how to be productive when working from home

I can’t lie, 2 years after leaving the office to work for myself I still smile when I get up each day. That slow saunter to the next room with my laptop (aka the commute) is something I will never grow tired of. Don’t get me wrong though, the constant distraction of being able to make snacks, watch Keeping up with the Kardashians on demand, or I dunno, take naps, can be somewhat unproductive!

Here are ten ways that I make sure I bang it out for the day and keep growing the empire!

Ok so now you know why I wrote ‘hacks’ as you’ll probably find that these are somewhat random compared to what you might find in regular productivity posts! Gotta keep it real though right?! This is what works for me.

1.     Wear shoes

For some reason I found that if I put shoes on when I work for the day I’m so much more focused. I guess somewhere subconsciously it takes you out of ‘hanging out at home’ mode and makes you think about being at work. I also find it has the added benefit of not being that comfortable to sit on crossed legs or in a funny position, so I sit up straight and it feels more work like. Weirdly, this means I get more done! 

2.     Keep your desk space clear

I actually hate myself for writing that – I’m a messy and cluttered person by nature. BUT. My husband is a super tidy and uncluttered kinda guy. So every now and then he gets so sick of my clutter that he clears the office and puts everything into its right place. The way I feel when working after that happens is completely different – calmer, more relaxed and less frantic. We recently got the HP Deskjet 3720, which is super compact and saves so much space. We had a rather bulky printer before that was always in the way so this smaller one has been great. It's literally the height of my iPhone! Also due to the fact that it's wireless it doesn't actually need to sit right on my worktop, I can put it on a higher up shelf and free up some much needed workspace. It's perfect for smaller properties or workspaces - like the cupboard that I currently work out of! 

hp deskjet 3720

3.     Use a whiteboard

I’ve tried keeping track of tasks within fancy project management apps and for some reason it just doesn’t seem to stick into my head. Maybe because there is no crossing out of tasks once completed or perhaps because I’ve typed them rather than written them. I know it’s a little different for every person’s style but if like me, you need to have stuff written down and then crossed out, I suggest a whiteboard. Sometimes I even write tasks on it that I’ve already completed, just so I can strike them off! SADDO ALERT.

working from home

4.     Create a mental dump zone

Either on your computer, in a notebook or whatever best works for you, create a dump zone. ‘Well what goes into the dump zone Sarah?’ I hear you ask. This my friends, could change your life. In the dump zone you put all of those nagging little thoughts and things that need to happen in the future but perhaps not right now. The things that seep into your mind as you spend time trying to work on something else. I feel so much better when I know they are recorded somewhere – so I won’t forget – but not floating around in my mind like when I recently tried to meditate and kept seeing a celery with an angry face.

Come back to it when you have the headspace.

5.     Hide away wires and unnecessary electrics 

Another thing that bothers me and more so hubby a lot is the unnecessary wires that cling around the bulky electrical objects that by natures you need to have in your workspace. Phone charger, camera charger, computer wires, printer, USB lead… the list goes on. If there’s a way to attach hooks or cable tidies under your desk then do that.The HP DeskJet 3720 is super slimline and also wireless so I don’t need to have YET ANOTHER USB lead flapping about. Helps to keep the desk nice and uncluttered! Oh and guess what, you can sign up to a subscription plan for ink which means that’s one less tasks to distract you from your flow. It’s called HP Instant Ink and send you out replacement cartridges automatically when you’re running low Cool!
Because I love this printer so much I'm teaming up with HP to give one away each month over the coming months.

All you need to do is share a picture of your workspace or shelf area and use the hashtag #hpshelfie to be in with a chance of winning. Don't say I don't ever share the good good with ya!

hp deskjet 3720 review

6.     Put makeup on

Kind of works in the same way as the shoes. I’ll perhaps alternate between these. Don’t feel like wearing makeup? Will wear shoes. Want to get cosy today? Ok fine, no shoes but I’ll wear makeup. It has the added bonus of being snapchat ready at any time (come and follow me – sarahakwisombe)! 

how to be productive working from home

7.     Make a list of three tasks the night before

If I know I am going to have a work from home on the laptop day, I spend the evening before writing down the three things I want to achieve the next day. Something about not only having your main three tasks helps you to focus, but also doing it the night before seem to help you to rest more easily knowing that the day ahead is already planned.  Put anything else in the dump zone!

8.     Fetch everything you need in the morning

I don’t know about you but I find myself wasting countless minutes wandering around my flat looking for a charger or fetching a glass of water etc throughout the day. This type of context switching and being distracted between tasks by a drained battery or thirst can really take me out of the flow, so I spend a few minutes in the morning doing a once round my flat and grabbing everything I’ll need for the day. Every charger, every lead, every gadget and of course a nice big jug of filtered water and a glass. Obviously I would never dare to fetch the biscuits first thing in the morning, what kind of animal do you think I am?! 

9.     Take a proper lunch break

I reward myself by taking a proper time-out lunch break when I work from home. It’s really easy for the lines between business and personal time to blur because you’re in such a causal environment without anyone looking over your shoulder, so I find it definitely helps me to be more productive by rewarding myself with a little lunch time watching of women doing strange body contouring on instagram over my soup. 

productivity hacks for girls

10.  Remove lunch decisions

Talking of food, the best thing I ever did was remove the decision making around lunchtime. I used to leave it right up until my stomach lining was basically eating itself before I thought about making lunch. Then I’d dash to the fridge and not be able to think straight because I was so hungry. I’d just want something to eat now, now, NOW and that would often result in some kind of nutella smeared wheat-y carb snack (not good for concentration levels an hour later when the sugar high wore off).

Now, I remove that decision making by having 1-3 meals that I always have for lunch. It’s a smoked salmon cream cheese bagel, chicken soup or avocado toast with eggs. I make sure I always have the ingredients in the fridge and it takes away the faff of thinking about, and then cooking the food.

So there you have it, my pretty unconventional productivity hacks for the times that you’re working from home. What was your favourite tip?

You can grab that snazzy tiny little printer from HP here, plus it’s only £60, bargain! Replace your chunky one with this and save some much needed desk space. However if you share your #hpshelfie of your workspace on social media using the hashtag you could win one of your own!

S x

*This post is a collaboration with HP and their new deskjet 3720 printer. As always, all views are my own and I never endorse products that i don't fully believe in or would buy myself. The printer is wicked and has already freed up space in my tiny office so I'm well pleased!*