You will never know if there is a better way of doing things unless you start looking for one. If there happens to be one, throw out your old habit and adopt a better strategy. Do not be afraid to try new things especially if it might bring better results or optimize your work process. You will only thank yourself later.
Related Post: 5 Simple Habits That Will Improve Your Life
68 Pat yourself on the back.
There are times when all you need is some good old encouragement. When you do well enough, your clients are bound to take notice and compliment you for a job well done or even refer you to others. Who says you can’t do this for yourself? At the end of a grueling day, why not pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for finishing everything? This kind of self-encouragement is great for your self-confidence as well as your overall well-being. End your day the same way you started it – in a good mood.
Things To Do In General
This section covers the tips that don’t quite fall into any of the above categories but are nonetheless useful in helping you achieve a higher level of productivity.
69 Find a way to unwind after work.
Everyone needs to have an outlet, preferably something constructive. Stress from our jobs makes life, in general, more difficult, and our jobs more dislikable. This stress builds up unless there is some way to release it. A good hobby can relieve stress, making it easier to stick with the job. It lowers those “I hate doing this task” feelings, enabling you to perform your tasks more efficiently. If your hobby produces some form of product, whether physical or digital, you could also sell it for more income.
Related Posts: How to Relax When You’re Constantly Overwhelmed
70 Put some good music on.
Music calms the wildest beast and the same goes true with a disorganized mind. Science has already proven the calming effects of certain kinds of music. When the opportunity allows for such, pop some earphones on and listen to good music for a change. It is certainly a welcome change and breaks from the usual silence. Good music is great for clearing your head and helping you concentrate more.
71 Get out of bed before the rest of the world.
Setting your alarm clock for at least an hour earlier then everyone else’s is great for getting work done early in the morning. Apart from keeping you trying to play catch up, it allows for some time alone No phone calls, no one texting you, other such things. In other words, you have the time to yourself with virtually no distractions. Quite obviously, this boosts productivity by allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand.
72 Don’t drink your stress away.
Lots of people seek relief from stress by drinking, often to excess. While the infrequent drink with friends is fine and a glass of wine with dinner is nice, drinking to get rid of problems causes more problems in itself. Alcohol is not the solution to your work stress or any stress for that matter. Drinking is at its best when done as a social activity with discipline and moderation, at least in terms of the amount consumed.
73 Perform regular maintenance on all tools and equipment.
Whether you work with physical products you sell online or just with your laptop and devices, you should perform regular maintenance. Clean up and organize your inventory. Dust air inlets and outlets. Wipe down surfaces in your office. Run a defragmenter. Perform full system scans. Create restore points. Check for leaks around your windows. Walk around and check if everything’s safe and secure. Whatever it is that you do for a living at home, there is something you can do to maintain good working conditions.
74 Update your software and websites.
Lots of software and websites require fairly frequent updates. While it may be tempting to put them off, if they’re not running properly (or at all) when you need them, you’ll waste more time and get easily frustrated. This can lead to a lot of problems, so it is best to check regularly for updates and do them regularly.
75 Check for discrepancies in inventory.
If you sell physical products, a regular inventory audit can reveal discrepancies in inventory and reported sales volumes. This can lead to investigations into bad record-keeping or simple mistakes in accounting. Whatever the result may be, there is always something you can do to make it better.
76 Mix in with the right crowd.
The sad truth is that not everyone works productively. Some just lounge off and get by with the bare minimum. To really help boost your productivity, surround yourself with like-minded people who are really into what they are doing. If you can, work with people who have the same work habits and styles as you do. Laid back people are better off working with the same happy-go-lucky crowd. If you are someone who would rather be serious, find someone else who shares this ideal. This helps sync up your work habits and produces a harmonious relationship with your clients and team members.
77 Perform financial audits.
Aside from possibly discovering bookkeeping mistakes, performing regular financial audits enables you to better understand your business’s performance. Productivity is also about making the most of what you have, and you can’t make the most of what you have if some of it goes missing.
78 Find time to exercise.
Regular exercise not only keeps your body fit but your mind sharp as well. You may already spend eight hours of your life sitting on a chair on the weekdays (if you do, check out this post). At the very least, break this routine on the weekends and start getting up more. No need to body build here, although resistance training does far more for your brain and appearance than cardio. Just spend one to hours a day at the gym to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Exercising on the weekend also helps break the monotony of work and helps get rid of the Sunday afternoon blues. When you work from home, take advantage of your Pomodoro Technique breaks by doing squats, pull-ups, and push-ups. Even some kettlebell swings don’t require much space and will get your blood pumping.
Related Post: Paleo and Fitness on a Budget Part 1
79 Get some well-deserved R & R.
There is a reason why they say “work hard, play harder.” After a rough week with a new launch or onboarding a new client, it’s good to pat yourself on the back with some good old rest and recreation. Find time to do something you want to, like reading a new book or trying a new recipe. Anything that helps clear your mind for the week ahead is a great thing to do. The main point here is to relax and free yourself from stress and you’re going to need it. So put your feet up and unwind until it is time for work again. This is even more important when you work at home since it’s hard to remove your work life from your personal life.
80 Get enough sleep.
Staying up all night then going to work the next day is never a good idea. A lack of sleep will most surely decrease your attention span and your ability to concentrate. Of course, this is bad news for productivity. So instead of being up all night, do not go past your bedtime. It’s a bit juvenile but it does help in bringing your brain to work mode the following day. This way, you are not a slave to coffee anymore. Keep your mind fresh and up to the task and you will soon have a better output.
Related Post: 7 Habits I’ve Been Practicing for Better Sleep
81 Make yourself comfortable.
It’s no secret that comfort brings the mind to a better state where concentration is at its finest. You simply can’t expect someone to come up with a breakthrough in uncomfortable situations. So get an ergonomic chair, wear some fuzzy socks to keep yourself warm or turn up the air conditioning. Anything that can be done to make you feel comfortable while working should be done without delay. It’s for the best after all. When you work at home, you can wear sweats or yoga pants all you want!
82 Stay “electronic.”
If you’re a highly mobile worker who spends as much time working while traveling as in your home office, you’re much better off keeping electronic copies of all the files you need. The last thing you need is to shuffle through scores of papers while on a trip. Keeping soft copies of your paperwork also reduces the weight you have to bring along. If you must take down notes for a meeting, keep a small notebook handy. Otherwise, everything should be saved in Dropbox, Google Drive, which you can access on your phone. This may need some getting used to during the first few trips but it is well worth the adjustment you have to go through.
83 Tell friends and family that you are in work mode.
Working from home is a relatively new phenomenon that some people still fail to grasp. As such, some friends and family tend to downplay the seriousness of your work. “You are not even in an office” as they often quip. Unfortunately, this leads to distractions from friends and family which is bad when you are trying to catch up on a deadline. When this happens, it is best to make them aware that you are working and cannot afford to be distracted. Explain to them that you are not free just because you are at home.
Related Post: 3 Common Work-From-Home Myths That Need to Be Broken.
84 Track your progress.
With no boss around, it is up to you to check on your own progress. Check the actual work you have done against the current time. Did you take longer or faster than you expected? This should give you a good idea if you are being productive or not. You can track your progress manually or with help from software called RescueTime. This is an online time-tracking software which tells its user how he or she spends his or her time on the computer. It really helps time your tasks so consider it as an investment for increased productivity and better output.
85 Outsource some of the work.
Business owners who find it difficult to fit everything needed into an already hectic schedule. Most business people make the mistake of thinking they can do something themselves to cut costs. On the other hand, the time wasted is really not worth it. With this in mind, you are better off hiring a virtual assistant (even if you are a virtual assistant yourself), bookkeeper, and others to do the job for you. Automate as much of your process as possible so you do not have to worry much. This frees up your mind from mundane tasks so you can have more brilliant ideas.
86 Buddy up and check on each other.
Some people just do not have enough self-discipline to keep them working. If you are like that, you are better off getting a work buddy to check on you from time to time. Ideally, this should be someone who tracks your progress and gives suggestions on how to improve your productivity. Collaborate with a friend online and help each other out. Essentially, you are asking him or her to act like your boss. As much as possible, ask help from someone who works from home as well.
87 Invest in sound and reliable technology.
Working from home means less in-person meetings for you. Still, the importance of such meetings is present. As such, most of your work is conducted over the phone and/or online. Investing in the best technology money can buy is a good idea then. Most printers can now double as a copier and scanner so get one that does it all. It may cost more (not much) but it will give off better benefits in the long run. Simple services such as a Google Voice number routed to another mobile phone are a huge help as well.
88 Modern conveniences are your best friends.
In relation to the previous tip, people who work at home also need to be aware of modern technologies that can make life easier. A smartphone is essential for entrepreneurs on the go where you can check your email and make and receive phone calls anytime, anywhere. The latest high-performance laptops have enough computing power for applications needed by practically anyone. A fast broadband connection lets you finish your tasks quickly and without delay. Consider what you need to get the job done and invest your money accordingly. Your clients will only thank you with their continued patronage.
Related Post: Common Mistakes When Starting a Home Business
89 If you are not up to it, STOP.
This may seem counter-productive but consider this: you have been staring at a blinking cursor for hours but no words seem to come to mind. Take this as a sign that you are not ready to work yet. When this happens, find something else to do until you feel like working again. Just do not over indulge yourself. The point here is to refresh your mind in an effort to jumpstart it to work mode. Be sure that you are still meeting the deadlines you have set though.
90 Quantity or quality?
Another thing that home-based workers should be mindful of is the quality of their work. With no one else to check and proofread, it is easy for quality to get left behind the dust. Need some help with spelling and grammar? Grammarly is one of the best investments you can make. Combine this with procrastination and cramming and you have a recipe for disaster. While you are working, it is best to check for the quality of your article, design or whatever it is you are working on. At the end of the day ask yourself one important question, “Is this the kind of work I want my clients to think I am capable of?”
91 Do not burn yourself out.
At the extreme end of procrastination is working your self too hard. Just because you can work 12 to 14 hours in a day does not mean you should. It may be tempting to “do tomorrow’s work today for a free day after” but it must be avoided. Over time, the quality of your work begins to deteriorate resulting in poor results. Working long hours is only bad for productivity. So do yourself a favor and take a break every now and then. Work within your capabilities and avoid overstretching yourself.
Related Post: Build a Business, Not Another J.O.B.
92 Get a change of scenery.
Working and living in the same location can drive some people mad. This is the most common problem that business owners who work from home face on a daily basis which is often bad for productivity. The best way to address this problem is to get out of the house and find a nice place to work in. Coffee shops are good but libraries might be better because of the environment. Alternatively, you can try relaxing on the beach while you work. Nothing beats the warm ocean breeze and fresh air as you write your article or come up with a new design. If you don’t like your home, try making it nicer since you spend so much time there! A bright new paint color might be just what you need.
93 Suit yourself.
The beauty of working at home is that you can adapt your environment as you see fit. Want music? Turn on the radio or your favorite playlist. Want to be more comfortable? Sit on the couch and type away with your laptop on hand. Want to eat while working? Head on to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich. It is so easy to work according to your own wishes when you work at home. Use this to your advantage and set-up an environment that encourages you to work harder and produce better results.
As you can see from all the tips given here, being more productive when you work at home does not always mean making drastic changes. Everything you learned here requires small changes on your part. These are things you can certainly do.
Different as these tips may be, all of them have one thing in common. These tips will only work as long as you act on them. That is, if you start including these in your work habits, you’re bound to see the results you are looking for. Reading and learning about it is just one part of the equation.
With this in mind, you want to start improving your productivity and boosting your performance as soon as possible. Keep in mind that it is up to you to make the difference. So what are you waiting for? Work better and start to impress your clients and team members. You will never know when you are next in line for the next big project!