If you didn’t know I work as an ICU nurse, and work 2 to 3 shifts a week at the hospital. These are 12 hour shifts which definitely consume my whole day. If you’re a nurse you know how exhausting working 12 hour is. I literally have no energy to do anything once I’m home. On the other 4-5 days though I work from home. Working from home for me means answering emails, getting on calls, and most importantly creating content for my blog or Instagram. The biggest thing is that I LIKE this work, I actually love it. If I didn’t it would be way easier to push to the wayside to procrastinate. I’d think “Well, I don’t HAVE to blog this week.” But, of course, I want to!
Working from home has its perks. I can lounge in sweatpants all day, take frequent snack breaks, not answer to anyone but myself (except Fritz when he needs to go out LOL), etc. You get it! But there are definitely distractions that come from working at home. I am always looking at the giant pile of laundry that needs to be done, constantly thinking when I’m ever going to get around to cleaning my closet and playing with Fritz! Plus Stephen is at home since his classes are all online so we distract each other too. Believe me, there are plenty of distractions to tempt me.
But nothing feels worse then when the sun is setting and you feel like you haven’t gotten enough done, especially when I know I was procrastinating. Meh. So I’ve put some things in place to help keep me on track and if you work from home too, hopefully these will help!
1 – Have a designated work area.
If we have a space we associate with work in the house then we know that when we are in that space we should be working. It’s also important for me to tidy this area up before I start working so I’m not distracted by any clutter. I also try not to use this space for other activities..if possible. We have an office but we also use our dining room table for work. When Stephen and I need silent separate work time one of us takes the office and the other uses the table. Obviously, we also use the table for eating at but I because the two activities are very different it doesn’t seem to cause any issues. What we don’t want to do is sit in our work area when we are doing something fun/leisurely like watching Netflix or Youtube videos because then if we are getting bored of our work we might just switch our browser from our Inbox to Netflix. Not good! Needless to say, I am never working from my bedroom or living room. Plus, I don’t want to assocaite my bedroom with work.
2 – Use a planner and plan your day every morning or the night before.
I used to not have a planner…literally not until the start of last year (2018), crazy right?! I found I was starting to forget dates, almost miss submitting photos for collaborations, and things were just stacking up. Getting a planner was a game changer! I have this one from Target (except in blue), and I really love it. I had the same one for 2018 and repurchased for this year since I liked it so much! If you are really serious about your planning game I would definitely look into getting one. I love mine and it was only $10 but I’ve also heard great things about BestSelfCo (smaller in size with by-the-hour pages), Erin Condran (bigger, more colorful with stickers and goal setting/meal tracking etc.) and Passion Planners. I use the monthly spread to write in important dates especially for appointments and birthdays, but I also mark in some of my Instagram posts and collaborations so I can see what the month will look like as a whole, content-wise, and then decide what blanks I can fill in to make sure I’m sharing lots of value. On the weekly spreads in each day, I write down my mini to do list. Once I have my ‘task list’ I can assign each task to an hour or number them in the order that they need to be done. I’d recommend doing the thing you are LEAST excited about first to get it over with. I also love using google calendar in addition to my planner. If I have phone calls or appointments I always fill those into my google calendar as well so my phone will alert me when it’s coming up.
3 – Use a timer or a time cube to block off time in your day.
Once you’ve ordered your tasks you can roughly guess how much time they will take, or for bigger projects you can decide how much time you will spend on it that day. For example: Inbox (1 hr), Write new blog (2 hrs), Go to gym (1.5 hrs), Big Secret Project (2 hrs), Write Newsletter (1 hr) etc.
Here’s an example of what a day may look like:
7am-9am Meditate, have breakfast, check emails, hang with Stephen & Fritz
9-11:30am Gym, shower, eat, get ready for rest of day
11:30-2pm Check emails again and answer anything pressing, write a new blog post, response to any DMs/comments on IG
2pm-2:30 Lunch break
2:30-3:30 Take photos for IG, write captions, brainstorm other content, etc.
3:30-4:30 Write newsletter
4:30-5:30 Work phone calls
5:30-7:00 Check emails again, respond to more DMs/comments, run to the grocery store, do laundry, etc.
7pm-10:00 Start to make dinner, catch up with Stephen, relax and watch TV, respond to any other DMs/comments
10-11:00 Go to sleep
Okay so this is a very structured day and in a perfect world my day would play out just like this. To be honest, it usually doesn’t run that smooth but if I create a timeline or ‘itinerary’ then at least I have a solid guideline of what needs to be done and how I can get it all done in a day. Before each day though, I have list of the things I must get done. Sometimes that’s 3 things, other times it’s 6+. Obviously the more tasks, the busier my day is. For the example below, the night before I would have written down the gym, blog post, IG photos/captions, newsletter, work phone calls as my must do’s. So that’s 5 things which make for a pretty busy day. If I then have time for other things like laundry, grocery store etc. then those will get done at the end or Stephen will do them hehe.
Using a timer can also help keep you have your phone and less distracted. If you set a time and have a “countdown” to when you need to have the task done by it will help keep you motivated to get it done within the timeframe. I’ll use the timer on my phone but I’ve seen The Skinny Confidential recommend this tube cube from Amazon.
4 – Have an at home work routine.
It can be easy to start cleaning or walk into the kitchen 15 times in a day or even sit down on the couch and not get up for 45 minutes. The at-home luxuries like making a fresh lunch or being able to work in pajamas are nice but we need to create a good routine that keeps us from taking advantage of these things! I personally do not stay in my pajamas from when I wake up to when I start working. Granted I might change from pjs to sweat pants but at least I feel like I’m in ‘day-clothes’. Another thing some people do is their hair and makeup. Even if you aren’t leaving the house all day, if that’s what makes you feel professional or motivated then spending 10 minutes in the bathroom in the morning doing a bit of simple makeup or putting on a more professional outfit is totally worth it! I typically will do my hair and makeup, because it does make me feel a little more motivated. Also, I like to do you guys that favor when you’re seeing me on IG stories all day, you’re welcome 😉
5 – Leave your phone alone at all costs!
Some days I’m so good about this, hours can pass without me looking at my phone. Other days……let’s just say the black hole of scrolling is real and all of a sudden I blink and it’s been 30 minutes. The worst is when I need to look at my phone for something and then I grab it and forget what I was looking for because I automatically open Instagram!! Anyone else? To help avoid grabbing my phone I use the timer like I mentioned before, but I also will leave my phone in another room so I don’t see it right in front of me and feel tempted to grab it, or I will put my phone and computer (since my MAC gets all my imessages) on do not disturb.
Okay guys that sums up my tips and habits for having productive workdays! Start your day by planning exactly what needs to be done, get set up in your specific workplace that is organized and tidy, set a timer for your first stint of work and ditch your phone! Get ready to have a productive day!!