You’re living the ultimate dream.
No morning commutes. Nobody dishing tasks out to you. And the best part? You can work from wherever in the world you desire.
It’s becoming a popular career choice – with 35% of the US workforce now working from home.
But there’s a whole other side to being an online business owner.
It’s not always pajamas and lounging on hot sandy beaches every day.
When you work from home, in any capacity – you wear all the hats.
You delegate your own tasks, you keep yourself motivated and productive. The onus is on you to control your own workload.
At a typical 9-5 job, you’re held accountable by someone else. Working at home – you have to dodge distractions, make sacrifices, and be ruthless with your time.
Yet, being an entrepreneur is an outstanding career choice. It is possible to work efficiently and maximize your productivity. Even amidst all the daily distractions and chaos.
And another study showed those who work from home have 25% less stress.
But first, you must master the strategies that fit you, your lifestyle, and your business.
Otherwise, you’ll just be spinning your wheels.
Let’s dive into the 19 ways you can ditch the overwhelm and become a productivity powerhouse!
1. Slay your goal planning
You want to stop wasting time and supercharge your productivity, but you’re not sure how to go about it.
The first step should always be setting attainable but ambitious goals.
Your goals should:
- Be specific and actionable
- Have a good ROI
- Align with your long-term goals
- Be attainable – but still a challenge
- Use numbers (like ‘’reach 10,000 email subscribers by 04/15/18”)
- Always have a deadline
Here are yearly goals you can focus on:
- Your blog traffic
- Blog income
- Number of email subscribers
- Your content (how often you’ll post, how you’ll promote content, etc)
- Social media strategy
- Your income sources (will you be freelancing, creating courses, doing affiliate marketing, etc?)
Once you’re crystal clear on your goals, you can jump into making a plan.
2. Make a 90-day plan
If you can create a spectacular 90-day plan – your entire schedule can streamline from it. You can create your quarterly plans once a year, or before the next quarter begins..
Here’s what you do:
- Decide on three big goals you want to accomplish in those 90-days
- Assign each goal to a month (Example: Goal #1 is January, Goal #2 is February, Goal #3 is March)
- With each monthly goal, break it down into smaller actionable steps
Here’s an example of a 90-day plan can look: with examples of monthly goals you might use:
You’ll need to fill in your action steps for each month, so you always know what you’re doing next.
3. Monthly, weekly, and daily plans
You already know what you’ll be focusing on, so creating these plans is child’s play.
- Take 1-2 days towards the end of the month to plan the next month
- Use the action steps you decided for that month
For example, let’s say this month is dedicated to growing your email list.
Your action steps could include:
- Creating 5 new content upgrades
- Sending out a weekly newsletter with something of value
- Research email growth strategies and implement them
- Create 2 new lead magnets
- Craft awe-inspiring landing pages for every content upgrade and lead magnet
You don’t need to get ultra specific for each week. But do make a few points for what you’d like to pull off for each week.
Weekly and daily plans:
- Each Sunday plan your week (and now you get specific with your days)
- Focus on what needs to be done that week first (add anything urgent in first)
- Break down your action steps for the month, into bite-sized steps for the week, then for each day
- Start plugging each task into your day planner for each day. Or use an online program like Google Calendar or Trello.
Here’s an example of how you can use Trello to organize your week and individual days:
If you’re more a digital person than a notebook person – Trello is a top-notch tool!
4. Structure your days for maximum productivity
The big picture is crucial for long-term productivity success. But, your daily grind is where it really counts.
The important thing is to commit to a personalized daily routine. No matter how that looks for you!
An example of an efficient daily routine:
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
- Make your bed, and get dressed
- Nourish your brain ( and a little coffee wouldn’t hurt!)
- Gather the supplies you’ll need for the day
- Give yourself a designated lunch break. As well as several small breaks to replenish your coffee cup or stay hydrated.
- Take a short walk. Studies show diversions help to increase your focus on tasks, including time-consuming ones.
These tactics will train your brain that it’s a workday. Leaving you less likely to wander off to the big black hole of Facebook.
Your 90-day plan is underway. Now let’s dive into some productivity and time-management strategies.
5. Brain dumps
If you’re not familiar with what a brain dump is, you don’t know what you’ve been missing.
You know that feeling of complete overwhelm, or even utter defeat?
Doing regular brain dumps can massively decrease those feelings. And improve your overall productivity.
So what’s a brain dump?
A brain dump is writing down every single task that comes to mind – work and personal.
It’s basically a huge to-do list that leaves your brain feeling less overwhelmed.
Once you’ve done your list – it’s time to mark off anything that isn’t aligned with your businesses purpose or goals. If it doesn’t help your ROI – cross it off for now.
Divide things up into urgent, important, not important, etc.
You’ll want to do this on a regular basis. Before you schedule your week is your best bet. You’ll be amazed how much lighter you feel.
6. Create outlines and templates
Writing quality content is an art, and it takes time. So does creating captivating graphics for your content.
If you have an outline or a template ready to rumble – you’re going to save yourself loads of time.
Create outlines for your blog posts – and when you sit down to write, all you’ll need to do is fill-in-the-blanks.
You can whip up a quick outline in a matter of minutes.
Here are the main points you’ll want to include:
- A working title
- An intro (beginning with great “hook”)
- Headings for each of your main points
- Bullet points under each heading with your main ideas
- A conclusion
- A call-to-action
Crafting the perfect social media image can be a daunting task to do from scratch every time.
Use a program like Canva to create and save templates of your images.
You can create a folder that says ‘’Templates’’ like this:
Then you can click on the image you want to use as your template, and click “Use as template”:
7. Don’t tackle larger tasks first
Contrary to popular belief, tackling larger tasks first won’t help your productivity.
Starting with the smaller tasks benefits your productivity far more. Which leads to fewer burnouts.
Mainly because you feel a sense of accomplishment when you get to cross tasks off your list. Making it a smooth transition to the larger task calling your name later on.
When you do get to the larger tasks – make sure you break them down into smaller chunks. This’ll help you power through the rest of your day.
8. Try out time-management techniques
A well-known time-management technique called The Pomodoro Technique is an effective tactic to get more work done in less time.
In fact, that’s the philosophy: if you have less time, you have no choice but to complete the work.
How does it work?
You work for 25-minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Every 25-minutes is a “Pomodoro”. After you’ve gone through four Pomodoros, you take a 15-20-minute break.
Your focus is solely on the task at hand, because you know that timer is going to go off soon.
If you use Google Chrome, you can download the browser extension called “Workflow”. Which is a Pomodoros app with a timer.
To try it out, click here and then you’ll click “Add to Chrome’’, as shown below:
9. Multitasking is the Enemy
Ah, multitasking. We all do it.
But, since it’s making you 40% less productive – you may want to change your ways. Altering this behavior may be the key to unlocking your inner productivity powerhouse.
The only way to cure your chronic multitasking is to focus on one task at a time. You’ll feel more accomplished when you do.
And at the end of the day – you’ll find that you’ve gotten more work done.
10. Leave brain-draining tasks for certain times of day
There are two types of people in the world.
Those who live for early mornings and enjoy birds chirping while they sip coffee. And those who despise mornings and wish they could sleep all day.
Chances are, if you’re not a morning person – you’re more productive in the evenings.
Figure out what type of person you are, and you’ll discover what time of day you’re at your best.
Then make that the time of day you leave the brain-draining tasks for.
11. Conquer your content
Your content is the cornerstone of your website.
That’s why most bloggers use a content calendar to plan it all out, so they’re not left frazzled.
Do you find yourself scrambling at the last minute to come up with blog post ideas? If so, it’s time to utilize an online tool like Trello or Google Sheets (excel). Either or will organize your content ideas ahead of time.
Here’s an example of a simple content calendar made with Google Sheets:
Using a content calendar is excellent, in combination with other tactics to keep your content creation process as productive as possible.
Ideas to conquer your content for maximum productivity:
12. Batch your tasks
In your search to become a rock star at time-management, I’m sure you’ve come across this brilliant tip.
That’s because it really does work. Experts swear by it, bloggers love it, and business owners should be doing it more!
Think of it like doing the laundry: you wouldn’t wash one t-shirt at a time, would you?
No. You’d wash every item of clothing at once.
Batching tasks is when you take an amount of time and do only alike projects at once.
Such as creating several blog posts at once, or scheduling all your social media posts at once.
It may seem tedious, but when the time comes that you need a blog post, stat – you’ll sure be glad you batched your tasks!
13. Track your time
Tracking your time is exactly how it sounds. You start by setting a timer or using one of many time tracking apps at your disposal.
Try evaluating how long it takes to complete particular tasks. It’ll benefit your time-management majorly. That should be your first step.
Then, begin tracking your time for each individual task you work on. It’ll keep you laser-focused!
This will also help to avoid adding too many items to your daily schedule. Because you’ll be able to approximate how long each task in your day planner or online scheduling tool
14. Turn off the outside noise
How many times have you been working on an urgent project just to be sucked into the biggest time-suck of all: Facebook? Or whatever your particular poison is.
When you work at home they’re endless distractions ready to take you down.
Who hasn’t gone on Facebook for “only 5-minutes” to then realize it’s been 3-hours? And your work is still sitting, incomplete.
This is where this genius app comes into play:
If Facebook isn’t your biggest time-suck, there’s another fabulous app to keep you on task and eliminate distractions:
15. Automate, outsource, and use shortcuts
As a business owner, there comes a time when you’re going to have to invest.
The best investments you can make in your business are ones that have a high ROI or save you money.
Luckily most of the tools you’ll need are beyond affordable.
Some of the best ways to automate, outsource, and use shortcuts:
- Leverage social media scheduling tools, like those discussed in this article (pro tip: social media inboxes are also a huge timesaver).
- Invite guest contributors to your blog
- Hire a freelance writer or VA to lighten the load
- Use shortcuts in your content strategy
- Use blog post title generators and blog post idea generators
Blog topic generators, like HubSpot’s content idea generator, are great for creating content in a hurry:
As you can see above, you can type in some keywords, like in the image.
And then you’ll get your results:
It’s showing you a few ideas, and while they’re not perfect – they give you a place to start if you’re stuck!
Another great tool if you’re feeling unmotivated or stuck on the headline is SEOPressor’s headline generator:
16. Use dual monitors
Content creators and creative entrepreneurs often have 20-30 tabs open at a time on a slow day.
It’s unavoidable for most, when you’re trying to craft valuable content or work on projects online.
Various studies have concluded that using dual monitors improves productivity. Instead of using one computer with 50 tabs open, you have access to two separate screens.
In fact, one study found it increases productivity while working as much as 30%.
Give it a go – you’ll be glad you did.
Keep in mind: stay focused on one task at a time. As we established – multitasking is not good for your brain and kills your productivity.
Time blocking is when you assign particular tasks for certain parts of the day. It helps to meet your deadlines and creates a realistic schedule.
We’ve established that deadlines are a MUST when setting goals and learning how to manage your time better.
Time-blocking allows you to set a deadline for each task you’re working on. This increases the probability that you’ll gets complete those tasks finished by the end of the day.
18. Leave a block of time empty
Nothing in life goes exactly planned, and this especially applies to business.
Tasks take longer than we anticipate sometimes. Friends drop in for a visit, or other unexpected things land smack dab on our calendar.
You should always be prepared for that.
You can leave yourself 30-minutes at the end of each day. And if it ends up you’re right on schedule, you can use that time for another short task you had planned for later in the week. Or practice some self-care!
Another option is to leave an hour or two free at the end of the week. This way, if unexpected things do come up during the week that you weren’t able to complete – you can take the time to finish them off.
19. Prioritization is key
Setting and crushing goals is one of the greatest components of a successful time-management plan. But, prioritization is the secret sauce.
When everything is crucial to you – you’ll be pulled in bazillion directions. Making it near impossible to focus on anything or finish any tasks.
First, you should do a brain dump, and get everything that needs to be done out on paper.
The main items you want to prioritize are those that have a high ROI and get you to your goals faster.
It’s up to you how you choose to divide and rank your tasks after you’ve written them all down in a brain dump.
This is how Suzi at Start a Mom Blog prioritizes her tasks. She uses the Eisenhower Decision Matrix:
Then she prioritizes her tasks into something like this:
There are numerous ways to prioritize your tasks, – but keep that in mind your most important tasks should always be the ones that have great ROI’s and are aligned with your long-term goals.
If you’re struggling to gain control over your lack of productivity or your poor time-management skills – you’re not alone.
It just might be the #1 things bloggers and entrepreneurs battle with.
But that doesn’t mean you have to remain stuck.
There are countless productivity tools out there, and as we’ve established today: endless strategies to supercharge your productivity.
So get out there and ditch the overwhelm for good!
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