“Stop getting side tracked and write.”
This is the thing I say to myself most often.
As a blogger, I know that there are so many traps to suck up my time. But it is really hard to avoid some of those tricky situations that often sideline my writing. I work from home, not only as a blogger but for my other endeavors as well. So I know how hard trying to work from home can be when you feel like you still need to accomplish a list of things for your personal life in addition to meeting a writing quota and your daytime job.
However, sometimes you just have to force yourself into a good routine. Being a writer means that you have to be stronger than your Facebook Feed or Twitter flow. Here’s how I stay on track while working from home.
- Make a list of your most important tasks. I actually find it more rewarding to write everything down by hand on paper. Then as I fly through my tasks I get to cross them off, write notes, and see what’s next as the day goes along. You don’t have to go one by one, it’s often best to tackle the hardest tasks first thing in the morning while you are still fresh and ready to get the day going. I know that if I don’t have a good to-do list, my day will be spent wandering about trying to figure out what’s next. And sometimes that does take me out into the garden where I get a little side tracked.
- Take away the distractions while you are working. Yeah, this seems pretty simple. But how many of us have notifications on our phones when something comes up on Social Media? While you are writing, does your email have pop ups that tease you with what emails you might want to read? Turn off everything that can be a distraction before you start writing.
- Set your hours and days for working from home and keep them! Get up, get dressed for your real job, and get to work on time. Know your routine and work with it. I know what days and hours I am best at working from home. So Mondays I always set aside for catching up on emails, making appointments, getting an idea of what my week looks like, and if possible outlining the articles I would like to write for the week. If you know that a certain day of the week is harder for you, work around it. Example: My husband works from home on Fridays and my daughter always has a half day on Friday. So Friday isn’t the day that I will schedule to write a big project because I know I will always be interrupted. I made Friday a day for working on my social media connections and wrapping up things unfinished for the week. No starting new lists.
- Even when you are working from home, work comes before housework. This is really hard for me. Whenever I go into the kitchen for coffee or lunch, if the kitchen isn’t clean and I see housework that needs attention, I have a difficult time not wanting to stop and get those things taken care of. But when I do that, I will get sidetracked and getting back to work isn’t done as well as I know it can be. So you just have to let it go and get it done after you get “off work”. You can’t do everything at the same time with the same energy. You’ll just burn out.
- Set the mood. No matter what I am working on, I always set the mood for that project. Cooking, writing, even keeping up with my social media outreach, all have their own playlist. When I am working on a sewing project, I have peppy dance music going that keeps my energy up and I tend to move a little faster. If I am writing an emotional piece I often have a candle burning, some music playing, and a warm cup of tea at hand. You don’t have to be limited to working in certain area. Often if the weather is nice, I will pack up and move outside or take in the atmosphere of a local coffee shop to change the pace. Where ever you work, make sure you are not seeking out new distractions only inspirations.
Becoming a writer is a choice we make. Working for ourselves, setting our own routines, and driving our own business isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t take too much effort to change some bad habits and turn around your day to be more productive and even a little more fun.
What tips or tricks do you use to be more productive while working from home?