Working from home is the new normal for many entrepreneurs in the U.S. and the trend is catching on across the globe. It definitely has its perks. However, if you aren’t careful, unproductive bad habits can result in decreased motivation, success and sales.
So, if you are serious about your business and want to get more when you’re working from home, here are 5 ways to be more productive.
1. Stick to a schedule
It is tempting to just randomly complete tasks and work on whatever you feel like, but that really isn’t being productive at all. Make sure you have very clear business goals set for your year and each month. Create your weekly and daily to-do list, and then schedule those important tasks.
2. Be prepared
I actually get ready for the day as if I was going into an office outside of my home. Even if you decide to put comfy pants back on, the act of working out, having a shower, and reviewing your goals for the day, puts you into the frame of mind to get things done.
Plus, just because you work from home doesn’t mean unexpected client meetings don’t happen. And no one wants to meet a client in pajamas. Also, create a dedicated workspace to get more prepared, organized and focused.
3. Get creative
Sometimes when you’re working from home, you can get stuck or your ideas and lack creativity. Remember to take breaks throughout the day, talk and walk, or get out every once in awhile to a new space.
Visit an art gallery, take in a show, or attend a speaker session to get inspired. Allotting one day a week to get out of the house and work in a cool new coffee shop or coworking space can do wonders for your creativity and productivity.
4. Say ‘no’
It’s tempting to agree to everything anyone throws your way, especially if your business is just getting started. But sometimes, you just have to say ‘no’.
The next time someone asks to “pick your brain” or do work for exposure, think about if the project will help you reach your ultimate goal. I’m not saying you shouldn’t help others. However, if you find yourself spending all of your time on other people’s projects, rethink how you spend your time.
5. Be accountable
One way to get certain things accomplished is to have someone hold you accountable. Find a business bestie to discuss your weekly goals with and keep you accountable. There is more of a chance that you will actually get that task done by that due date, then if you try to hold yourself accountable. No business bestie? Use social media and post an update on your goals. Ask your online friends to help you stick to your deadline.
Keep your work aligned with your overall business goals and passion. If you aren’t loving what you do and who you serve, you won’t be productive at all in your business.
This article has been edited.
Leslie McDermid started her own digital marketing business to help businesses improve their online presence. She hosts a weekly podcast called The Social Launch to give quick tips to improve your online presence. Connect with @lesliemcdermid on Twitter.