Productivity Hacks for an Efficient, Fulfilling Workday

By most people’s standards, if you’re lucky enough to not have to leave your house to “go” to work, you’ve already won. The work from home perks are undeniable: no commute, no uncomfortable business casual, no Tupperware warmed-up lunches.

But it’s not all conference calls in PJs and leisurely meals cooked in your own kitchen. When you work from home (and especially if you’re your own boss), it comes with its own set of headaches.

With no cubicle mates and no boss breathing down your neck, it can be hard at the end of the day to stay on task and have the self-discipline to be productive.

Productivity Hack #1: Single-Task

In any given work day, no matter what you do, your brain is probably stretched thin (to say the least). Whether you’re the person with 20 tabs open (guilty) or just trying to juggle emails and phone calls while still running a house, our brains can easily become scattered.

When we try to multitask, we’re actually just half-assing everything.

Hate to break it to you, but while everyone loves to brag about their multitasking skills, the whole thing is actually a sham. You might feel like you’re crushing the work game by stretching yourself across 20 tasks at once. But in reality, when we try to multitask, we’re actually just half-assing everything.

Still convinced you’re a wiz at juggling work? The science shows that multitasking decreases the brain’s efficiency by up to 40%. And once we’re distracted (like by an unplanned phone call or random Google-search rabbit holes), it takes a full 15 minutes for our brains to snap back to the original task.

Make single-tasking the new multitasking you brag about, and notice as your productivity soars.

Productivity Hack #2: Block Schedule

To help you single-task, try block scheduling.

Dedicate certain parts of your day to certain areas, and that area alone. This will keep you from feeling like a chicken with its head cut off trying to answer emails, make lunch, take phone calls, and update spreadsheets all in the same few hours.

Pick one task. Write down an actual to-do list. Focus on that. And then thank you, next!

Productivity Hack #3: Try the Pomodoro Technique

This is an oldie but goodie tip that allows you to hack the way your brain works naturally for optimal productivity. The Pomodoro Technique was invented back in the ’80s by an entrepreneur as an alternative to spending your whole 9-to-5 day working straight through.

To try it out, set a timer on your phone for 25 minutes. Work without distractions. And when the timer goes off, break for five minutes – maybe go fill up your water or pet your dog.

It’s suggested that after four of these “pomodoro sessions” you take a longer break, maybe like 15 to 30 minutes to let your brain chill out. You’ll stay on task, get tons done, and won’t feel drained at the end of your work day.

Productivity Hack #4: Take Breaks to Transition Between Tasks

And speaking of focusing on one task at a time before moving to the next, a little-talked-about hack that can make a world of difference is to do some sort of transitional practice between tasks.

This can look like a few moments with your eyes shut where you mentally release the previous task before moving to the next. Or it can be a spoken affirmation or a few minutes of meditation.

This will help you to clean the mental and energetic slate before moving onto your next task, so you don’t inevitably carry energy from the previous task into the next one.

Need a quick meditation to practice between tasks? Try this Guided Mindfulness Meditation for Presence, Peace and Clarity (Free Video)

Productivity Hack #5: Get Outside of the House

Let’s be real: It’s the best to work from home. But, cushy as working from the couch or home office can feel (sweatpants on business calls anyone?), sometimes getting out of the house will serve you well.

You will be shocked by how much more productive you feel when you have a change of scenery.

Head to a nearby coffee shop or park now and again to break up your work-at-home routine. Even just one day a week can do wonders, and you’ll probably be shocked by how much more productive you feel when you have a change of scenery.

Having a bit of pressure of a clock running on your work time can also boost productivity versus when you’re working at home and feel like you can take as long as you’d like on a task.

Productivity Hack #6: Set Work/Life Boundaries

It’s all too easy to say “yes” to any and everything when you work at home and have the freedom to move your schedule around.

If you’re your own boss with no one to answer to, this can get even worse. Late night phone call? Working through dinner? Letting your work bleed over into the weekends? Sure!

Not so fast. Even though you have the luxury of working from home, don’t let the boundaries between work and life get blurred – your sanity will pay the price. To prevent burnout, set work hours. And stick to them!

Learn to say “no” to things like calls and meetings that interfere with family life or social time. No one would expect you to take a work call at 9pm in an office setting, so it shouldn’t be any different just because you work from home.

Productivity Hack #7: Block Out Bings and Beeps

Everyone likes to rag on technology for being a distraction, but it’s really up to us if we let it be one.

A great tip to instantly calm your adrenals and stress levels is to turn off and mute your phone as much as you can. Turn it on airplane mode when you’re trying to focus. Set time limits on your apps if your phone allows. And turn off notification noises on Facebook on your phone and computer.

Everyone likes to rag on technology for being a distraction, but it’s really up to us if we let it be one.

A great extension to add to your computer is the Facebook “news feed eradicator” which actually turns your Facebook wall into a blank slate. You’ll still see messages and notifications but your wall will literally be un-scrollable. All posts and content is replaced with a blank white slate and an inspiring quote of the day.

You can always uninstall it, but this is a godsend if – like everyone – you’re susceptible to falling into the scroll blackhole.

Work From Home Productively and Efficiently With These Productivity Hacks

Try out these tips on your next work-from-home day, or just pick a few to implement and see how they help!

With the new oodles of extra time in your day you’re about to have, you can pour more into your yoga practice, take naps, cook an elaborate dinner – you name it!

Cheers to hustling smarter, not harder!

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