Work-From-Home Organization and Productivity Tips
As a mom, I’m busy. It’s common that I wear many different hats everyday so I rely on a lot of different tools to help keep me organized in my career and life. I keep lists, I make mental notes, I have calendars, and I look at our schedules 1 week at a time to keep from getting too overwhelmed.
I’ve been working from home for years now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Occasionally, I”ll work from a client’s office, but for the most part, I live in my favorite joggers and sweatshirts and crank out work from my home office or living room. But regardless of where I work or when I work, I keep some things very structured.
Everyone learns differently (VARK modalities) and their brain works differently when it comes to how information is retained. As a mom with some serious mom brain, I use a few different ways to remember information so that at least one way sticks and I can manage my job, my clients, and my family without any hiccups - hopefully.
I’m a word-based learner (a read/write modality), so I write everything down. I have notebooks upon notebooks of information, I use calendars, write lists, and jot down notes all day to help me remember what needs to get done. Even if I never go back and look at my list, I remember the content because I wrote it down - hence the stack of notebooks from high school and college that I have yet to discard. I always have a small notebook and pen in my purse because I never know when an idea will strike or when I’ll need to jot down a note.
There are even some apps that I use every single day that I wouldn’t be able to live without - they keep my work and life separate, which is super important when you work from home. It can be hard to close the computer or turn off your work brain when you work from home, since you are unable to leave work at the office. But these apps make it easy to differentiate between personal life and work life.
I keep a different notebook for each aspect of my life, so size and layout vary depending on what I need it for. For work, I use a basic 5-Star Spiral Notebook. To help keep my clients’ notes separated and to help keep me organized I use 3 or 5 subject notebooks so each client has its own section and space for notes, ideas, and tasks. To keep my blog notes and ideas organized, I like to use a notebook that is a little more stylish and fun, and also not full size. I like this notebook to fit in whatever bag I'm carrying.
This app changed the way I communicate with clients. Instead of texting and having a bunch of different conversations and email chains going, it’s a separate app. The beauty of Slack is that is supports channels and thread conversations so you can have a conversation with one person or a whole team of people. Slack is like its own texting service - only it gives you the ability to set an away message and turn off notifications at a specific time every day so when you’re done work hours for the day, you don’t keep getting messages and notifications throughout the night.
Day Planners & Calendars
Instead of keeping notes in my phone and using a digital planner, I still keep things old school and use day planners and hanging calendars. In fact, my house currently has 2 calendars and numerous day/week planners going right now. I still use the calendar on my phone because it’s easier to keep track of multiple calendars in one quick view, but typing an event doesn’t have the same effect on my memory retention like writing it down with a pen. For work deadlines and keeping track of things at a glance at home, I love using a fun planner that I can keep on my desk or somewhere central in the house.
I swear by the Google Suite. All things Google. It makes having access to everything a breeze and lets me access things on my phone, tablet, or laptop from whatever email address I need (I have 5 active email addresses right now…!). It makes gaining access and granting access simpler, but it also prevents all my documents from taking up precious storage space on my hard-drive. Even my emails are organized by sections and I have filters set up so the right information gets sent to the proper folder. Everything automatically syncs to my calendars so I get notifications before every conference call or playdate. Google makes everything very intuitive and touch-and-go… why not use it?!
Chic Desk Organizers
I can’t work in a cluttered space, so I make it a point to have a home for everything on my desk - which obviously means practical and chic desk organizers. My favorite organizers are by Rae Dunn. They’re sleek, stylish, and keep your desk looking clean and organized. It’s also an easy way to keep track of little things that you use all the time - paper clips, pens and pencils, and binder clips - in arm’s length while you’re working.
If you have mom brain or just too many stinking passwords for sites like for banking, social media, secure work sites, or other sites that may require a shared login, LastPass will change the way you work. It’s a plugin for Chrome (or whatever browser you use) and saves your login information to a “Vault.” The information is stored cryptically so even if someone hacks your computer, your logins are safe. It also has a smart autofill, and if you navigate to a site where you have previously saved the login information, the Last Pass symbol will appear in the login bar and notify you of a saved login. The plugin also lets you organize your logins by utility task - Social Media, Banking, Shopping, etc.
Wearable Sleep Tracker
This doesn’t truly keep you more productive or organized, but tracking your sleep and REM cycles can play a big part in your productivity throughout the day. If you don’t get proper sleep, your brain won’t be able to handle all the tasks in a day. A wearable sleep tracker won’t truly help you sleep better, but it can track your sleep cycles and help you understand where you need to make some changes - calming essential oils, minimal screen time before bed, or even sleep aids like melatonin or Zzzquil can help you get your body ready for quality sleep.
Maybe some of these will help you, or maybe you have a great system in place! I'd love to hear about it!