Wednesday, September 21, 2016

3 Things to Do For Productivity (This Week!)

Working from home is no easy feat. I really love being able to do so, but like anything, it has its own unique set of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles for me in the very beginning was understanding that I needed to set aside specific times for work, just as I would if I was in an office.

Now as a couple years have gone by of 100% working full time from home, I've realized that the state of my "office," which includes my email inbox, directly correlates with my mood, motivation, and productivity. I wanted to share a few things that work for me, and always get me on a productive path --

1) Get your inboxes down to ZERO.

This sounds impossible, right? Or maybe not, if you're totally on top of it. I'm a highly organized person but STILL my inbox will grow out of control if I don't keep a sharp eye on it. I have realized that if I let it get it go, even for a few days, my attitude about work totally changes. I begin to feel overwhelmed almost immediately, which totally affects my productivity. Now I get my inbox to zero almost every single day. It takes work at first- it took me days to go through my three accounts- but once I properly filed, deleted, or replied to everything it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Now I try to attack my inbox each time I log on to work, and answer things daily in order of priority, but also DELETE and unsubscribe immediately. Get rid of the junk! Getting to zero first though is key- it's so freeing to have a fresh slate every day, or even every Monday morning if daily is too much.

2) Block out an hour of time, at a time, for straight work. 

I schedule my days depending on what I have going on. Almost every morning I try to wake up before everyone else and bust out an hour of work. Because I work remotely and most of my colleagues work in the office, waking up early is a great substitute for staying up late. Things that are due still get to the person's inbox by the start of the work day, and I feel so much fresher in the early morning than the late evening. So I'll block out an hour, work, then get everyone up and ready. Most days I will take the boys to school then I'll come home and block out another hour and continue doing so throughout the day. And when I say "block out an hour" I mean truly block it out- I won't answer texts or look at social media- it's straight working until the timer goes off. I've experimented with different blocks of time for this, and I've found that an hour is the most productive for me personally. I can get so much done, and when the block is up I take a break- maybe I'll do my workout then, switch gears and write a blog post, whatever. But scheduling time out and making sure when I work I just work has helped make the most of my time at home.

3) Complete a Weekly Roundup each Friday.

I started doing this at Ergobaby, and still do, but now do it for all of my ongoing projects. I have a lot going on- Ergobaby, Daley PR stuff, and my own stuff, so it can be a lot. I don't like to say busy- I like to say full! So life is very full right now. ;) Haha. But every Friday I will make a three-part list for each "job" I have. Done (tasks completed that week), To-Do (tasks to be completed the next week), and On-Going Projects. This has been a game-changer for me because every week I remain accountable to myself for each project, campaign, etc I have going on. By also making a list of what is coming up big and small, I'm able to map out my time and also schedule blocks of time and calls for the next week. This is key. It's also nice to see all you've accomplished and it allows you to keep yourself in check. Note: I keep this list online- it lives in my notes- so I can copy and paste things from each section to the next.

And one more thing- I always, always have a fantastic agenda on hand. It's so important for me to be able to write things down on paper- off of the online calendar- and be able to physically see what's going on. It's really the only way for me to stay organized. If you don't already use a paper planner, try it for 2017! Some of my favorites: Kate Spade planners, Rifle Paper Co., and this simple brand (my HS and college go-to) is great too.



  1. These are such great tips! It's been a goal of mine to work from home for years, and now that I've finally been able to do so, I'm almost wishing I was back in an office! I find it super hard to be as productive as I'd like and I feel like my work is suffering. Question - do you find yourself taking notes, doing your weekly roundup, etc. with paper and pen, or with something like Google Docs? I always struggle between the two. Also, I've heard great thing about this productivity timer, and I love the design -

    Thanks, Dani! (LONG time reader, first time commenter, woo!)

  2. Thank you for this! I started working from home in January and sometimes I just feel so defeated and wonder if it's possible to really feel like I've been productive. I love your weekly roundup idea and the blocking off time an hour at a time. I'm going to do that!

  3. I have really enjoyed going through your blog. Many posts strike a cord, but this one the most. Thank you for having such sound advice and bringing value. I work both outside and inside the home and it can really take a toll on you if you don't learn how to manage it properly. I think this week's task is going to be to work on that zero emails. :)