When I first started working from home full-time, I would find myself so easily distracted by all the other things around the house. I would sit down to start working and then get up to go change the laundry over to the dryer. Then on my way back, I'd just empty and re-load the dishwasher for a few minutes, which would easily turn into me cleaning the entire kitchen. I would finally sit down to start working and shortly have to get up for lunch. Before I knew it, it would be time to leave to go pick up Emerson from school!
This was a super frustrating cycle, and I would end up having to catch up on my editing and emails in the evenings, stealing time away from my family.
Working from home and owning my own business was supposed to give me MORE time, not less time and more stress!
At this point, I have learned that I am a list and schedule person. I have a notebook full of to-do lists for the days and weeks, and a planner that is color coded and full of sticky-notes with reminders of what needs to get done each day. I've found, when I get home and start working, having a list to keep my focus on what needs to get done, I am able to focus more. Some other tips I've learned along the way are:
1- Get ready in the mornings. I will still get dressed, do my hair and my make-up. I don't have to get super fancy and wear heels everyday, but getting ready helps me feel put together and more productive throughout the day.
2- Do the big projects first. Things that didn't get completely finished the day before, or those annoying tasks that you dread all day. By knocking those out first, I'm able to fly through the rest of my lists!
3- Right before lunch-time, I schedule time to get all those little things on my list done. This helps me move quickly and cross things off my to-do list!!
4- Schedule time to turn off phones, iMessages, and social media. This includes notifications! I will completely sign out of facebook, because sometimes I find myself clicking over out of habit. By signing out, it adds another step to needing to log in, which usually reminds me "no social media right now!!" When I get distracted by social media or a text message that comes through, it takes me a while to recollect my thoughts and figure out exactly where I was.
5- Schedule some time to get out of the house at least one day a week. For me, I'll set up breakfast or lunch with some other friends in the industry that need to get out of the house as well, or will set up a time to grab lunch near a friends work. Getting out of the house gives me a nice break and not feel like I've been sitting up in a cave forever!
6- Because messes distract me, I will spend about 10 minutes in the morning straightening up my desk, and my office space. I share my office with Michael's closet (small closets in older homes! ugh!!), so I will hang up some of his clothes, straighten out the papers, etc. and then I will shut the door to the house. Out of sight, out of mind!!
I'm sure you have some amazing ideas for staying productive and staying on schedule- I want to hear your best tips and tricks!!
Ashley Eiban is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Central Virginia. Serving Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Richmond, Roanoke, Farmville, and surrounding areas. Available for travel worldwide.
Ashley is passionate about chasing your dreams and doing what you love, while maintaining a family/work balance. Currently booking a limited number of weddings for 2016 & 2017. Contact us today for additional information!