Productivity Tips for Working at Home
Some days feel like I’m spinning my wheels. Other days, my productivity is so awesome it’s a little scary. I started asking myself why such a difference? I can’t always blame it on spring break or a sick day, because it happens both ways whether the kids are home or not.
One of the biggest reasons I came up with:
I can get so caught up in the immediate details of what I’m doing that it’s easy to overlook the fact that I’m not working very efficiently. I just logged in to that website yesterday, so why is it taking me so long today to repeat the exact same steps?
Often the answer is: I need to step back and create a process.
“A few minutes well spent on looking at the bigger picture and documenting the process has a huge return on investment for working more efficiently in the long run.” -Teresa Huff, VA Moms Network
Processes were super important when I started working full time from home for a real estate investment company. My job involved managing many multiple projects with moving parts, all at the same time, all with tight deadlines and different team members. Some of my tasks were new to me, and many were new to the company as it grew. We had to document the processes since most of us worked from different locations around the country.
We used a shared Google doc; then any of us could update or clarify steps as needed.
I realized this strategy can be applied to my own business and personal tasks, improving my productivity in those areas as well. It also helps reduce frustration by documenting the predictable steps.
Good reasons for creating processes:
- You can start doing tasks you thought you didn’t have the skills for. For example, I didn’t have much experience using QuickBooks. But because of good processes, soon I was managing complicated accounts for multiple companies.
- Productivity jumps and you become much more efficient.
- Infrequent tasks are easier because the steps are in place. Think website updates or creating a monthly report. You don’t have to try and remember the process every time because it’s laid out right in front of you.
- You can train others to help.
- When your processes are documented, you can better explain to clients what you do.
- Someone can fill in for you when you are gone.
- Company policies and procedures can be developed when processes are documented.
Processes are a constant work in progress. We can’t let our inner perfectionist stress out if they’re never “done,” because that’s not the point. The processes need to be adjusted as the company grows or we take on different types of work. Process lists serve as a guide for tasks and becoming more efficient.
A few lifesaving productivity processes for me:
- How to set up a blog post or newsletter
- Creating a list of bills that come each month and a calendar of those that come sporadically
- Website updates and security checks
- Calendar reminders of upcoming expiration dates – website hosting, domain names, client contracts, etc.
- Login info and a list of frequently used online tools
Other helpful processes might be setting up a webinar, designing an e-book, accounting tasks, creating templates for frequently used email messages, online shipping tools, meal planning, and the list goes on…
Take a step back and look at your everyday tasks. There’s a Free Printable: Create a Process in the Resource Library to help you get started. (If you’re already a member, you can log in here.)
What processes can you create to help reduce frustration and make the most of your time? Let me know in the comments below.
Know of someone who could use these tips? Please share with a friend!
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