Last night I sat down to put this post together and ended up watching youtube videos on tiny homes while drinking wine. So, I get it! Doing online work, often on your own deadline, can require a lot of dedication and focus. We could all use a few tips on how to be more efficient and effective.
A couple of weeks ago we asked for your best tips on getting online work completed and these were the knowledge nuggets of experience and insight that our lovely ladies have shared. . . . .
++ For me, I think the key is to first really like (or, I daresay, love) what you do. I work from home doing graphic design, and I love the chance to be creative, and get paid for it too. I do most of my work after my kids are tucked in bed. Sometimes it can be hard to muster the energy to do this when you just want to flop on the couch and watch TV, but there are a few things I find helps me get in the groove. Simple things like making a yummy drink (wine or tea!) to sip on, lighting a candle that smells like Hawaii (or what I imagine Hawaii smells like – I’ve never been…), and putting on music that makes me feel creative, or listening to an interesting podcast. Oh, and if necessary, add chocolate. @doucey
++ I allow myself one (okay, maybe two) cups of coffee per day. It doesn’t have to be a certain brand but I do have a special creamer that’s just for mommy. @adventurousmama3
A separate work space
++ The best thing I did for my work life balance is buying a desktop computer. Before Christmas my laptop died and since my work is image heavy, constantly editing images, I found the cost of a desktop was much more affordable to get a quality machine. Now, when my kids are up, my office door is closed- so I’m not tempted to keep working when they’re awake. Also- when I’m working in the evenings (my husband takes the kids two nights a week so I can close my door and crank out work), I’m not in our family space being distracted by how cute (or troublesome) my kids are. This has increased my productivity incredibly. @colleenpastoor
++ I do most my work when the husband is home with the kids. If I try to work alone in a room in the house, it is too easy to get distracted or be interrupted. If I really want to get work done I must leave the house to do it, I usually head to the local cafe, coffee shop or pretend to leave and sneak back into the basement. @shawnascafe
Make a plan
++ I live by my editorial calendar, it not only helps me schedule my blog posts- but the posts of clients. I have a book that I draw all my ideas out in and then I assign them to the client or my blog as I need to fill in my editorial calendar. This helps me from sitting at my computer trying to decide what to write for tomorrow morning- and wasting my time browsing Pinterest for ideas. @colleenpastoor
(We are big believers in editorial calendars too!)
++ I make lists. Lots and lots of lists of what I need to accomplish. @elizabethlaura6
++ All day long I’m writing lists (bullet journaling, obvi ;)) of what I need to do when I finally get the chance to sit down and work. It helps me to get the idea out of my brain but I’m not tempted to pull out the laptop and try to cram in a task with the kids underfoot. @shawnascafe
A reliable note-taking system
Set a work schedule
++ I have told all my clients when my work hours are and am upfront if they have a request (‘Can you change the tile image on that post from last week?’ ‘Can you create a post to introduce this giveaway I’m doing?’) that I won’t be able to look at it until my next work-time (tomorrow, or the next day usually). I have also scheduled those work times with my hubby and family. They know that on Monday nights, I don’t go to family dinners because I’m working. They know that on Tuesdays I won’t go to gymnastics because my kids are at daycare etc. I’ve also scheduled Date Night because it’s easy to let that be last.When it’s not my scheduled work time, my job is to be a mom and have a life outside my computer. @colleenpastoor
++ I’ve realized that trying to mingle my work time and family time just does not work. I need to set aside certain times of the day and explain to my family that this is moms time to work. It’s been a struggle but we will get there. Routine.@adventurousmama3
++ My husband and I write out a rough schedule each week and try to stick to it in terms of my ‘work hours’. Knowing there is a set time for me to get work done helps me to be present in the day because I don’t stress about fitting it in here and there. @shawnascafe
++ Prioritizing date night with hubby and keeping it as a sacred space in my calendar and heart and mind. @jennimarie
Set the tone
++ Making sure that before I start my day I have read scripture or done a devotional or if I didn’t have time that morning making sure I put on worship music to keep my mind in focus. I have been reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young that past year and that has helped me a lot!@adventurousmama3
++ Make sure I am showered and dressed and actually go to my mom cave/office. @sarahonpurpose
Get the right online tools for the job
Be mindful of distractions
++ Turn off all social media notifications on my phone. Logout of Facebook (or other accounts) on all my browsers and make my password annoying. @alyssalortie
++ Keep Facebook closed while working! It is such a time consumer! One minute it is 9am then the next 10. And you lost an hour doing nothing! Don’t do it, just don’t!@adventurousmama3
++ Install a web timer browser extension that allows me to track how much time I spend on websites through the day, on average, through a year. It will count my minutes on the top right corner (maintaining my Pinterest and Etsy addictions). I use this one. @alyssalortie
Schedule the promotions
++ I use programs to schedule all post promotion, whether it is in a batch or as I prep a post for publishing. I only post to the places I find the most value, so I use Later for Instagram and Tailwind for Pinterest. @shawnascafe
Set a timer
++ Set a timer and commit to writing until the timer beeps. I usually only set it for 20 min at a time. @sarahonpurpose
++ Every time I sit down at my desk, I make a master list and assign times. I use this timer to manage how much time I devote to each task, so I don’t get sucked into something and realize my whole evening is gone. At the end of my work time, I re-write that list for tomorrow. This helps me feel in control of my workload .@colleenpastoor
++ Set a phone or kitchen timer for an hour and get one specific task done. When there is only a generic deadline, sometimes I need some pressure and a clock counting down helps me pace my work. @alyssalortie
Batch your work
++ I try to be mindful of the tasks I can do and when. For example, If I’m working alone I will do all my writing and then edit later when my eyes are fresh. When the kids are playing I need to pick things I can drop as needed, like post promotion or emails. When I’m sitting on the couch at the end of the night I can do SEO and graphics. @shawnascafe
Set clear goals
++ Hiring a business coach was a huge game changer for me. I struggled with direction so my work, because we are all making it up as we go. I was feeling unsuccessful because I haven’t properly defined success for myself. This also crept into how my husband viewed my work. It was easier to get him on board and easier for me to accomplish meaningful tasks when I worked with a business coach to get clear on my goals. @shawnascafe
A supportive partner
++ There has been one major factor in all of this and that is my husband. He has been one of the biggest supporters and encouragers being in this. On days when I feel overwhelmed he will take the kids and give me a whole day to get caught up!@adventurousmama3
Do less work
++ The work we could do with our online platforms is endless. I’ve learned the value in just calling it a day and doing less. It might mean I don’t post as often or promote as much, but I can condense my work into the most important stuff (to me). Instead of feeling this underlying pressure to produce and promote and be everywhere all the time – I can put it in God’s hands and I can spend more time doing the other things in life that I enjoy and not feeling like I’m a slave to my online work. @shawnascafe
++ I am praying daily to be more flexible when my schedule is disrupted. I’m trying to see God in the disruption and just say “okay Lord, You changed my schedule what do you want me to learn, do or be”. I’m not always successful, but I am trying! @elizabethlaura6
Keep work at work
++ Setting aside specific office work hours and then leaving the work behind when that time slot is complete. @jennimarie
Outsource where it is valuable to you
++ Right now, that means hiring a house cleaning twice a month and not feeling the least bit guilty about the “luxury” of a little more sanity in my home and life. @jennimarie
Rely on God
++ Isaiah 43:2 is my motto It makes me realize that even when the amount of work before me seems so daunting, it’s nothing compared to water or fire and God tells me he will get me through that with those verses, so I know I can get through the mountains of paperwork on my desk – or laundry or housecleaning if I’m at home! It just reminds me that when I feel small and afraid He is bigger and stronger. @elizabethlaura6
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Thank you to all the ladies in the community who submitted their tips.
How do you get your work done? What are your productivity tips and tools? Hop on over to Instagram and let us know!
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Here it is, a virtual coffee date with a fellow blogger and creative who has been there, done that and really reflected on what God has taught them along the way?This is an eBook of practical tips and insights gathered over five years of being in the blogging world.