Hello My Fellow Productivity-Seeking Friends 🙂 I thought I’d write about my top productivity tips and tricks for you. Having worked in the tech space for years, I have become quite acclimated to being able to work from home. Being productive was always expected, but when I also started two technology start-ups from home, the element of productivity had to be a discipline I honed. This didn’t come naturally to me at first, by the way. It took some practice and whenever there was a moment by a day’s end that I didn’t feel I met my productive level my poor family was probably the biggest victim of them all because I just wouldn’t stop working! Luckily I started to realize what was killing my productivity and what was actually helping it. I have found my productivity mojo and I thought I’d pass along some of the things that have served me well.
First and foremost, it goes without question you need a clean space to begin your day. Since my youth I have been cursed with not being able to focus whenever there is a lot of clutter around. (Come to think of it … I think this is probably more of a blessing than a curse!) Therefore, I formed two habits when it comes to clean space:
- Keep the mess on the desk at a minimum when working throughout the day.
- Clean up any mess on the desk when finished working for the day. (I will be honest with you on this one and admit there have been a few times when I just didn’t have the energy to clean up a pile of paper off my desk when calling it quits for the day. BUT, I did make sure that when I kicked my next day off I cleaned off my desk so that I could start my day with a clean slate and a clear mind!)
I know these may sound simple and almost insulting to some, but I have sometimes had to remind myself of this simple tip when I have felt a fluster come on.
This clearly won’t be a shocker for most but you HAVE to have some technology pieces in your home office if you’re honestly going to put yourself in a position to succeed for the day. I am not even going to entertain the thought that I would even have to list having a computer in an home office is a must. Therefore, moving on! My ultimate – cannot live without – I would literally crawl into the fetal position and cry for 40 days if you took these from me … pieces are:
- My Apple cinema screen. This is one mamma-jamma delight when I work because I can literally put 3-4 documents or screens up at once. No – I am not insane by working from multiple documents at once because more times than not I have patted myself on the back when I saved minutes, if not hours, when working on presentation edits and not having to toggle between image files, older presentation versions, etc. So, trust me – this screen / monitor is well worth it!
- Wireless keyboard and mouse. Seriously … is anything wired these days anymore? Well, if they are, release yourself from those shackle peripherials (devices I mean) and put freedom in your life with your work! I’ll go a little ergo-dork on you on this one and tell you that these are seriously great for your best ergonomic self. But, in addition to this, I love being able to pass the keyboard and mouse baton off to someone else when collaborating and they need to take the reins in editing something in real-time on my computer. (I have had a few people ask me where I got my keyboard. It’s actually an Apple wireless keyboard with a keyboard cover on it. I got it from Lily Rain, but the product itself is called FCTRY Flapjack Keyboard Cover. $15 bucks can add such a cool detail don’t ya think 😉
Okay … so you’re probably wondering: “What the heck does inspiration have to do with productivity?” … aren’t ya? It actually is VERY relevant and important because there will be moments during your day when your mind needs to wonder – it needs to be taken off of the mental task it’s been on for hours – and be refreshed, if even recharged. You see, it’s healthy to allow your brain a little break. I used to feel so guilty if I even allowed myself 2 minutes of taking myself off of a task … and then I got burned out. Who wins in this? No one! And, then I allowed myself a little color on my desk and all seemed good again 🙂
A blank, white wall has never done it for me when I’ve needed a little mind-scape. That is why putting inspirational items around a home office is a must. I made myself an ob-long linen board and put it next to my work area. I purposely pinned it with:
- Small monthly calendars. I get so aggravated if I need to have a quick reference of a day on the calendar and I have to click thru 2-3 apps or mouse-clicks on my computer. Not productive for me – so I pinned up these really inspiring monthly calendars on my board. I have had these for the past few years and have now found I cannot live without! I get them at Papersource every year, and am sure I’ll figure out eventually how to make my own.
- A Piece Of Art. If you have little ones around, like I do, they sometimes come home with some of the most colorful and fun art works. A (my daughter) made this really awesome watercolor and chalk piece and I immediately fell in love with it. So, I pinned it up.
- Vacation Goal. If I EVER see an article that inspires my next go-to spot to relax, I tear it out and pin it on my board. It gives my mind a chance for serenity.
- Words of Inspiration. If you have any phrases that just seem to lighten you up, or make you feel better about yourself – pin it! I know for me, when I walk into my home office and immediate fixate my eyes on those words it already adds a “can do” element to my first morning moments.
- Picture It. We all have a favorite photo of those we love. For me, I kept it simple by choosing one … but, you should add more if you just want to see more beautiful faces 🙂 Regardless, having a little reminder of those that make you happy is a great inspiration. This always ends up being my instant smile piece 🙂
And … last but not least … have something fun around! I’m actually quite serious about this one because sometimes we let work get so much of us that we forget we should also be having fun. What will you find on my desk today? A clown’s nose! Why not – I don’t mind letting the silly out 🙂 Other things you would have found on desk probably like six months ago (I’m sure my ex-colleagues remember these) are: Lego figures (my lego obsession is best served for it’s own blog … a slinky (still have it on my bookshelf) … a coconut cup carved like the shape of a monkey head (an awesome memorabilia from Hawaii) … and a wooden elephant named Cisco chocolate (a prized possession from my days as a student in Paris, France)! Clearly, the skies the limit on what makes you giddy and silly but put something on the desk that can get the kid out of you – it’s well worth it!
And, as I always say – Et Voila! Remember, repeat after me” I can be productive when I have these three things: 1. Clean Space, 2. Technology, and 3. Inspiration.”!!! There you have it … my bag of tricks that have kept me productive while working from home, and I am sure will help you reach that productivity nirvana, too. I hope you have enjoyed the read, even with all of my exclamation marks 🙂