Nowadays, almost everyone needs to work from home. With people, cities or nations are being quarantine, being able to boost your personal productivity, especially when working from home and having kids around is key.
These days, I still work on a 9-5 job. However, the financial crisis and the recent layoffs, in almost every industry, just made it more important to me to keep my current income sources and protect it. Especially when I have a family to feed.
Now is not the time to take risks and lose my main income sources.
At the same time, I work on this blog and I do not want to pause my progress even not due to lack of time. This blog is my way to escape the rat race and still working in my 9-5 job.
If having a job and running a blog is not enough, I have 3 small kids (twins age 1.5-year-old and a 3-year-old) at home, that I need to entertain as they are way too young to keep themselves busy.
So I need to be EXTRA productive trying to keep it all together.
Fortunately, in the past 12 years, I have been working from home (feeling quarantined is not new to me) and during that time I have adopted a regular and personal productivity routine which really works great for me.
The thing is, this routine is now disrupted, and I need to be extra productive in the limited time I have.
So, I need to master my personal productivity.
In this post you’re going to learn how to boost your personal productive while working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak.
What is personal productivity?
Personal productivity means that you plan what you need to get done to achieve your end goal, whatever it may be. Then, you find your way to achieve this plan and to execute on the plan which will get you to accomplish your goals.
If only I was 10 years younger… right?
Back in the days, I used to be super productive and getting things done really super-fast. I was like this crazy efficient robot.
Since the coronavirus outbreak, I have really mastered my old productivity tips for working from home to become super productive.
Here are the exact strategies I am using today, that have always proven themselves.
I have to say that my productivity increased tremendously. I am way more organized and able to complete my daily tasks even during the coronavirus outbreak.
So here are my tips to boost your productivity these days:
1. Keep your work desk clean
Simple but yet, powerful.
If you have read my post about how to set up a minimalist family home, then you already know that I am a big fan of keeping my living space fresh and minimal and having much fewer “stuff” in front of my eyes.
This is the first productivity tip for working from home. Not just at work, but in life in general.
My desk is generally clean and only include the items I need to get work done.
Those things are:
- A pen.
- 2 notebooks – one for work ideas and notes and another for this blog.
- A notepad for tasks list that include separate tasks lists for emails, calls and stuff to do
- Of course, my PC, mouse and keyboard
- A monthly planner where I write my big tasks that needs to get completed each day of the week.
Checkout my guide of the best productivity planners.
And that’s it. Everything else is stored in the drawers.
The monthly planner and the task list notepad are critical. This is how you get to see everything that needs to be accomplished in today and in the following days.
2. Write Down Everything (Don’t Count On Remembering It Later)
My memory is not as good these days as before, that’s why I write down everything.
I adopted this recommendation from reading one of the best productivity books I have ever read. It was “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. A must-read masterpiece for people that would like to become more productive and get some great productivity tips for working from home.
The idea behind writing everything down, is that once you write it on paper, your mind knows it. And he let go of that thought. In other words, your mind is clearing space for other thoughts to come.
If you do not write things down, you mind is subconsciously trying to remember all the tasks you have to accomplish. You are basically stuffing it with too much information.
The important thing is to write all your notes down in one place, or in my case my two notebooks depending on the subject, and not on random paper notes you find on your desk.
Another point in writing everything, is that you need to be very specific in what you write. What do I mean by that?
Don’t just write “make calls”.
The better way of writing this on paper would be to write “Call my insurance agent to check if our home insurance cost can be reduced” or “call Ben from work to share the sales presentation I created and get his remarks”.
The task related notes should be written in your tasks list.
3. Free Up Your Agenda And Stay Focused For Creative Tasks
My daily job today is to create sales material that focus on our product value proposition, create industry marketing content like white papers and running podcast for our channel partners.
Creating materials, even this specific post, is considered a highly creative task that requires special attention. It needs focus and muse.
With my 3 toddlers at home, it is hard to find a quiet time. Especially, when you or they, cannot really go outside.
So, I use their nap time to work quietly.
Luckily, all my 3 kids still take their noon naps, and in my case, that nap can last up to 3 full hours. Which is really great.
Some people find the evening / nighttime as a great time for them. I am generally too tired to think after 21:00, when they are all asleep.
My mind goes into this zone where it doesn’t function anymore… just minimal communication….
So, find the time that works for you and do it.
However, if there is no alternative and there is no quiet time. We still have those days, when I need some quiet time, but all the kids are at home and up.
In this case, I have to admit, I use the Bose headset, and I have to say, they do the trick.
I’ve had the Bose headset for a year now. I received it from my CEO as a gift for the management team members.
But I didn’t use them that much as I was working from home in a quiet environment. Recently I have used them recently quite a lot and have to say I am really surprised for the best. It really reduces the noise levels.
4. Schedule separate email time
We all get too many emails during the day, and when having to maintain multiple email accounts, most people find themselves receiving and replying whenever an email comes in.
We all know it quite bad.
What I do, and yes, this is also quite simple, is that I clean my emails for 30 minutes in the morning.
I immediately answer emails that will take me less than 2 min to reply and save the long emails for later. I first clean my email from the daily mess.
The 2-minute rule is a great productivity tip from David Allen.
Then I spare time, either right after or at another time during the day to write a response for the complex emails.
Emails that do not require me to do anything, are moved to a related folder and cleared from my inbox.
Don’t reply to email whenever it comes. It wastes your energy. Save your time to do it all in one go.
5. Do Not Multitask
This is a big problem for most people.
The thing is, multi-tasking just doesn’t work.
Focus on a single task each time. If this is a big task, break it down to smaller tasks and decide what you accomplish today.
Every time you lose your focus and your momentum it will be harder for you to get back on track. And multitasking makes you lose your focus.
Think about it this way, every time your mind wonders and your hands reach the keyboard to search for something unrelated in google or your hands reaches your mobile phone to read the latest message, just remember that number – 40%!
6. Mute your phone when you work
Oh, this is a touchy strategy. This recommendation was the cause for some stress between my family and I.
I’ll be blunt now –
The fact that I have a mobile phone doesn’t mean I have to be available all the time.
The fact that someone needs to speak to me right now, doesn’t mean it is the right time for me. It is not disrespecting them, but just stating that I have different priorities right now and I will get back to them as soon as I am available. In the meantime, I mute my phone.
I’ll be honest, my husband and mom don’t like it for the simple reason that I forget to turn the volume back up. Now with iPhone, I can set the times in which I do not want to be interrupted and control that without muting my phone.
So mute your phone. Disconnect.
A Microsoft survey of workers found it took an average of 15 minutes to return to complex tasks after responding to incoming e-mail and instant messages.
We do not have that time to waste right now.
It is not easy being super productive, maintaining your income sources and all that when having kids at home.
But if you think of it, this is the time to build your financial foundation and still chase the early retirement dream.
Getting out of the rat race is not out of scope for you, even if the future doesn’t look bright at the moment.
Always remember that successful people take those down times to work on building an even stronger foundation, sometimes even going back to the basic and improving their work habits, documentations and other resource.
Doing that will put us all in a much better position to take action, once this coronavirus outbreak will disappear or at lease subside and business are back to normal.
Have other great productivity tips for working from home? Please share it with us 🙂
In the meantime, stay safe!