3 more tips to productivity in working from home

Char from Essential Keystrokes highlighted 5 tips for working from home with kids in an earlier post:

1. Get Caller ID…
2. Divide and Conquer…
3. Enlist Some Help…
4. Communicate…
5. Put the Kids to Work…

Those were great points, and ones shared much from a parent’s perspective. I thought there were just a couple more based on my short 5 – 6 months (that’s 10 years less than Char!). :mrgreen:

#1 DON’T check your mail too often!

While this might not apply to everybody, I find that I tend to spend too much time reading and replying to my mails. While tending immediately to emails may win you a reputation of great customer service, it might not work out well for a solo man operation.

Without setting limits to how much time you spend time on email, it might just take up easily half of your day! This is not very useful, especially if you are planning to work on your own projects that will take your business to a next level.

On this thought, if you realise customers are asking similar questions, consider either setting up a FAQ page where you can direct your customers to, or have pre-made email templates where you can answer the most common questions.

#2 Work when you work best

One of the things you get to enjoy when you work from home is that you can work as and when you like to. So, don’t limit yourself to working in the day during official office hours.

Try working late into the night and sleeping till late in the morning, or start work much earlier than others working in offices, and end earlier so you can fit into the other things in life. Test out different timings to see which your are most comfortable with, and most productive.

For myself, I work best over the night, and sleeping at 6am! 🙂 Recently, I tried to switch to working in the day and my productivity dropped.

Oh, and more to this – since you have full control over your working hours, you might be better off working in short sessions (maybe 2 hours?) and taking more frequent short breaks of half an hour, rather than one long hour after 4 hours of work.

#3 Motivate yourself

In the office, you have your boss and colleagues to put pressure on you to get on with your work and keep your eyes open, no matter how tired you may be (if not you might get fired! :mrgreen: ), but working at home can be demotivating, and lonely.

One way I used to keep myself motivated is to paste my goals right in front of me, or buy motivational posters and paste them over your work desk.


  1. Thanks Kian! Your #1 suggestion is one that I struggle with, but find that when I set my email to auto check at wider intervals, I am definitely more productive.

  2. Good tips — I check my mail way too much too. It’s addicting. Also checking stats should be limited 😉 I like to use a timer too — and chunk my worktime into blocks.

  3. Hey Char, Lori and John!

    You know, sometimes its not only email – its the Internet browser as well! When the browser is open I tend to surf around too much, read too much, so much so that I don’t get to do the work I was supposed to do.

    Actually, many things can be done offline, using the regular Ms Office applications, or Dreamweaver… its just that we are so used to a permanent Internet connection – and that gives us an opportunity to virtually sneak out of what we are supposed to do. 😛

  4. Yeah – I confess to being guilty of that distraction as well. Alright Kian Ann – you’ve inspired me to be productive today!