How To Be More Productive While Working Less

AD When you are self employed, a freelancer or just working from home regularly you want to be as productive as possible. No one wants to spend all their time working so the more efficiently you can use your work time the more successful your business will be and the more you can enjoy a work life balance. Sounds ideal right? How can you make sure that you get more done in the time you spend working? Here are some clever tips.

To do list showing top 3 priorities for the day illustrating how to be more productive while working less
Find ways to become more productive which will work for you

Change How You Work At Home To Boost Your Productivity

Go with Your Flow

Have you noticed that sometimes you find it really easy to work while other times you just stare at the screen struggling to work out what you need to do? After years of trying to fight the inevitable I have come to embrace my natural rhythms. 

What works for you will be different to what works for other people. It might be as simple as you working better at particular times of day. Some people find that by setting their alarm an hour or two earlier they can get up feeling fresh and get through the bulk of their work quickly. Other people work well in the evenings.  

For other people, particularly women, you might find that there is a longer cycle to when you are feeling motivated; don’t underestimate the power of hormones. 

Try tracking how you are feeling for a month or two and look for patterns, are there times you feel more inspired? Do you find it easier to concentrate on difficult tasks some days than others? If you can identify patterns you may be able to plan your work around your cycle and moods. You can then batch similar tasks to take advantage of this eg arranging new client meetings on high energy days, writing proposals on days you can concentrate best and doing more menial tasks like data entry or updating your accounts on days when you need something simple and repetitive.

Change Your State Of Mind With Your Body

With planning you may be able to do the bulk of your work at times that will suit you, but there will always be deadlines or pressures which don’t allow flexibility, so how can you get yourself working in a productive way? If you are struggling to focus then try using your body to trick your mind. Have you heard the suggestion that you should stand up when making a phone call where you want to be assertive? It works because when you are standing up you often feel more focused and authoritative. Standing up to write pitches or replying to difficult emails can get you in the right frame of mind too. This is easy if you have a standing desk because it allows you to get your desk and keyboard at a height that is ergonomically comfortable while standing up. 

If you are looking at being more creative then sitting down and making yourself comfortable can make you feel more at ease and ready to explore ideas. A desk like the Yo-Yo DESK 2 PRO easily converts between a standing and sitting height at the touch of a button with it’s dual motors allowing you to adjust your position to your work type.

Another option when you stuck on a problem or can’t think how to phrase something is to go for a quick power walk. Even 5 minutes walk round the block can get your blood pumping and and provide clarity. If it’s raining or you can’t get out the house then take a step away from your desk and shake your arms and legs around for a minute or two and see how much it wakes you up.

Yo-Yo Desk Pro 2 image used with permission
Yo-Yo Desk Pro 2 image used with permission

Stay On Track

Of course it doesn’t matter how hard you are working if you are focusing on the wrong things. Prioritising important tasks is essential so start off with a list of all the things you have to do and want to do and then choose the next 3 tasks to focus on.

If there is a task you hate doing, but is important and it’s not something you can outsource then plan your work so you reward yourself after you complete it. You could following it up with one of your favourite tasks each time or a maybe a non work related reward like a biscuit (the book Atomic Habits has some really good tips around this).

Decide which tasks you will be working on first and follow through. If you find you get easily distracted (eg you need to check something in your emails and know you will get distracted by new emails then forget what you were doing) make it really easy to remember what you need to focus on. I use sticky notes which say what I am working on now and what I am working on next. On my Mac I use virtual sticky notes on the screen, but you can use paper post it notes on the edge of your screen or next to your coffee cup if you prefer.

Keep Learning

The most successful business people are those that know they have more to learn. We can all find better ways to do things and we can all learn from others so it’s important you plan time in for development during your business year. Invest in yourself and it will pay off. This might be a course or tutoring on software you use regularly so you can use it better, reading a great book on copywriting or joining a local business networking group so you can learn directly from other small businesses.

If you are eager to explore something new, consider searching for freelance job positions in illustration to unleash your creative talents. Freelance illustration offers a flexible and exciting way to showcase your artistic skills while pursuing fresh and diverse projects, and with the above-mentioned advice, it will be easier for you to adapt to the new field. 

In summary: the best ways to work more efficiently at home are to work on the right tasks, be in tune with your best ways of working, using body language when you need to trick your mind into working differently and keep learning better ways to do your regular tasks.

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