Routine, as defined by Dictionary.com: commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity: the routine of an office.
While it’s important to have a specific routine for any job, I think this is especially true for anyone who freelances/works from home. When you’re home, it’s so easy to get sidetracked with other tasks. If you can’t focus, the work will suffer.
Here are some tips to get more focused:
When you work from home, a lot can depend on what other family members having going on. Making sure you have childcare or send the kids off to school can help you flesh out your own routine.
Since I’ve begun freelancing as a virtual assistant, my routine has changed a few times, and it’s
easier different during the summer months because the kids would sleep until noon if I let them. Here’s how you can set up a routine for working from home to amp up your focus:
- If you like to exercise, do it first thing in the morning. Get it right out of the way. If you’re like me and walk your kids to and from school, then it’s a no-brainer, unless you supplement your walking with other forms of exercise. Exercise gets the blood pumping!
- Shower and make yourself presentable. Skype calls can (and often do) happen at a moments’ notice. Being ready for anything can help you stay focused because then you won’t panic to get presentable.
- Set aside 15-20 minutes each morning to check and respond to emails. Don’t go back to your inbox until just before your workday ends. Do it, then ignore it, all in the name of staying focused.
- Limit your use of social media. This one is tough, especially for a VA who supports clients with social media! I curb this by allowing myself some time to check social media while I eat breakfast. Then I stay off until my most challenging tasks are complete. It’s also helpful to use apps to help block social media for you. A popular Facebook app for this is ToDoBook. It allows you to plug in some tasks, and won’t allow you to check Facebook until you’ve completed each task.
- Take 10 minutes to stretch after every two hours of work. Take breaks to grab a coffee or check the mail.
- Set aside 30 minutes for lunch and eat outside if the weather permits. Feeling like you’ve had a decent lunch break can help you stay focused because then you aren’t wishing you were outside instead (as much!).
- Have you checked out the Pomodoro Technique? I’ve mentioned it in a previous post but I mention it again because it really does amp up productivity. Read about it here. It’s a great way to stay focused.
- Dress appropriately. It’s really difficult to keep the focus on tasks at hand if you’re too warm or too cold.
- Have bottled water close by. Staying hydrated is not only healthy, but it’s refreshing and can help with focus.
- Do you get more done when listening to music? Enjoy your favourite tunes while you work!
I hope these tips have helped. If you need other ways to amp up productivity, maybe it’s time for a virtual assistant!
Questions or comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk!