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Working from home can seem like the ultimate dream at first… sitting around, relaxing by the pool and making money.
You’ve all seen the commercials…
But what are the things you need to know to stay productive?
Because if you don’t do it right, things can turn to a disaster quickly.
Hi there. My name is Marcus and I’ve been working from home for the better part of 20 years now.
And in that time I’ve learned that the work at home person wears a lot of hats.
I have to be a part time chef, a therapist to my kids, work on that endless to do list for my wife. Make sure the dog gets enough attention. Become a part time tutor for my kids when they need help.
All on top of trying to work from home and oftentimes wearing these different hats can kill your productivity.
So today, I’m going to show you fifteen things that I’ve learned over the last 20 years that are going to help you stay focused without losing your mind.
So let’s dove in to number one.
1. shower and get dressed before you start
The first thing you need to realize when working from home is that everything is about your mindset.
If you don’t protect your mindset and you’re not in the right frame of mind, you’re not going to get anything done.
Which is why the first thing I do when I get up is take a shower and get dressed in something other than sweats in a t shirt, which is kind of tempting to do at first. But getting dressed in something a little bit more upscale is going to change my mind and focus me on the work that I need to do.
Remember, if you dress lazy, you’re going to feel lazy, and if you feel lazy, you’re not going to get anything done.
So I find that one of the most important things to do is change my morning routine.
This changes everything because it puts me in the frame of mind and it also tells my family, hey, dude is going to work. Leave him alone. That’s an important one.
Now let’s go on to number two, which is to close all distractions.
2.close all distractions during work time (fb, insta, skype, news, ect)
Again, remember, mindset is everything in the mind is like a lens and you get what you focus on. And if you try to focus on work, but you have Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the news running in the background, you’re never really going to give time to the task at hand.
And I want you to realize that it’s been proven that multitasking doesn’t actually exist.
What actually happens is you’re splitting your time between each individual thing. And if you start something and pause, start something and pause. You’re never really giving all your attention to one thing. You’re just stretching it over time and making yourself more stressed out. So it’s very important to guard your mind and close off the distractions when it’s time to get something done.
Which brings us into number three
3. focus on what you want to get done (action)
Focus on the task you want to get done, have a clear outcome and say, I’m going to do this for the next hour, two hours, three hours or however long it takes.
I’m going to do this until I get it done. I’m not going to get distracted. I’m not going to get up. I’m not going to focus on whatever gossip my family calls to tell me about what’s going on. I’m going to focus on what I need to do, focusing your mind in this way. It’s going to help you get a lot done in a shorter amount of time and then you can go on and see what else everyone’s doing.
Now, number four is a really important one.
4. locate your work “safe space”
This is to locate a safe space where you’re going to get your work done. It could be tempting to lay on the couch and hang out with everyone.
You need to find a place where you can sit upright or stand if that’s your thing, and focus on what you need to get done, whether that’s in a spare bedroom, your own bedroom, somewhere you can close the door, somewhere you can get isolated and do your own thing.
That’s the best way to get work done for me. I had a little office built my backyard, and I understand not everyone can do that. I’ve worked out of my garage, a spare bedroom. I’ve even worked out of spaces in the back yard. As long as I have Wi-Fi that reaches out there and I’ve been able to get things done really, really fast by isolating myself for the time I need.
Remember, we don’t need to isolate for eight hours a day, just for the time that you need to get things done.
And if you start to separate time, actually working from time, going from thing to thing and being distracted, I think you’re going to find that you have a lot more time than you realize.
Which brings us to number five.
5. find your peak time and use that for “creation”
Find your peak time and use that for creation. What I like to do is I like to find the time that I might my best. Usually it’s in the morning from about 10 to 12 a.m. That time I use for important things like recording this video, putting up a blog post, doing a livestream or writing an article.
And I find that utilizing this peak time for the most important tasks is best because you’re at your best.
And later on during the day when you have that 3 o’clock crash after lunch, that’s when you take all your phone calls and deal with all the people you’ve got to deal with. But I make sure to focus my peak time on the tasks that I know take the most mental energy and work. And by doing those in my peak time, it makes a day a lot less stressful.
Which brings us to number six.
6. find your BLAH time and use that for busywork
You’re going to find out that during your day, there’s a lot of downtime tasks and busy work that you need to do, whether you’re an entrepreneur or whether you just have to work from home right now. You’re going to find there’s a lot of tasks throughout your day that are just kind of blah and you want to do those blah tasks when you feel blah.
So it’s best to schedule all the busy work and the blah tasks for times when your kids might need you. Or times when you’re cooking. Or times that you are busy with other things. That way it’s really easy. Work that you can get done and you can focus on it kind of while you’re doing other stuff. And of course, you’ve already focused your peak time for the work that takes the most and the rest of the day becomes a lot easier for you.
Number seven is a killer.
7. limit time on useless or extended conversations
You’re going to find that when you work from home. Everyone wants to talk to you all day, every day about nothing. And what we need to do as people working from home or entrepreneurs is limit access to us during our most important times of the day and make sure that we limit wasteful or useless conversations with other people, which can be quite tempting.
Which brings us to number eight.
8. let your family know when your peak time is so they don’t bug you
And that is to let your family know when you’re at your peak time so that they can not bother you. I like to let my family know, hey, I’m going to make a video and I’m not going to back for two hours or I’m going to go and I’m going to do a webinar. I’m not going to be back for a couple hours.
That way it blocks out this time unless there’s an absolute emergency that I need to take care of and make sure you outline those emergencies in the beginning, because every family member has a different idea of what an emergency is.
For example, one of my kids used to think it was an emergency to come ask me when I was making for dinner. And sometimes those little interruptions can ruin your whole day. And now for number nine.
9. set a specific “GO” time
Set a specific go time. This is time that you’re going to a lot for those tasks that you need to get done that you might be behind on or backed up on, that you need to do set that time and say, I am going to do this in three hours.
Give yourself that time. BLOCK it out and don’t do anything else in that time until you get that task done.
This is very important because the more you get distracted, the more your mind’s going to be everywhere. And again, protecting your mind is key.
Number 10 is very important for entrepreneurs and salespeople,
10. focus on the HIGH PAID WORK first
and that is to focus a specific time for the highest paid work.
Making these videos is good for my business long term. But sometimes I need to focus on immediate sales and bringing in immediate income.
When I get in those times, I like to spend one or two hours a day just solely focusing on things that will produce a result that day, whether it’s something your boss needs right away or making a sale or getting something done that you know is going to produce immediate results.
Make sure that you block out time for these things because those are your most important tasks that are going to put money in your pocket. And the idea of work, whether it’s working at a job or working from home, is always to put money in your pocket. So we need to focus on those tasks every. First and foremost.
And that brings us into number eleven.
11. safeguard your mind (its easy to get all messed up with whats going on) live gets in the way
You’re going to notice that in these difficult times, it’s easy to get distracted with everything that’s going on.
But watching the news all day, everyday, which is tempting, isn’t really going to change your situation.
You could simply watch it a couple of minutes a day and get the headlines and figure out what you need to do. But overwhelming your mind with this stuff is not going to help you be productive. And I want you to realize that when working from home, life always gets in the way. There’s always some crisis or thing that demands your attention or something that kids need or someone’s flipping out.
And we want to make sure to take care of the important things that need to be taken care of, the real emergencies and train everyone. Hey, guys, if it’s not a real emergency, I need to guard my mind and I need to focus on what’s going on. So resist the urge to check every breaking news report and every text your family sends you and anything else that can take your mind off what you need to do unless it’s a real emergency.
And that brings us to number twelve,
12. DO NOT PANIC WORK – take it slow one step one thing at a time
which is don’t panic work when you work from a place of panic or stress. It’s very difficult to get things done. And even when you do, you’re not going to be at your best because your mind is focusing on the panic and the things that you’re worried about. So you want to make sure that you start from a cool, calm place so that you can actually focus on the things that you need to get done.
Resist the urge to be in panic mode. Resist the urge to be anxious and say to yourself, right now, I need to do this.
And stressing about something for the next hour isn’t going to help, but doing something is going to help. And if I can do something instead of stress about it, I’m going to be way ahead of the rest of the crowd.
Which brings us to number 13.
13. Resist the urge to save the planet in 8 hours
Remember, you are just one person. You can’t do everything. You can’t solve all the problems in your business or your job in one day.
So take it in stride and realize I can only do what I can do today. And I’m not going to break my neck over this. I’m going to start slow and I’m going to do what I can do. And at the end of the day, I can say I did what I can do. And tomorrow I’ll start again.
But oftentimes when working from home, we like to think that we’re Superman or Superwoman, as it were.
We’re we’re gonna go out there and save the world in one flying leap. That’s not going to happen. But you can take. Small steps. Remember the way you eat an elephant? I don’t know who eats elephants, but if you are gonna eat elephant, you would eat them one bite at a time. Not all at once. So take your work. One bite at a time. One day at a time and one hour at a time. This will make you a lot more calm and free you from panic and worry and getting overwhelmed.
Which brings us to number 14.
14. take breaks and get outside (don’t work thru lunch)
And that is to take care of your mind and your body. It’s easy when working from home to be cooped up and at work and work and work and stay inside under fluorescent lights or regular lights or led lights or whatever lighting you have in your house and not go outside.
We need to go outside and get fresh air and get vitamin D from the sun and get out of our environment. Getting out of your environment is huge. So schedule a walk. Schedule a time to sit outside. Schedule a time to be with the kids outdoors and focus on that. And when you’re there.
Focus 100 percent on being there. Not the stuff at work. Taking breaks is key.
And going outside is key. If you coop up, you’re gonna get stressed and it’s going to affect your mind and you’re not going to be able to get anything done. And one thing I learned is that it’s good to break for lunch where you take lunch away from your work. If you give in to the urge to work while eating, it’s going to change your mindset and you’re not going to be able to separate work from normal time. So take 30 minutes or an hour and go have lunch. Spend time with your family.
Break up the day and realize that if I don’t take care of my mind and my body, I don’t have anything. This includes what you drink. A lot of people drink pots of coffee in the morning and wonder why they’re anxious. A lot of people don’t eat and let themselves get low on blood sugar. This one gets me a lot. Some people drink a lot of alcohol at work. I did this for a couple of years and became an alcoholic and it damn near ruined my business. And I’m glad to say I’m almost six years sober now. So I learned my lesson and it’s very important to make sure that you take care of your body and your mind, because if your mind starts to go or your body starts to go, all bets are off.
And this includes if you get sick, if you get sick, allow yourself some time to be sick, relax and recuperate. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re never going to be able to take care of your job.
And lastly, number fifteen,
15. relax its gonna be ok… do what you can do and you will find that 2-3 focused hours is better than 8 unfocused hours
We’re going to make it through. You can work from home. You can set your schedule. And remember, schedules change and adapt. Nothing’s written in stone.
I’ve had schedules throughout the years that I’ve crossed out and I’ve changed many times. And that doesn’t mean I failed or didn’t do something right. That means I’m adapting to my environment and you need to allow yourself time to adapt to your environment. Figure out what works for you. Figure out when your peak time is. Figure out when you’re Blore. Time is. And focus on the things that you need to get done and put them into categories. When you play. Play hard when you work. Work hard when you rest. Rest hard.
Take care of yourself. Forgive yourself and say I’m going to be okay in this time where I need to change what I’m doing and whether you’re working at home for a job or working at home and your own business. It’s very important to look at these things because I see so many people get scattered all over the place by not closing off distractions and not being flexible in their schedule and not focusing on the things that they need to do to get where they need to go.
So have fun and focus and relax. Have a good time with your family and focus on work when you need to work. Focus on play when you need to play and focus on getting the things done that you need to get done.