Working from home isn’t easy, especially when you’re not used to it. You can find it hard to concentrate when there’s housework around you. Right now, you likely have the kids home, so you’re trying to work while you’re looking after them or while you’re trying to homeschool. It feels impossible to work from home right now.
I’m a WAHM. I have been since my eldest was born. I started working from home before I had children, and it wasn’t easy to develop a plan or get into the mindset. But over time, I’ve found certain tools help me get focused and work from home better. These are the seven I highly recommend for you.
I use Trello on a daily basis and have done for at least the last five years. It’s one of the most useful tools available for managing my workflow. I set up boards for the individual blogs that I have and have one specifically for my clients. It’s easy to keep track of what I’m supposed to be writing and when.
The Calendar add-on is something that I always enable. I need to be able to see the workflow. It’s also possible to connect to Slack, Google Drive, and more.
You can find out more about how I use Trello when I work from home to help with productivity and planning.
Slack is extremely important when I need to get in touch with clients or other people that I work with on various sites. It gives me a chance to connect with other writers or with my co-editors.
Of course, Slack can get a little distracting. I have been known to mark myself as away even though I’m online just to prevent people from thinking I can reply immediately. However, during the day, when I need to get in touch with someone quickly, it’s useful.
When it comes to conference calls, Zoom is the tool that I turn to. Sometimes you need to meet with people face-to-face when you work from home. Skype used to be a go-to of mine but there are all sorts of limitations to it. Zoom doesn’t have those limitations as much. Google Hangouts is another that I use regularly.
The benefit of Zoom is that you can set up meeting rooms. Multiple people can join and I haven’t seen a limitation on things just yet. However, I don’t tend to be in big meeting spaces. You can join a meeting room or set up your own, depending on your needs.
4. Google Drive/Docs
Sometimes you need to share documents or images with people that you work with. Google Drive is my go-to for this. It’s possible to quickly share documents and files, and you can revoke access when you want. You can also create copies quickly, which is something I do if someone shares something with me that I know I could need in the future.
I do admit that I use Microsoft Office a lot as well. When I work from home, I often switch between my main PC and my Surface Pro. Microsoft Office makes it easy to connect everything, sync files, and pick up where I left off.
5. My Physical Diary
I wouldn’t be able to do anything when I work from home without my physical diary. I’ve tried doing everything online, but planning out like that just doesn’t seem to work for me. While I have my Google Calendar and I have Trello, there are times that I need to physically write something down. It sticks in my brain better.
I set up my day the night before. It’s easy to see just how much work I have to do and I cross things out as I go, so I know just how much has been finished.
Sometimes, I find it hard to concentrate on work. Or I need to get a set amount done in a short space of time. So, I need something to keep me focused and put a little pressure on me. Toggl does that.
I like pressure when I work from home. I like trying to beat a clock. So, I will set my timer and it helps me to avoid looking at Facebook. I know that the timer is telling me how long I’m taking on something. Sneding updates about work on through Slack SMS is more efficient.
If I’m having a very bad day, I’ll use Toggl for everything. If I’m having a good day, I might not use it at all. It depends on how productive I’m being.
There are times when you work from home that you need to blank everything out. You need to enter your own space. When I need that, I have Spotify. I set up specific playlists for different tasks.
My client work needs music that won’t distract me and make me think of the past. When I’m working on revenue share, I need music that is upbeat. If I’m working on fiction, I need music that inspires me. This is a setup that I’ve found extremely useful on my worst days for productivity.
I can’t use Spotify as much as normal due to the kids being at home. However, when they’re napping or doing something quiet, I can put one earbud in and get some writing done.
What tools do you use to work from home? Share them in the comments below.