How to Be Productive at Home When Self-Employed

Location: La Mamounia Spa, Marrakech

I’ve pretty much lost count of the weeks and days that I have become my own boss and am now working from the comfort of my own home. The advantages of this are endless. I decide on my working hours, and being a worker bee like me, this may even be a bad thing as I often work well into the night. I can work in jeans rather than a suit, I don’t have to style my hair or put on makeup and if I feel like keeping to myself a little (as let’s be honest, we all have those days), then I am free to do just that. I can stop to eat when I want, stop to walk my dog when I want…you get the point. It also let’s me deal with things around the house that would normally take me weeks or months to do if I was working my old full time job! Things like selling a load of bags and shoes that I don’t wear anymore or sort out boxes of items that really don’t need to be in boxes but just need organising. I can also work with my Frenchie Luna at my feet, which just makes me so happy. She is after all, my shadow!

All that said, like everything in life there are two sides to a coin. In my opinion the positive outweighs the negative, but there are of course … negatives. It means that sometimes you can do things which, although useful in their own right, are not productive or helpful to your business. I’ll be honest and say that at first I struggled with these things. So what does any millenial do nowadays to find answers to their questions? You ask Instagram! I got some great tips that I’ve been applying for a few days and have now found what seems to be working for me. In the same question, so many people asked if I could share the tips that I had received for being productive at home. So here they are, my 6 favourite tips from you, shared for those that asked 🙂

Productive at Home

1. Plan Out Your Day

This has to be the tip that was given the most, as well as the one which has helped me the most. Rather than just winging it everyday, plan out the day ahead and list all the things you want to get done. Now there are many ways of working through this, one suggestion was to start with the things that are your least favourite so you get them out of the way. The second is to prioritise that list. Once you’ve decided on how you plan to work through the things you need to do, break up your day into hourly slots and fill them with what you plan to do in those hours.

Here’s how I work: if something does not get done by the time I have allocated for it and there is no deadline, I move it over to the next day. If there is a deadline that is non-negotiable, I make that one item my priority for the day. My average day would start with an hour to an hour and a half of answering Instagram comments in bed or just engaging, next it’s 30 minutes to juice my celery and wash the blender (if anyone knows of a blender that doesn’t take an age to clean, please let me know!). I then schedule another 30 minutes to take my dog for her first walk. I get home, make a coffee, normally eat a banana and then start my work. I break for an hour to make and eat late lunch, generally do more Instagram engaging over that time and then take my dog for her second walk. The rest of the day is spent at my desk until I need to make dinner. Two hours break for cooking dinner and eating, then it’s either back to the desk or more Instagram engaging. Sounds like a lot but on average I spend about 4 hours a day working on Instagram engagement – whilst sometimes tiring, it is the only way to organically grow your following.

I go a step further and plan out different things for different days. Saturday is my day for laundry, ironing and cleaning the house. Aside from that, I also plan one day alone for external meetings. In previous weeks I used to schedule one a day to show that I was busy everyday – I have no one to show I am busy to now that I don’t have a boss to impress. Having one day away from the desk where I get all my meetings done saves me so much time for the rest of the week. I keep one hour every morning for answering emails or following up, one afternoon for pitching to brands I want to work with and so on. Everything is in blocks and assigned to a day of the week.

2. Clear Space and Desk

Another great tip, because a cluttered work space will result in a cluttered mind and many distractions. I’m lucky that I have an office to work from at home and I make it a point that my desk is clear of papers that I do not need. This also applies to tabs that you have open in your browser. For most, this means closing or logging out of all social media and closing any unwanted tabs with websites that are going to distract. Unfortunately for me, my new job is all about social media and my online presence so it is sometimes a little tough to stay focused! What I definitely do though is turn the sound off on my phone and move it where I can’t see it or turn the screen upside down. If you are finding yourself getting distracted at home, pick up your laptop and head to the nearest quiet spot with wifi, like your local Starbucks or library.

Productive at Home

3. Write Out Your Goals

Yes – another list, but I’m finding that lists are key! The other evening at about 1am, I decided to come into my home office and work on my list of goals. I wrote out everything that I want to achieve in the next few months, the projects I want to work on, all of my bright ideas that I said I would do the day I stop working… Another great tip from one of you was to keep these points up where you can see them so that they are a constant source of motivation. They recommended a white board, but I just so happen to have a corkboard sitting just towards the left of me. When I find my mind wandering, I look over and see my goals and remind myself that they aren’t going to happen if my mind keeps wandering.

4. Get Dressed

Obviously I don’t expect people to be running around naked all day, but what I mean by this is don’t hang around in your pyjamas. At least not everyday. This is pretty impossible for me anyway as I need to take my dog for a walk at at least twice a day, but if you have no reason to go out then I realise this could be tempting. Get up, get dressed like you are going to work, brush your teeth, comb your hair and start your day. I’m not talking about getting dressed in a suit, or putting on make-up – I mean just do those basic things that make you presentable and motivated to get stuff done. As I write this, I’m sitting in denim shorts, a jumper and a fresh face feeling pumped to get this article out.

5. Multitask

This is a little cheeky insert from me as it’s one of my own personal tips to be productive at home. There are days when I cannot multitask at all to save my life, but most days I am the queen of it. So when it came to working from home, I realised that being able to multitask is just going to help me so much. I’ll give you some examples. When I was 18 I studied Russian for two years, then I graduated from university and the Russian kind of got abandoned. That being said, I can still write it and read it (although I probably won’t know what I am reading). For ages I have wanted to pick this up again and I think it every time I am in a Russian speaking country – that I can understand snippets of sentences and would probably pick it up if I was just here long enough. Now whilst I am walking my dog, I can’t really do much else, so instead of listening to music or calling my mother, I listen to two or more ‘learn Russian’ podcasts. I also do this whilst ironing and it’s the same way I work on my Instagram engagement whilst I eat my lunch. I realise this is not entirely solely business-related but you can apply it in whatever way you like. I multitask to maximise my time and it just allows me to do and achieve more.

Productive at Home

6. Work When You Are Most Productive

The beauty about being your own boss and being self-employed is that you have no one telling you how to do your job best or when you should do your job best. In the past, I’ve struggled with having to be in the office at 8am, yet have always been happy to work to 2am if necessary. It’s just how my body works best and working from home allows me to optimise this. So I want to end this by saying – you just do you! The main thing to remember is that so long as you are getting things done, being productive at home and moving forward with your business, then you’ve got it down!

Do you have any more tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Productive at Home

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Pictures taken at the beautiful La Mamounia Spa in Marrakech, Morocco

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