Ever find yourself at the end of the day wondering where the day actually went? Then, you need these 10 productivity tips for when you’re stuck at home.
Whether you work from home, are a stay-at-home parent, homeschool, or are simply stuck at home for by choice, you’ll find these tips will show you how to be productive by avoiding procrastination and staying focused so you can get crap done.
The Best Productivity Tips To Help You Get Stuff Done At Home
Contrary to popular belief, being productive does not mean the ability to ‘do all the things’. Quite the opposite. It’s being able to focus on the important things while simultaneously eliminating the unnecessary.
Best books on productivity
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- The One Thing by Gary Keller
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Essentialism-The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
1.) Make your bed
According to experts, the act of making your bed each morning motivates you to be more productive throughout the day.
I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s harder to crawl back into a freshly-made bed. Maybe that’s just me.
Seriously though, the impact making your bed has on productivity is so important a whole book has been written about it.
According to Admiral William H. McRaven (ret):
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
2.) Create a 3-item to-do list
Many of us have fallen into the trap of creating long (unachievable) to-do lists and subsequentially beating ourselves up when we fail to follow through with them.
The simple solution to this problem is to create small, manageable to-do lists, containing no more than three items to be completed each day.
You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get things done and increase your productivity when you simplify your to-do list!
Identify the one thing which will have the greatest impact on your number one goal, and do that one thing first.
3.) Do one thing
Oftentimes, the best way to stop procrastinating and be more productive is simply to do one thing.
For larger tasks, it’s best to break them up into smaller, more manageable micro-tasks which will result in them being ridiculously easy to tackle.
Here are some examples of ‘one thing’ tasks you can complete quickly:
- Do one load of dishes
- Make one appointment
- Pay one bill
- Do one load of laundry
- Dust one shelf
- Respond to one email
- Vacuum one room
Once you’ve accomplished your ‘one thing’, pat yourself on the back, and give yourself a high-five! You’ve now discovered how easy it is to move on to the next ‘one thing’.
4.) Eliminate distractions
There’s a widely-circulated myth that multitasking works. The process of switching your brain back and forth between two (or more) tasks only serves to waste valuable mental energy.
The cure to multitasking? When you are involved in a task, focus only on that task.
Let’s face it, there are countless things vying for our attention on any given day. From the constant ‘ding’ of notifications to (if you have kids or a spouse) someone needing to eat, have their diaper changed or needing help finding something.
Even normally enjoyable things such as unexpected guests and cute, cuddly pets can be a distraction when you’re trying to get stuff done.
While some distractions are necessary such as eating, going to the bathroom, feeding the baby, and letting the dog out; the majority are completely avoidable and can be blocked out, turned off, and flat-out declined.
Here are several ways you can eliminate distractions at home in order to increase productivity:
- Turn off the tv
- Turn off your cell phone (don’t just put it in silent mode…it will still vibrate, which is the same thing as ringing)
- Disable notifications
- Schedule times to check email and social media
- Put a sign on your front door that says ‘Baby sleeping, come back later’ (Even if you don’t have a baby)
- Say ‘no’ to unnecessary requests
- Take breaks
Studies show that people tend to leave others alone when they see that the other person is wearing headphones. So, if tuning-out noisy distractions is a problem for you, try a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
5.) Declutter daily
Physical clutter equals mental clutter.
Make time each day to declutter your living space. A clutter-free home promotes productivity and peace of mind.
Set a goal to declutter at least one unnecessary object from your home each day. By the end of the year, you’ll be 365 items lighter!
6.) Use the 1-touch rule
If you added up all of the minutes you spend every day moving things around (without actually dealing with them), you’d have a lot of minutes!
For example, when you come home, do you carelessly toss your keys on the counter, couch, or someplace else instead of putting them on a key rack or in a bowl by the door?
Or, maybe your significant other constantly discards their dirty socks on the floor…six feet away from the laundry hamper.
Instead of removing the laundry from the dryer and placing it in a laundry basket on the floor (1-touch), then, later moving that laundry basket to the living room (2-touches), where you then fold the clothes and leave them on the couch for a few hours until you can take care of them (3-touches), before, eventually, moving them to your bedroom and stacking them on top of the dresser to deal with later (4-touches), where your spouse accidentally knocks the pile of folded laundry on the floor while searching for a shirt to wear (5-touches), resulting in you promptly picking up said clothes and re-folding them (6-touches), and FINALLY, two days later…you put the clothes away (7-touches). Only to start the entire process over the following day!
Wouldn’t it have made more sense (and saved you a TON of time) if you simply folded the clothes as soon as you removed them from the dryer and promptly put them away?
This is the one-touch rule in action.
7.) Take time for self-care
It’s a well-known fact that taking care of yourself results in increased productivity.
Self-care needn’t be costly, or time-consuming.
It can be as simple as prioritizing your basic needs like getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking more water, and exercising for 30-minutes per day, five days a week.
You can increase your productivity at home by working on a task for 25 minutes, then take a break and spend the next 15 minutes doing something you enjoy.
- Go on a walk
- Read a chapter in a book
- Take a bubble bath
- Work on a hobby
Did you know that decluttering is a form of self-care?
8.) Plan for tomorrow today
Another helpful productivity tip when you’re stuck at home is to plan ahead for the next day.
There’s no need to stress yourself out by spending an hour each and every night meticulously filling in every available spot in your planner.
You can simply make note of any important appointments, goals, and tasks for the following day, so they are out of your head before you turn in for the night.
WHAT? YOU DON’T USE A PLANNER!? Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. Didn’t you know that using a planner is the absolute best way to be productive? I recommend this one in case you’re interested.
9.) Deal with papers as they come in
FYI: if you follow the one-touch rule in step (6), your paper clutter will be non-existent and you can skip this step!
Otherwise…start dealing with papers as soon as they enter your home. Keep a wastebasket near the front door and trash junk mail immediately.
Set up a command center with three main files:
- Pay-for upcoming bills
- Plan-to record in your planner or on your calendar
- File-to file later
As soon as a piece of paper touches your hands, decide which file to place it in. Once a week, go through the contents in the file and deal with each item appropriately.
10.) Reset your home for the next day
Set yourself up for tomorrow’s success by quickly wiping down countertops, tidying up clutter hotspots, and taking out the trash each night before you go to bed.
These simple tasks will only take about 10 minutes to complete, yet will allow you to reset your home (and your mind) for the following day.
I sincerely hope these productivity tips help you make the most of your time at home!