Trust me… all bloggers know the feeling.
You sit down at your computer, looking ahead to a full day of work. If you start now, you’ll be right on track to finish and enjoy some free time later this afternoon. Before you start, though, you decide you’ll just do a quick Facebook check.
One thing leads to another and, before you know it, you’ve lost an hour to internet surfing and shopping. Now you’re stressed out and anxious.
How do you avoid this frustrating yet common situation?
While staying on-task as a work-at-home blogger can be tough, there are dozens of ways to stay productive without driving yourself insane.
Few things are as frustrating as falling off task. Avoid it with the help of these nine tips:
1. Install a customized browser dashboard
As the day wears on and you get tired, you’re more subject to distractions and productivity-sucking detours. To avoid these, consider installing a custom dashboard in your browser. A popular favorite is Momentum, which makes every new Browser tab into a personalized dashboard featuring my name, a daily to-do, and an inspirational message.
While a dashboard like this is an easy way to stay productive, it’s also an excellent way to avoid getting lost on the internet and to make staying on-task just a bit easier every day.
2. Learn your optimal schedule, and stick to it
As a stay-at-home blogger, you have the luxury to determine which schedule will work best for you. As such, it’s critical to understand which portions of the day your brain works best, and then dedicate those to work. I, for example, try to arrange all of my content creation for the mornings, since I feel most alert and attentive then.
As the afternoon rolls around, I switch over to administrative tasks, such as scheduling meetings and making phone calls. This allows me to stay productive and on-task without wanting to rip my hair out in the process.
3. Get dressed for work every day
As a stay-at-home blogger, it can be tempting to take your style tips from The Dude from The Big Lebowski. The reality is that many work-from-home bloggers “go to work” every day in sweatpants or pajamas, and while there isn’t anything technically wrong with this, it can damage your productivity.
According to Shopify, getting dressed in your work-day best is a great way to boost your productivity and have an easier time staying on task all day.
Because clothes define how we feel about ourselves and are a wonderful tool for compartmentalizing the different portions of our day (slacks for work, for example, and stretchy pants for movie night), getting dressed for success can be an excellent way to spike your productivity.
4. Do your best to minimize distractions
Minimizing distractions is critical for enhanced productivity, and stay-at-home bloggers who remove distractions as much as possible have a higher success rate.
One great way to minimize distractions is to set up a particular area for work in your home. If you have an office, shut the door, lay your cell phone face-down on the desk, and turn off the television.
If you don’t have an office, choose a quiet section of the house where you can have some space to dig in and focus. To take this a step further, consider installing a website blocker on the computer you use to write. Many entrepreneurs and bloggers favor Freedom, which temporarily blocks the internet, social media, and apps (or a combination of these) from Windows and Mac computers and iPhones.
Freedom is ideal for anyone who struggles with internet distractions or for bloggers who only want to eliminate them and use a computer as a strict word processor for a certain period of time.
5. Define a set “work day”
If you worked in an office or have had a 9-5, you’d have set working hours. Unfortunately, many stay-at-home bloggers forget to set work hours for themselves, which results in a fragmented, unstructured, and unproductive day. Avoid this by defining your at-home workday and sticking with it.
Of course, the hours you work each day will depend on your workload and personal preferences, so there’s no one-size fits all answer for this. Keep in mind, though, that The Economist has conducted research that shows that people who work fewer hours tend to be more productive. Consider the following graph of their findings:
With that in mind, decrease your working hours if you can. If you can’t, do more to define them. Even if you work fragmented hours around kids, family, or other obligations, be sure to demarcate your hours and stick to them as much as possible.
While this is a simple tip, it’s one that can enhance your productivity and make it easier to stay on task all day long.
6. Take frequent breaks throughout the day
While many people equate taking breaks with a dip in productivity, the opposite is true. While one out of every five employees say that they feel too guilty to take regular breaks, the fact is that workers are 9% more productive when they take regular breaks.
Regular breaks throughout the day give us a chance to step away from work, develop a fresher perspective, and allow our brains to process and absorb information. Because of this, they’re an essential part of a healthy workday for stay-at-home bloggers.
7. Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet
While diet affects virtually everything in our lives, it can be particularly detrimental to productivity. In fact, food is so important to our daily output that HubSpot and EBOC teamed up to create something called the “Productivity Diet” and to create visuals that help bloggers learn how to use it (check out their full infographic on Entrepreneur).
According to this ultra-productive team, employees who eat healthy foods throughout the day are 25% more likely to enjoy a productive and alert workday. What’s more, workers who consume healthy foods perform an average of 11% better at their jobs than their unhealthy peers.
8. Boost productivity by getting organized at the beginning and end of each day
One of the best ways to stay productive is simply to stay organized. If you’re not organized, it’s difficult to put out high-quality work and keep your stress levels low. Because of this, the most successful stay-at-home bloggers have developed a schedule that allows them to get organized at the beginning and end of each day.
To prevent being overwhelmed and set the stage for a productive workday, start your morning off by batch-checking your emails, getting yourself some coffee and water and keeping it nearby on your desk, and defining 2-3 priorities for the day. Once you’ve done this, dive in. If you feel yourself starting to get distracted, take a quick break and have a healthy snack.
In the evening, check off the things you got done during the day and define your priorities for the next day. While these are simple steps, they can go a long way toward helping you create a more organized and efficient daily schedule.
9. Get adequate exercise on a daily basis
As bloggers, one of the main things we struggle with is making time for regular exercise. While working from home offers a large amount of freedom, it also makes it easier to skip out of visiting the gym in favor of working for a few more hours or deep-cleaning the bathroom. Unfortunately, failing to exercise has a negative impact on our productivity.
To be more productive and feel healthier every day, get enough exercise. It doesn’t matter if you take a 20-minute walk around the block or get sweaty in an intense CrossFit session – simply getting up and getting active is a critical part of increased productivity.
For further proof, check out this smart Paychex infographic:
Learning Ways to Stay Productive and Happy in the Work-at-Home Environment
While there are dozens of big benefits of working from home, learning ways to stay productive can be difficult. Between household distractions and the difficulty of staying on-task as we get tired toward the end of the day, work-at-home bloggers face many productivity pitfalls.
Luckily, it’s easy to avoid these pitfalls by focusing on learning how to increase productivity and attention across the board. By doing simple things like eating healthy meals and taking frequent breaks, stay-at-home bloggers can enjoy more productive and streamlined days, every single day.