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How To Boost Productivity When Working From Home

Whether you started your business 5 years ago or 5 days ago, staying productive while working from home can have its challenges.

With all the tools, tech, and other resources available though, there are plenty of resources to help you stay focused and accomplish more in less time!

In my blog post today, I’m walking you through my best PRO tips to boost your productivity when working from home. 

Establishing principles for productivity when working from home

Maybe you’ve heard my coffee cup story already–but just in case you haven’t, I’ll tell it again!

See…

I  used to start in my home office every Monday morning saying I AM GOING TO STAY SO FOCUSED THIS WEEK, then two hours later I’m wandering around the entire house because I cannot figure out where I put my coffee cup.

Once lunchtime rolls around, I realize it was in the microwave the whole time.

Yikes.

Guess what though? That does NOT have to be you.

You can be that super-focused, organized VA that has it together because you listen to advice and put it into practice. 

It all starts with establishing a few key principles in your biz. 

If you do this, you’re more likely to:

✔️ Prevent burn-out

✔️ Live a balanced life ((aka, work + still have fun))

✔️ Avoid shiny-object syndrome

✔️ Stay refreshed, so your creative juices keep flowing & you can do your best work

So what are these principles? Let’s get into them 👇👇👇

 

Prefer YouTube? Watch the full video here!

Create a schedule you love

If you want to organize your business you have to start with your schedule, but not just any schedule. You need to create a schedule you actually love.

Listen, you created your business for a reason.

You need to schedule things into your day that you can ENJOY (without feeling bad about it either).

Schedule in the time you’re going to do focused work, but then schedule in a time that you can do things you enjoy GUILT FREE. 🍦🍰

Whether it’s taking a stroll outside, having lunch with a friend, or watching Netflix. YOU NEED THIS!

Having a balanced schedule with things you LOVE doing, will help prevent burn-out so you can show up as the BEST version of yourself in your biz.

Have an amp-up routine

Start your day with something that helps you get EXCITED to start work!

Your attitude and mood affect everything you do, so this is KEY.

Maybe it’s a cup of amazing coffee.

Or maybe it’s a walk around the neighborhood.

Whatever helps your brain perk up and get excited for the day…do it. 💯

Have a designated workspace

I know this one is really, really hard. We’re living the work from home life and it’s so easy to curl up in bed and work.

(I do it sometimes–no judgment)

It’s so important though that you have a specific place to do your super-focused tasks.

This lets your brain know–ok, it’s time to work! 🧠💻

So take a moment and think about it–where is your devoted space going to be?

Change your environment

It’s really, really important to get away from the screen.

Some of my best, most creative ideas come when I’m not staring at my screen.

(Yes, you do need to have that designated time to get work done. But at the same time, you need to actually clear your brain. 🌳🤸)

Turn off your phone notifications 

Did you know you can actually turn off notifications for Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger on your phone?

HINT: It is so freaking life-giving to not be notified every five minutes that somebody has commented on a post!

Instead, have set times in your day to check social media, your text messages, and email.

(It totally helps social media not become a time suck.)

Recognize what you need

If you’re an extrovert, you might need to socialize so you can recharge a bit.

Maybe you need to be around people or have lunch with a friend.

If you’re an introvert and you’ve been on zoom calls all day, set aside time for yourself.

You know you, boo. So do what YOU need to be your best self!

Take breaks

Friend, you’ve been staring at the computer for three hours. It’s time to get up and walk around!

If you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro method, you might want to try it. With this method, you set a timer, you work really hard for a set time…

And then you get up and take a break!

Go ahead, try it. (It will actually make you more productive.)

Find a way to clock out

Just like you had an amp-up routine, you NEED a clock-out routine. 

What does it mean to actually clock out for the day? It should probably involve turning off your computer. (Yup, I said it.)

Go ahead, turn off your computer…Wrap-up your day and declare it: this is my time to relax. 

Then spend time with friends, family, or just have some recoup time. You need it!

Optimizing your productivity with time blocking

Once you’ve set those basic principles for how you’re going to manage your time, you can optimize your productivity with time blocking. 

I’m gonna be real for a second–this one was a BIG struggle for me. There’s a trick I learned though that changed EVERYTHING and I want to share it with you you too.

Prefer YouTube? Watch the full video here!

I’ll admit – it’s REALLY, REALLY simple, but it’s been LIFE CHANGING. It’s the number one way to stay completely productive (even when all those distractions are there).

👉👉👉 It’s called batch productivity. 

While it’s nothing exciting or magical, it is practical…and it works. 

With batch productivity, you block out a specific set of time to work on a particular task or set of tasks that are similar.

So, that could mean you block out 10am-11am and reply to ALL of your messages in the morning. Then maybe you block out 12-2 to do super-focused client work.

Batch productivity is literally the reason I’m able to be as productive as I am while working from home.

Here’s a screenshot of batch-productivity in action via my personal calendar:

A few notes on how I form my schedule:

✔️ First and foremost, I have time blocked for the things that are most important to me. 

I have time that’s designated JUST for my family and time for self-care (that’s my unplugged Fridays).

PRO TIP: you have to put these big blocks in first if you really want them to happen!

✔️ I work REALLY hard to set aside devoted time WHEN I’M NOT distracted to work on my business…and you should too.

I’ll let you in on a little secret 🤫… I actually only expect myself to get 2-3 things done per day. 

Yep. 

That may seem like a shocker, but 99% of why we don’t feel productive enough is because we expect ourselves to do too much. That’s why I only pick two to three tasks to sprint through for that day. (They’re usually 1 hour long)

✔️ I have days to be unplugged. 

If you’re like me and you’re super passionate about your business, I know it can be really tempting to want to work ALL the time. But that really hurts your productivity.

You can get so much more done in less time if you feel mentally refreshed. There is no way you’ll be productive working from home if you’re feeling burned out all the time!

 I’ve been running my business since 2015, but this is the first year I’ve been able to stick to my “unplugged Fridays.” 

You may not be able to take off a whole day (yet). BUT…can you start with half of a day? 1 hour? 30 minutes? 

Can you ask a friend, a neighbor, your spouse, mom (or ANYONE) to watch your kids for just ONE night?

Yes 👏 you 👏 can 👏 

Using time-saving tech tools to boost at-home productivity

Prefer YouTube? Watch the full video here!

Ever looked at other VA’s and wondered how are they doing it all?

Like…

How did they design that gush-worthy PDF proposal 😍❓

How are they planning those stunning Insta feeds 🤔❓

How do they manage their income and expenses 💵❓

And…still have a life?

It’s all about having the right software my friend. The right tools are KEY for maintaining productivity while living the “work from home” life. 

I’ve been doing this “VA thing” for a LONG time, and have trial-and-error’d so. many. apps. 

After trying TONS of apps, I’ve boiled it down to these TOP 10:

Notability 

If you have an iPad, you can use this app to take notes with a stylus pen. You can write like you’re using a notebook, and the app will transcribe those notes.

(BONUS: you can draw charts and upload them as a PDF into your computer. 

Planoly 

Our FAVORITE way to schedule Instagram posts and do hashtag research. 

EveryDollar

If you’re making money in your business, one of the best ways to KEEP your money is by having a personal budget and managing your own personal finances.

This app makes it super easy to do that. 

Routinist

This is a SUPER cool app that lets you create a morning and an evening routine.

What’s great: you can add different things to your routine and check it off as you go!

Trello or ClickUp 

If you have a VA biz, you NEED a project management tool. Trello and ClickUp are two of the best!

Trello is fantastic if you’re running solo or have a small team.

If you expand your team, you might want to dive into ClickUp (which is what our team now uses). 

Canva

I really can’t say enough good things about Canva! It’s truly your one-stop-shop for all things design. 

Logos, PDF’s, proposals, powerpoints, social media images, ebooks….you can do it all in Canva (even if your design prowess is little-to-none). 

Blinklist

Blinkist is a really cool app that gives you audible highlights of different major books you can listen to. 

It’s perfect if you’re busy or on the go–you get bit-sized pieces of books you’re interested in, then you can purchase the full book later if it’s something you really want to read. 

Bonjoro

Bonjoro is a way that you can send video messages to your clients or customers. We’ve found this super helpful inside of our business as it just adds a personal touch.

(It’s amazing)

Zoom

Zoom is still hands-down one of the best ways to communicate with clients and conduct virtual meetings with your team.

We use it inside of The Virtual Savvy and we love the ability to screen share and record our meetings. It’s just so easy to use!

Walmart Grocery

Outsourcing things in your life is very important as a small business owner.

If you have your own business and you’re still going grocery shopping with your children in tow… you need this app.

Automating your client process

This is a little embarrassing for me, but do you know how I used to manage my clients?

I used to list them out old-school-style in an excel document with labels like “Judy paid half of Oct.”

😳😳😳

I do NOT recommend that for ANYONE! Instead, I want to share with you an AMAZING program I learned about to manage clients SEAMLESSLY.

But first, let me give you 5 features you will LOVE about it:

✔️ All-in-one proposals

✔️ Client portal

✔️ Convenient calendar scheduling

✔️ Reporting and budgeting

✔️ Automated workflows

BONUS: you can customize every piece to match YOUR branding.

🤩 Isn’t it dreamy?

If you’re wondering, what is this unicorn of a system called???

…it’s called Dubsado.

And the best part? They have a free plan!

Here’s an example of a workflow you could create for onboarding a client:

✔️ Send an automatic email when someone inquires about your services on your website.

✔️ Trigger a follow-up email if a call isn’t scheduled.

✔️ After a call, send the client an all-in-one proposal with your invoice and contract.

✔️ Once that proposal is signed, you can send them your onboarding questionnaire automatically through workflows.

Just imagine…clients can complete that ENTIRE process in Dubsado…and it’s ALL automated!

Prefer YouTube? Watch the full video here!

How much easier would it make your life if you could automate your onboarding process for clients?

Whether you’re JUST starting your business or are already booked out, Dubsado is a tool I HIGHLY recommend.

It’s like hiring a personal assistant (for a small fraction of the cost).

Want to give it a try? Click here to try it free!

 

If you are just getting started, then check out my Virtual Assistant Checklist and Starter Kit.  This is the same step-by-step process that I used when starting my own virtual assistant business.

2 Comments

  1. Ossisto on March 19, 2021 at 4:47 am

    Wow!! The content is so afresh, even felt the same way while organizing a perfect spot for working with a whole lot of positiveness.
    Regards,
    Ossisto

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