Working from home is one of the most exciting things until…
You find it hard to get off your soft big bed. Then, little Winnie invites you to watch cartoons, you watch a while and take a stroll to the kitchen.
Your loving neighbor waves and you open up the door to receive commendation about how beautiful you made your courtyard.
Right there, her twin girls chase themselves down to where you two are, crying their eyes out. With all the sincerity in your heart, you join in begging them to calm down and fight no more.
You’re done and phew! You really should get to work. After freshening up in a rush, you jump to where work is, and check time and oh…
Time has gone! And you didn’t get work done.
You can win this battle against unproductivity if you PLAN YOUR DAY. So, how do you plan your day when you work from home?
1. Set SMART Goals up for eyeing
This here is my number one tip for slaying your work-from-home career.
First off, set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely goals. You can make a big vision or dream board. However you want, make it fancy or serious. Just set those big fat goals already.
Now place it where you can see it, for constant reminders. Actually, this is my biggest motivator for planning my day. You know the lazy work-from-home syndrome can make me lose track of time and seriousness.
But the moment I set my eyes on my goals board, which isn’t usually a long time before it happens, my brain light signals green. I shake off whatever and get to work.
So, setting your SMART goals and putting them where you can always see is a great long-term everyday planner for you.
2. Create a Work Schedule
As a stay-at-home entrepreneur, it can get messy managing and balancing work, family, and life.
This is why you need a work schedule to draw a thick line between your personal affairs and business. I like to call it “focus schedule” cause it keeps you focused.
When I started my freelance writing career, I’d forget to cook and stay glued to my PC screen the whole day. At some point, I’d feel very hungry, look up and realize it was 9:30pm when the last time I saw before then was 10:15am.
That was how I lived for a long while; no work plan, skipped mealtime, late night sleeps, super-late morning wakings, headaches, burnout, hunger, body pains and more ‘not so good’ experiences.
But who would have thought…
That with all my jumbled affairs and dedicatedly messed up work style, the result ended up being reduced productivity. Set a work schedule.
3. Build a Home Office
The other day I went to my favorite salon to get my hair done. After the whole thing, she took me to a portion she set apart for pictures.
She had beautiful decorations on the wall, a well-set camera, and a ring light to make the pictures pop.
Here’s the thing, she created an aura of what a studio is like.
Create a replica of the office place. It will make you more committed to crushing your goals. Design your home office in a way that makes you inspired to work. It is still an office, an office inside your home.
So instead of sprawling out on the couch, or sitting or lying on the bed lazily hitting the buttons on the keyboard, let’s move to your home office.
Just sitting in an office chair, tucked underneath your work desk, your chin up and your work schedule and vision board on the wall, oh please, you will definitely smash your daily goals.
4. Start Your Day Early
Naturally, I’m a night owl. I prefer to be up the whole night than wake up in the early hours of the morning. But my excuse of not being an early riser would make me sleep by 4am and wake up by 9:30am.
Before you give that eye, know this…I’m smarter now. Haha!
Now 9:30am? How far could I go? Just the mere thought of achieving my daily bucket lists made me tired.
Social media, content creation, freelance writing clients and more giants to tackle. I’d rush off to the kitchen to make something before I take a bath. By the time I was done, it was usually mid-day.
One of the secrets to swiftly tackling daily goals is to rise up early–even if you’re not an early riser.
I’m still a night owl, just no longer the commander-general. I’m a humble recruit now. To make the most of my day, I now sleep by 1:00-1:30am and wake up by 7am. This gives me time to pray, workout, bath, cook, and eat before it is 10am.
You really can do better. But this is what works for me, my own definition of early.
5. Begin With a Productivity Trigger
I like to refer to productivity triggers as actions/activities that boost your energy, vibe and morale to be more productive.
To start your day as a work-from-home entrepreneur, engage in activities that shoot up your energy, give you high morale, or simply make you happy.
This can be starting your day with prayers, meditation, workouts, morning runs or walks, listening to music, dancing, taking smoothie, energy boost drinks etc.
When you start your day in a happy and energetic mood, you accomplish tasks with more ease than when you do them without motivation.
6. Write down Chunks of Daily Goals
So, a lot of times, even though you have your big vision board staring back at you like “Hey baddie! I hope you’re working hard for me,” you might still lack the motivation to work.
Why is that?
It is too big! Not the board, the goals. It is too wide and seemingly complicated for a daily task. I know it’s all SMART goals. That’s cool, but you need SMART daily goals.
So what do you do?
Everyday, write out the daily pick of your big goals and stick the list to a pole or jar on your desk (or wherever you prefer).
It might not be easy getting daily out of monthly, yearly or ‘way bigger than that’ goals. Get your weekly goals out first. Then every day, make a list of the goals you want to score.
7. Set Ground Rules
If you don’t set ground rules, those little monsters will not let you achieve daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or any goals at all.
I’m talking about them, distractions. Yes, working from home is sweet and fun and allows flexibility, until all the noises, social media buzz, chit chats, unplanned movies, and talkative neighbors begin to gulp down your time, and progress like thirsty camels drinking water.
To manage distractions, you must develop self-discipline as a work-from-home entrepreneur. It’s important to set work boundaries. It helps you to greatly stick to your work schedules.
8. Take A Lotta Breaks
Get out of your chair sometimes, take a stroll, relax, eat a healthy lunch, stretch your back…
You are at home, and working really hard to grow your business. Don’t get stressed, you need all the pampering in the world. Work-pampering, please.
If you are like me, you can go take a shower if you feel you’re losing your mind or having a brain overheat. Afterall, you’re on break, in your home.
You need breaks to take your eyes off the screen and absorb the non-digital world. If you’re rather social media-addicted, use your breaks to roam the online world, connect with like-minds, watch funny videos, learn new hacks, talk to business mentors.
9. Start with the bigger, not harder tasks
That time of the morning when you feel all fresh and energetic is the best time to take on bigger tasks.
I prefer not to say ‘harder,’ but ‘bigger.’ Bigger tasks are those that require more time, attention, energy and critical thinking. Hard tasks, on the other hand, are simply what they are–hard.
Here’s what I mean:
There was a day I wanted to code a particular program on my WordPress website. I’m not a tech-expert, and particularly a disaster at coding. So I thought to code and save social media posts for later since it was better to do the harder tasks first. Can you guess?
I ended up coding the whole day, and it extended till the next day. Plus, I didn’t post on social media eventually, I needed a mental break after the whole thing.
So If you have several tasks, start with the bigger one. For example, create your blog post first (the bigger task-because it requires a lot; researching, drafting, SEO, proofreading, editing and formatting) and design your blog graphics on Canva later (the smaller task).
If it’s a harder versus easier task (now, this is relative) such as coding (for non-tech savvies) and sharing a pin on Pinterest, I advise that you start with the easier one to get stuff done faster and come back to focus on the difficult task.
10. Know When to Call It A Day
This is a pain in the ass, which the majority of us find hard to remove. Know when to close from work even if you work from home.
Knowing when to stop working, and pay attention to your personal life and family is important for work-life balance .
Overworking does not move you forward, balancing does.
Imagine you work with a company, you resume work by 8am and go home by 5pm. This is the same approach you need to use in your business. Know when to close up work and leave the office room.
11. Home-Slay Work Clothes
This probably isn’t part of the points you expected, but it is solid and effective. It is not a you-must-do if you work pretty well in anything, but it sure gives you the same feeling being in the office. Dressing up for your work-from-home job gives you an urge for business and productivity.
Although sometimes, you could get hung up in PJs and shorts and boxers, it’s all about making things work. You don’t have to suit up, or wear high heels if you’re not the type who loves them.
Just wear the sets of clothes you’re comfy in but would fit work, and make you feel worky. Don’t get addicted to PJs though, might ooze a sleepy feel, who knows.
Extra Tips For Easily-Distracted WFH Entrepreneurs like me…
12. Set Alarms Like Crazy
I don’t have guts when it comes to resisting distractions on my own. What I do to manage my time and achieve my daily goal is to set alarms like crazy. I don’t fancy alarm clocks, so I use my phone which is better considering the fact that it is mobile.
I get irritated from the first screech or tone alarms make, and that’s what helps me. I set alarms for waking up, prayers, working out, cooking, eating, sending pitches, just to indicate the start and end of a particular task. I don’t set alarms for everything I do though, just the ones that can make me lose focus.
This is what works for me. I hope it doesn’t look like horror, but if you get easily distracted like me and you’re not resistant to alarm clocks, give it a trial. I promise, it’s not as frustrating and noise-invoking as it sounds.
13. Use Sticky Notes
I put little sticky notes everywhere around my workspace. I’m like that…and this really works. I like to see an ‘up-next’ in the list of tasks I have for the day.
However, it’s not always just tasks, sometimes, I write inspiring texts, or my why–the reason for doing what I do–in these little pieces of paper.
Yay! You’re fully-kitted to plan your day
Planning your day gives you better business focus and thus, more productivity. This is important to prevent high blood pressure, burn out, mental stress, frustration, doubt, lack of motivation, or loss of career interest.
It’s good to work remotely, especially when it’s from your home where you can grab some freshly made juice, and self-made nutritious sandwiches, but this shouldn’t be abused. Your work convenience shouldn’t be at the expense of your business and life development.
You can plan your work days and manage time with planning apps as well. Don’t forget to set a work schedule, stick to it and set ground rules.
Which of these do you need to work on to plan your day effectively? Let me know in the comments!