How to be insanely productive working from home – even when you are stressed!

picture of a desk

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I have never liked working from home, always preferring to take my laptop to a cafe or co-working space. At home, I got distracted by the TV, the contents of my fridge or even the pile of washing I’d been putting off!

But recently with this nasty virus disrupting our normal lifestyles, many of us are forced to work from home, myself included.

The first few days of self-isolation were some of my least productive ever. Usually, I don’t struggle with productivity. I’ve been known to create 30-page e-books in 2 days! But working from home was cramping my style.

I had to find a way to make it work for me.

As time has gone on, I’ve picked up a few useful tips that are helping me actually get some work done. So I’m sharing them today in the hope that they help you get your sh*t together too!

Read next…

Tips for working from home

Make a work station.

This is my number one tip and has had a crazy impact on my motivation and productivity levels.

Initially, I was working on my sofa. Inevitably this led to many many sofa naps. Add to that a stiff back and working from the sofa longterm was never going to work.

So I decided to create a temporary workspace which will get me through the next few months of social distancing. I found a hallway table small enough to fit into my tiny living room where the wifi is at it’s strongest.

It’s not exactly the perfect desk but it’s big enough for my laptop and I was happy to be able to squeeze it in under the window so I can still watch the world go by and feel less isolated.

So if the shops around you are all shut, look around your house and see what you could use as a temporary alternative.

Change rooms

Sometimes I find changing locations helpful to break the monotony and keep me motivated. This means I usually rotate cafes and co-working spaces. But with this no longer an option for me, I would consider rotating rooms when I need to.

Get Dressed

It’s so tempting when you know you can’t leave the house anyway, to stay in your comfy PJs. However, it is not good for the mindset and will lead to lower levels of productivity.

You don’t have to wear a suit or regular work clothes. It can even be loungewear. But make sure it is NOT your PJs. Make sure your brush your hair and make yourself presentable – you never know when you may need to hop on a video call!

Get some exercise

If you are finding your productivity levels dipping or you are getting sleepy, do some exercise to boost your energy levels. If you are only social distancing at this point then head out for a walk but try to avoid crowds.

If you are in self-isolation you may have to get more creative. Run up and downstairs a few times, get outside in the garden and do some gardening or do an indoor exercise routine from youtube. Basically, do something which gets your heart rate up.

If you’re looking for some fun exercise to do, check out my dance clubs fundraising website where they are posting videos anyone can join in. Some are partner dances other solo dances. For a giggle, I absolutely recommend you check out Tims’ poolside fitness videos.

woman doing plank exercise at home

Listen to podcasts

When you are lacking inspiration, I suggest you put on a business or blogging podcast. I tend to listen to them whenever I am driving somewhere or taking a walk. Afterwards, I always feel totally inspired and ready for the day ahead.

Here are a few I recommend ;

  • Goal Digger – Jenna Kutcher – Girl chat meets business talk
  • Online Marketing Made Easy – Amy Porterfield – perfect for anyone growing an email list or starting an online course
  • Boss Mom – Dana Malstaff – perfect for any work-at-home moms. That said, I listen for their business tips especially their Facebook group tips even though I am not yet a Mom!
  • Thrive Blogger Podcast – Bree Pair – Everything from branding to photography to making money as a blogger.
  • Simple Pin Media – Kate Ahl – If you are looking to grow your Pinterest traffic, this is the podcast for you.
  • Pursuit with Purpose – Melyssa Griffin – Wellbeing for bloggers and business owners with topics from self-care to recovering from burnout and avoiding comparison.

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Make a To-do list

Each evening before you finish work for the day, create a to-do list for the next day. Make it achievable – no point trying to fit too much in and berating yourself for not achieving it all!

Then once you’ve made a list, work out which are the must-do’s, should do’s and could do’s and work through them in that order.

organiser diary on a desk

Go for the easy wins

If you’re feeling distracted, work on the smaller tasks with easy wins. You will feel much more motivated to carry on and tackle the bigger projects when you can see your achievements being ticked off!

Celebrate the wins

Speaking of wins, make sure you reward yourself for hitting targets and achieving goals. It will help keep you motivated to achieve more goals the next day. You could reward yourself by finishing 30 minutes earlier, taking a longer lunch break, or treating yourself to something.

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Stick to a morning routine

If you have a morning routine, it will help to get you in the mindset for work. This routine could be anything. It might be a skincare routine, a yoga session, coffee whilst watching 30 minutes of morning TV or going for a quick morning jog!

Create a timetable

If you are the sort of person who likes structure then timetables can work really well. Make sure you factor in time to work, time to eat, exercise, stretch and relax.

This won’t work for everyone and that’s ok. I’m the sort of person that gets completely absorbed in projects and taking structured breaks at specific times can disrupt my creative flow.

However, on days when my creative flow seemed to have flowed away, I might use timetables to get at least SOMETHING done!

Remember these are all tips which can be adapted to your own work preferences and needs! Don’t be afraid to do something slightly different if it works for you…

picture of timetable

Avoid social media

At the moment every time I log onto social media, there are depressing statistics or frustrating photos of the general public flouting the social distancing rules, putting us all at risk. It gets my blood boiling and I suddenly become very distracted from work.

So now I am trying to limit my time on social media.

If like me, you run your own business or blog, you won’t be able to avoid it entirely as social media is integral to your business. But you can schedule times to go online so that you manage this in a healthier way.

I don’t know about you but I could – and have – waste entire days scrolling through Facebooks newsfeed right now! I just end up feeling frustrated and panicky and achieving zilch.

One option is to use social media scheduling tools. I use Crowdfire and Tailwind for this. That way, I can sit down and schedule my social posts away from the platforms and I can limit my time on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Speaking of social media, have you joined my Passive Income Superstars Facebook group yet? As well as the usual affiliate marketing, email marketing and monetization tips, I am also running positive threads to keep us all motivated right now with online fitness and podcast suggestions etc. Come and join us!

Turn off group chat notifications

My phone does not stop pinging right now. With friends bored at home, my group chats are on fire right now! But it’s so easy to get distracted by these non-stop message streams. So I often turn off notifications.

Most of my group chats are on Whatsapp and it gives you the option how long to turn notifications off for so usually I would just choose a few hours.

Stretch

Chances are your temporary work-from-home set up is not as comfy as your normal office or co-working set-up. I’m currently sitting on a dining room chair using a sofa cushion as back support!

So make sure you look after your back by stretching regularly. You could even take it a step further and learn some Yoga or Pilates with this extra time we have.

woman doing yoga

Manage your stress levels

Right now, we are all pretty stressed, right?! We’re worried about our health, our family, our finances, when we will get to see our friends next? We’re missing our usual hobbies and social lives. It is tough.

So it is more important than ever to look after ourselves and try and manage stress levels. Stress is probably the biggest factor which will reduce your productivity levels so find a way to manage it effectively.

Find out what works for you. It might be reading a book about mindfulness, listening to a well-being podcast, reading a self-help book, taking a warm bath, reading a magazine or doing some yoga…

I have invested in a mindfulness colouring book and have also bought a sketch pad – I used to enjoy art but haven’t picked up a paintbrush for years. Let’s see how this goes…

Be kind to yourself

Finally, BE KIND TO YOURSELF! These are difficult times and no one expects you to run at full steam right now. There will be days when you can’t concentrate at all.

That’s okay. Go easy on yourself and if you need some time out, don’t be afraid to take it. We are all just trying to find a path through the next few difficult months ahead.


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Read next…

If you have found this article useful then why not grab my FREE bloggers self-isolation survival guide? (Also useful for solopreneurs and anyone with an online business.) It’s a 21-page ebook packed full of tips and advice to get you through this difficult period.

In it you will find;

  • More productivity tips
  • A 30-day social media content plan 
  • Topics popular now 
  • Which articles travel bloggers should focus on 
  • Ways to make money when your blog isn’t  
  • Projects you can work on during self-isolation
  • Business and life goal planner
  • A self-isolation checklist to keep you sane
  • Self-care tips 
  • Podcast recommendations to help bloggers and online business owners thrive 
  • Mental health tips to help during self-isolation
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Can you do a fellow blogger a favour and pin this to your Pinterest boards? Thanks a million!

work from home pin 1

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