This episode is taking from a recent video I put out on my top 7 Tips for Staying Productive (& Sane) while Working from Home.

In this episode

00:00 – Introduction
04:19 – 1) Set scheduled hours
06:24 – 2) Create a “work” spot
08:40 – 3) Avoid distractions
10:17 – 4) Create some sort of routine
13:02 – 5) Plan out action items
14:38 – 6) Keep family in the know
16:15 – 7) Be intentional
17:18 – Recap

Hope these points have helped you out, especially if you’re newly working from home while quarantined due to the current coronavirus crisis. And if you’ve worked from home for a while and have some additional points to share, let me know in the comments below!

P.S. You can watch the video version of this below.

Episode #027 Full Transcription

Josh 0:18
Hey, everybody, welcome to episode 27. This episode of the podcast is taken from a video I just released, giving you some tips for staying productive, and most importantly, sane. While working from home. I wanted to make this into a podcast as well, because this is a super, super relevant and crucial topic as the majority of the world right now is working from home during the Coronavirus crisis. And you’ll hear all about my main tips here. But I’ve been working from home since 2009. And I’ve learned a lot and I’ve had multiple phases of life, being from a single dude to being engaged being married now to having young kids. So I’ve worked from home in a variety of different ways. And I found that there are some universal topics that are going to be really helpful to you.

Josh 1:08
So there are seven big tips in this episode that I really am excited to hear how they help you, particularly if you’re brand new to web design or freelance, and you’re working from home. Or maybe you’re getting into web design, because you’re not working at your other job with being quarantine or something like that. So very excited to hear how this helps you out. Hey, before we dive into this one, I’m going to ask you a favor, please leave a review. For the podcast. Wherever you listen, it would mean a lot to me, I read the reviews. And quite frankly, I would love to hear more feedback about the podcast, I see the numbers, but I don’t always hear about how it’s impacting you.

Josh 1:44
With like blog posts and videos, I get a lot more comments. But I think with podcasts a little different. Sometimes I’ll just kind of randomly hear how the podcast is, is affecting people in a good way. But I would love to intentionally hear from you. And the best way to do that is to leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to the podcast. And then if you want you can send me a note go to my website, Josh Hall CO and you can just send a note to the contact form. Let me know what you think about the podcast let me know how it’s helping you and your business would mean a lot so that’s the favor I have a as a request boy, alright guys enjoy the episode.

Josh 2:20
Hey, everybody, its Josh here. Right now more people are working from home than ever before. As we’re right in the early stages of the Coronavirus crisis. And the majority of us around the world are either on lockdown or in quarantine. There’s a lot of people, or at least the people who are fortunate enough to be able to continue to do their work from home, or working from home. And I’ve never done anything like that. And it’s funny because I’ve been keeping an eye on a lot of my family and friends and networks through the socials. And a lot of people are voicing their frustrations, particularly if there’s kids involved at home. Because it’s culture shock.

Josh 2:54
If you go from working a nine to five in an office or having a job somewhere where you actually leave the house to go to do your work. When you work from home, you find out that it’s not as easy as it sounds. And it comes with a lot of hardships. And pardon me I was kind of laughing at first to see some of these things. And I’m like, Hey, welcome to the wild west of freelance and working from home. But I think back to when I got started, because I’ve been working from home since 2009. And I do remember that it was culture shock in a lot of ways. And there’s a lot of lessons learned that I learned the hard way when it came to staying productive working from home.

Josh 3:27
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to lay out seven tips that are going to help you not only stay productive, but sane while you work from home. And one thing I do want to preface before I get into this is to say that I’ve actually worked from home in a variety of different states. So I started working from home when I was a single dude living in my dad’s basement. I worked from home when I had my own apartment, I worked from home when I got married. And then once we got a house, and I had my home art my own home office. And now we’ve got almost a two year old and a three month old. So now I’m working from home while having very young kids, which is a big challenge. But I’ve learned a lot even the past couple years with that as well. So all of these tips I’m going to give you are going to help you help you no matter what phase you’re in in life.

Josh 4:11
So let’s get right into it. I’ve got the seven tips are going to help you again stay productive, and most importantly sane while working from home particularly if this is brand new to you.

1) Set Scheduled Work Hours

Josh 4:19
Number one is that you’ve got to set in schedule work hours. A lot of people when they leave the corporate world or leave a job or something they’re excited to escape the nine to five you’ve probably heard that saying and seen it across a ton of entrepreneurial outlets escape the nine to five escape the nine to five but the problem and the truth is when you escape the nine to five and you work for yourself or you work from home, you’re actually entering in to the 24/7 and that my friend is a dangerous place to be because if you don’t set and stick to scheduled work hours you’re going to find yourself literally working 24/7 This can be practically like literally work Going on your laptop while you’re watching a show or while you’re talking with your spouse or being with your kids.

Josh 5:05
But it can also be just mental, just not being able to check out because when you leave your house and go to an office or go to a co working place or something, there’s a big mental shift that happens, it’s like you leave home and then you’re in work mode. And then once you go back home, once you leave work generally, I mean, a lot of people are doing email throughout the evenings and stuff now, but for the most part, when you leave work, that’s work and then you get home, then home life starts well, when you work from home, it can be very, very difficult to differentiate the two mentally and kind of turn off.

Josh 5:36
But the biggest thing to help with that is by setting hours, and sticking to those scheduled hours, I remember, when I used to be a cabinet maker, I used to do my work, and I left every day at 330. It was very regimented. And I was just off, I really didn’t think about my work at all back then. Well, when I started working from home, I’ve over the years, I found it very, very tough not to do more than even less than 40 hours, a lot of times it was 50 6070 hours of mental thinking just constantly thinking about my business. And that’s the struggle we all face. But when you work from home, it can be extra difficult just to separate those two.

Josh 6:13
So number one, and some of the points we’re going to get into next will help with this. But number one is to make sure you set intentional work hours and stick to those hours. And we’ll get into creating routine here in a little bit.

2) Create a Designated Work Spot

Josh 6:24
Number two to go along with this is to create a work spot. Now right now for those of you watching on video, you see some sound panels behind me, I’m fortunate and blessed enough to have my own home office. And that really, really helps if you are in a position where you can make a room or even part of a room, your own little office with a desk that is huge, you got to have your own work spot. But I get that not everyone is that fortunate. And even when I started my business again, I was living in my dad’s basement, I had my bed, I had a little desk with my computer, that was my little designated spot that was about three feet from my electric drum set and my keyboard. And on the other side of that were my couches and my TV. So I kind of had like a little mini flat and all my stuff was together.

Josh 7:08
But the point is, I still had my spot, I had a little desk before I got a big desk, I had a little one that was just my creative spot. And that’s where I was starting my business and I and it really helped me with having a delegated work spot. Because even if it was three feet away from my drumset, when I left my drum set and gotten to my work spot, it my mentality changed, I was in my spot.

Josh 7:30
Now there are times where I will work in the living room, or I’ll work on the kitchen table, it’s a little more rare, particularly with kids. Now, I try not to do too much work on my laptop and less with my newborn, maybe I just fed her and she’s napping. And sometimes I’ll just have her on my chest and I’ll have my laptop out for a half an hour a little longer. If she’s napping. Sometimes I will work on the kitchen table depending on the situation. But it can be really tough to avoid distractions, which we’re going to talk about next when you’re working in that kind of environment. So one thing that will help too, if you’re working at like the kitchen table, for example, try to limit those distractions and actually clear off part of the kitchen table. That helps me to instead of just like pushing a bunch of fast food wrappers and stuff aside or plates aside, I’ll actually try to just clear off the table completely and make it like its own little work area. Even if it’s just for an hour or 45 minutes, you can get a lot done, if you’re really intentional about that.

Josh 8:24
So number two, make sure you dedicate some sort of work spot, ideally, a home office. But there’s a lot of makeshift ways to do to go about that, depending on your situation, just make some sort of spot where you can mentally work and separate segregate home from work.

3) Avoid Distractions (if Possible)

Josh 8:40
Number three, as we just talked about, you’ve got to avoid distractions, easier said than done. I know, particularly with kiddos. And this is again, where if you’re working in the same room as kids, things are going to take you about 10 to 20 times as long, which is really, really tough. So practically any way you can actually distance yourself from family and from kids, whether it’s room or whether it’s in the basement or part of a room. Or maybe if you’re working at the kitchen table, they can go to a different room or a playroom or a nursery or something for a little while, do whatever you can to avoid distractions at all costs. And then practically even if you are in a situation where it’s just you and your screen, it’s very easy. When you start working from home to be distracted by yourself. You can stay on socials too long. You can start watching movies or watch other media and it can be very easy if you don’t have any accountability or if you’re used to being around people working to be very distracted.

Josh 9:37
So you need to have kind of two levels of distraction protection. You need to have physical distraction protection, like people around you, you know, family around you making things tough, but you also need to have a little self motivated little self motivation and a little intentional distraction efforts to help you with that as well because that’s huge again, you You’re used to a bunch of accountability, it can be very tough. When it’s just you, again, you have a lot of freedom when you have work from home ability, but what’s on the other side of freedom responsibility. So yeah, you’re free to do whatever you want work when or where you want, but you got to be responsible with that, too. So number three, is to avoid distractions.

4) Create a Routine

Josh 10:17
Number four, this is a big one, you’ve got to create some sort of routine. When you work for a company or if you work for a different business, you’re automatically kind of going to be morphed into their routine, everyone generally starts around the same time, people take breaks. At the same time. I know when I worked at the cabinet shop 7am, we were starting. And if you showed up a minute late you are getting you’re hearing it from the dude’s there. And then 915 was break noon was lunch 330, that place was a ghost town. So there was a strict routine. And the beauty about that is you don’t really have to have that when you work from home. But it is good to take a lot of those ideas and concepts, and at least make some sort of routine to follow every day, ideally, and this is a big one. And it’s even harder when you have kiddos. Because what we found out is with kids, you just never know what’s gonna happen, particularly when there’s appointments or there’s a nap that didn’t go well, or they’re you know, there’s all kinds of stuff that happens.

Josh 11:14
But what I’ve tried to do, this was easier when I was single on when it was just me and my wife to create a routine. But particularly with kids, what I’ve tried to do is have kind of what I call a soft routine. So I have a set time I try to start at, and then I kind of have a couple breaks in between the day, and I very rarely ever work more than eight hours a day. Usually it’s less than that.

Josh 11:35
So a routine might look something like this, this is just an example. But you could do something like nine to 11 might be your first work segment, you try to have a good two hour segment, after about a couple hours, you’re gonna get stir crazy, a little antsy, so it’s good to get up, take a walk or take a break or just do something to switch it up. And then I’d recommend doing a second work segment, this might be like 1130, to one, you do your second work segment. And then you have lunch. Now if you start earlier in the day, then you can just bump all this up an hour or whatever. And then after lunch, you do another big work segment, that’s what I call kind of a third work segment, maybe a couple hours might be a little bit longer, you could take another little break in there and split that up. But at least having that timed out ideal soft schedule will really help you out when you create a routine.

Josh 12:20
So those are huge. Again, it may fluctuate depending on the situation, depending if there’s kids involved and stuff, but having some sort of routine that you try to stick to everyday will be huge. And then if you have an appointment in the morning or something or if you have a meeting or right now we’re on quarantine, let’s say you need to get out and go get lunch and bring it back or something or make a grocery trip, then you could just you know, settle into whatever segment you’re working on.

Josh 12:44
And then for my fellow web designers, I talk about this all the time, but make sure you have what I like to call a reactionary block of time to where generally at the end of the afternoon, you have some time where you can get back to any emergency emails or anything like that. That way you can get back to your clients quick. So number four is creating a routine.

5) Plan Out Action Items

Josh 13:02
Number five is to know what you are working on. Now, this is going to be true for every industry, no matter if you’re working somewhere or you’re working from home. But when you’re working somewhere in a company, at least in my experience, you had people kind of telling you what to do or you are trying to meet the deadlines, everyone else was trying to hit too. When you work from home, it’s generally kind of the Wild West, you can do whatever the heck you want. But you need to be really intentional and to know what you’re working on. It’s about being results oriented and have a clear goal, this is going to help you actually work less in the long run.

Josh 13:37
Because the beauty about working from home is that you don’t need to work a full eight or nine hour day, if you have a few goals during the week, or maybe just one goal a day and you need to hit this project deadline or something and you get it done in five hours and you feel good, then that’s all you need to do. You don’t need to sit at your computer and wasted an additional three hours by just sitting there, you don’t have to do that when you work from home, you can get a lot done in five or six hours as opposed to just sitting there and wasting a few hours just looking at your screen or being distracted again.

Josh 14:07
So you want to use that time wisely. And you want to make sure you know what you’re working on. So you got to plan out clear goals. And you gotta ideally write them down, have maybe two or three action items per day and then a few action items and things you want to get done by the end of the week. And that’s really really helped me I have a little pad if you’re watching this on video, you’re gonna see this I have a little, a little action pad that just I write out what I want to get started on per day and what I want to get done per day or per week, it’s been a huge, huge help. So number five, make sure you know what you’re working on.

6) Keep Your Family in the Know

Josh 14:38
Number six as we get close to wrapping this up, keep your family in the know once I found out particularly once we started having kids, it was very very important for me to let my wife know what my schedule was like that way because I have my own office again. So I usually have my door closed if I’m working but I kind of have a closed-door open-door policy and my doors open but I’m working, then I’m working on stuff that it’s okay. If you come in and bug me or say hey, or, or, you know, my wife says, hey, I want to ask you about something or something like that, that’s fine.

Josh 15:09
But it My door is closed, it generally means I’m recording a video, doing a tutorial recording a podcast or something that I really do not want to be distracted on. Or in some cases, I can’t be distracted if I’m doing a live webinar or something like that. And the biggest thing about that is to keep your family in the know, particularly if you have kiddos, or if you have a spouse that they should know, like, Hey, I’m going to be really busy, or I need to get this done in this next block of time. Don’t distract me or don’t bug me. So my wife will usually every day ask me what’s your day looking like, and

Josh 15:39
I’ll say, Well, I’ve got a call on 11. So just make sure you don’t bug me between that time. Sometimes they can just look in the calendar, we have a shared calendar. And for me, my office is actually right next to our nursery. So I do this in another point, because I don’t want my wife to be in the nursery next door with a screaming baby, ideally, while I’m recording a podcast or recording a video, so I’ll just let her know, hey, I’m about to jump on a podcast or a live webinar. You know, if the baby needs Jane’s just take her to the living room, this time, instead of the rooms, little things like that are really going to help you out but you got to keep your family in the nail. That’ll be a really big one.

7) Be Intentional with Your Time

Josh 16:15
And then finally, the most important thing that really encapsulates all these points is to be intentional about your time. This is extra, extra important when you work from home. Again, because you’re not working a nine to five, you’re not on salary generate Well, you might be on salary depending on the situation. But generally, for freelance web designers, at least we work by whatever we get done. It’s it’s results oriented. So we don’t need to work nine to five, you don’t need to work eight 910 hours a day. Again, you can work five or six. If you get a bunch of stuff done in that time, then Awesome. Very rarely do I work more than eight hours a day. And I work in kind of bigger segments really, really intentional, what I call deep work segments. And that’s what I recommend you do. And it all goes back to intentional time.

Josh 17:02
So setting those hours sticking to that routine, really utilizing everything that we’ve talked about up to this point, to have really intentional time. It’s all about working better hours, not more hours. That’s what this is all about when you’re working from home. And those things were really helped.

Josh 17:18
So let’s recap real quick number one, set and scheduled work hours. Make sure this is going to be the hardest thing you have to deal with when you work from home is segregating and separating work time from home time when you’re at home.

Josh 17:31
Number two is to create some sort of spot a place for your actual work, ideally a home office, but even if you just work, you know, if you don’t have that you can just clear off kitchen table do something or just set up part of your basement or a different room with a desk. Make it work spot

Josh 17:46
Number three is to avoid distractions, but physically but then also by yourself. Make sure you limit your social media and limit your media. You can do those things just be intentional about those like if you want to have a blocked out 15 segment of social media cool, do that. But then get right back to work. Get some stuff done

Josh 18:02
Four is to create a routine, like we talked about what the little daily routine I mapped out for you.

Josh 18:07
Five is to know what you’re working on. Be again, results oriented. So you don’t just spend eight hours sitting on your screen doing nothing. What a waste of time if you’re working from home, you could have valuable family time or get work or home projects done.

Josh 18:21
Six is to make sure you keep your family in the know particularly if you’re doing really dedicated deep work or you should not be distracted during certain time periods.

Josh 18:28
And number seven again, it’s all about better hours, not more hours be intentional with your time. Alright guys, hope you enjoyed these tips for staying productive and sane while working from home.

Josh 18:40
Hey, I would love to hear if you’ve been working from home for a while and you have some more tips that you’d like to dish out. Let me know, drop a comment wherever you see or you hear this. And then for those of you who are just starting to work from home, maybe you’re a brand new web designer, or maybe again you’re in the wake of this Coronavirus crisis and your world is just rocked because you’re working from home. You’ve never done it before. Again all these things I really hope will help you and you’re welcome to drop any questions wherever you see or hear this. Alright guys hope these tips have helped. Again, make sure you apply these to working from home and I’ll catch you guys on a another video here.


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