5 Effective Ways to Increase Productivity at Home in 2024

If you had more hours in a day, what would you do with them? Work more? Probably not.

You’d likely spend more time with the kids or relax with friends, maybe settle in with a glass of Shiraz and a Kiley Reid book on a lounge chair near the fireplace, or hide on a hammock under a large Jacaranda tree—all options if you had the space for them.

Let’s explore the possibilities. Carving out more time isn’t about having more hours: it’s about making the hours you have more productive, which creates extra time. Productivity is key to achieving personal and professional success. Working moms (both in and outside of the home) are in constant motion, always doing something or thinking about the next to-do. The list is endless. And with the rise of remote work, mastering productivity at home has become more important than ever.

While working from home offers many perks, like flexibility and comfort (aka athleisure wear), there are challenges that can diminish those benefits quickly, especially when you’re trying to manage a house full of kids.

Whether you're a seasoned remote worker or new to the concept, you can boost your productivity at home. By taking these 5 steps, you can transform your living environment into a hyper-focused, creative, and efficient mecca, where you can multitask your world without breaking a sweat.

Step 1: Plug in the basics of productivity for a solid start 

Ever notice what happens in that moment right before you begin work or delve into a project? There’s a split second that you decide to move forward and commit to doing what’s in front of you. Without that, it’s easy to get lost in distractions, stay unmotivated, or find reasons to avoid work—but it’s funny how it catches up with you. To get in front of productivity, power up and tune in.

The body and brain are part of our human machinery, each responding to the inner and outer environment. To perform like a well-oiled machine, both need to “show up” well. Here’s how:


Dress for the occasion 

Remote work plays on a person’s psyche, where we look for ways to get away with something. One of the more common work-from-home danger signs is the unprofessional dress code made acceptable, and it’s okay until your laptop camera goes on, unbeknownst to you, and your associates see your bedhead in all its glory. Not a good look.

At the very least, fake it a little. Put on a positive career face just in case the audio-only meeting turns into video. Change from the 5-days-worn t-shirt into a button-down blouse or trendy top that you haven’t had the chance to wear in months but are excited to. Give yourself permission to feel good, and a productive mindset will follow.

Set clear goals and priorities 

Before diving into your workday, take a few minutes to outline your goals and priorities. Moms are generally good at carrying daily tasks in their head but there is only so much room in the memory bank. Eventually, something will fall into forgetfulness.

By keeping work and personal calendars up to date, juggling the two can help you identify and adjust any scheduling conflicts. And when adding an event, meeting, or task to the calendars, make sure to add two notifications as reminders, with the first one set for a few days before and the second to alert you a couple hours ahead of the start time.

Also, decide what needs to be done and what can wait, to help you make better progress on the things that really matter, and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Tackle tasks in two minutes 

Work can pile up. With deadlines to be met on larger projects, smaller obligations become more annoying. If the little tasks are left for later, it’s hard to stay focused on the bigger stuff because the mind isn’t clear. Those other tasks poke at you like a toddler vying for your attention, “Mom, mom, mom, mom…”

To make that self-nagging stop, try applying productivity expert David Allen’s Two-Minute Rule. At the start of your workday, deal with anything that takes two minutes or less, first. The strategy helps remove some of the items on your mental plate and clears the way for more time-consuming projects to get done.

Rely on technology 

With all the innovation available to help maximize your efforts, why not take advantage of it?

Technology can take the lead on mundane tasks and assist in organizing your day and adjusting task deadlines as necessary. Productivity apps and tools like Freedom and Notion work to manage your time effectively as you collaborate with coworkers seamlessly. Not sure which type of program is best? Try this quiz to get a better idea of what’s right for you.


Step 2: Stick to a routine to avoid slacker status 

Maintaining a consistent daily routine can work wonders for productivity. Set regular working hours and don’t deviate from them.

A prework ritual can help set the mood and get the mind and body into gear so you don’t start cold. A 30-minute stretch, yoga session, or a walk outside as the sun rises supports healthy sleep cycles, enhancing productivity and energy levels. Ending the workday with a similar routine can help you transition into mom duties and leave work stress behind.

The word “routine” often gets a bad rap. People think routine means boredom, but there’s a place and time for it, and truth be told, humans manage life better with at least a few set routines. On any given day, your job is full of surprises, and routine can be the foundation to keep you centered, calm, and ready for whatever comes your way.

By practicing routine, you find a rhythm that puts you in the “zone” of productivity and you seize the day. Carpe diem! Once you realize how routine makes a difference in your life, there’s less resistance or dread in facing tasks, and more enthusiasm in accepting them. It’s a work cycle reinforced by discipline, and when you master it, you can share the process with the kids to help them better deal with schoolwork, sports, social commitments and anything else that pops up.

As your perspective changes and you begin to truly embrace routine, you’ll notice how much more efficient you are. Productivity goes hand in hand with momentum, and each builds on the other. Segmenting or compartmentalizing the hours of the day allows you to get more done in less time, while distinguishing healthy work-life boundaries for greater overall balance.

Step 3: Minimize distractions to stay in step 2 

Technology is part of our functionality and a source of distraction, with social media and other app alerts that sound off constantly, because unmanaged phone and tablet settings allow it. Lessen distractions by silencing unnecessary notifications and use tools like website blockers to stay focused during work hours.

Moms can find themselves searching for time and space to decompress and collect their thoughts when bouncing between work and family time. For moms with “obligation overload,” distractions can be a welcome relief though they disrupt focus. Having a designated workspace or home office can be the key to productivity and peace of mind, making distractions a thing of the past.

A home office helps you keep your cool 

Telling sons, daughters, and other family members that you’re working from home can send mixed messages. In your mind, the privacy you’ve always wanted is right in front of you, but your family may think you’re now available at their beck and call—work hours or not.

Without a separate home office, a desk in the kitchen or under the stairs won’t cut it. Ideally, a quiet area away from distractions is the perfect set up for a computer, desk, and supplies. This space should be comfortable and put you in work mode from the moment you enter, and communicate the same to your family without saying a word. Boundaries. It’s all about setting boundaries.


Set limits to support your health 

Just as importantly, a separate home office allows you to turn work off from the moment you shut down your laptop. Research findings published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that “working in the bedroom establishes unhealthy associations between your bed and work, making it difficult to mentally disconnect when you’re trying to fall asleep.”

If your job situation changed recently or you’ve discovered that working from home is the best way to juggle family and career effectively, a designated home office is something to get excited about. And if there isn’t enough room where you live now, it might be time to consider a new home that offers a home office and flexible floor plans meant for growing families.

Keep professional spaces clutter free 

When it comes to designing the ideal home office, consider that “anything goes”—in moderation. Choose work tools that increase productivity, not hamper it, and create the right vibe with clean lines of lighting placed only where you need it, to lower electricity use. If you work long hours, ergonomic furniture can help keep physical stress to a minimum.

Cluttered rooms give the eyes reason to roam. Organize your home office by compartmentalizing areas, like desk drawers for scratch pads and think pads for brainstorming, and cabinets to store equipment. Save surface area for a laptop or computer workstation, by going as paperless as possible. Hang a whiteboard on the wall to track daily reminders, and include a weekly schedule for tidying the office to keep it clean and clutter free.

Step 4: Give yourself a break, often 

Being head of the household puts a lot of weight on your shoulders. As a mom, it often means making sacrifices and putting your own needs last. Telecommuting can have many benefits for the entire family, but no matter how fantastic it is, you still need to be able to put it all aside and take a break.

This might seem counterproductive, but taking breaks is essential for maintaining productivity over the long term. Schedule short breaks in your calendar to rest your mind, stretch your body, and recharge your energy.

A change of scenery can bring on inspiration, spark creativity, and help with problem-solving. Maybe try a quick walk around the block or a few minutes of meditation to reset your mental focus and get your productivity back on track.

Enjoy a personal retreat any day of the week 

Busy days leave little time for rest and relaxation, which is why having an area set aside in your home (indoors or out) will give you the sanctuary you need to unwind and reconnect in the span of a few deep breaths.

The space could be simple, like a corner in your primary bathroom with spa-like touches—a steam shower, jacuzzi tub, comfy chair, or massage pillow to relax those overworked muscles. If you prefer the tranquility of fresh air and the scents and sounds of nature, a garden nook or well-designed outdoor patio can offer the serenity you’re looking for.

Just breathe 

A personal retreat at home allows moms to practice self-care and prioritize wellbeing, which helps you focus and increases productivity at work. How you use the time in your retreat is up to you. But do take a few moments to practice breathing. It may be a strange request, but think back on the last time you were upset. (If you have kids, it’s likely been in the last 30 minutes.) Notice how your heart started racing? Your blood pressure rose? Did your teeth clench or muscles tense? When this happens, give your response some pause.

Take a slow deep breath in, counting to five from start to finish. Hold it for three seconds. Then exhale just as slowly. Repeat the process five to eight times to shake off the anger and frustration. It’s also a quick way to move past an uncomfortable conversation with a coworker or supervisor, and start anew.


A built-in coping mechanism 

The mental health benefits of having a personal retreat within reach are immeasurable. Although your parents, friends, and society teach the virtues of happiness, you may have found that happiness is experienced in moments. What can prove more advantageous to your personal and professional life is having the ability to cope.

Your retreat space is a refuge from the outside world and the circumstances that cause worry. Just a few minutes spent in this sacred space helps minimize stress and anxiety. It also serves your children as a visible example of how to handle life when everything doesn’t go your way.

Expand creativity 

Thinking outside the box can be challenging when your work environment keeps you “boxed in.” The act of stepping away from the office, even an in-home office, helps refresh you mentally and opens new approaches in thinking and doing. Ideas flow freely as inspiration evolves, giving you clarity on how to meet goals.

Now that you know the benefits that a home office and personal retreat can contribute to your productivity, Step 5 takes it up a notch.

Step 5: Stay connected to others by sharing who you are 

Many studies have been done to uncover whether work from home opportunities also benefit business’ bottom line. 32.2 percent of hiring managers who participated in a recent Upwork survey said working remotely increased productivity compared to working in an office.

But there’s a flipside to working from home that you may have also experienced—isolation or loneliness. Sharing office space with others can be distracting but you also have the advantages of face-to-face collaboration, and getting to know the people you work with. Whether it’s quick chats at the Keurig station or taking a breather in the company rec room, it’s hard to replace the social and business aspects of the office space when you’re doing it solo from home.

However, if you’re comfortable breaking with tradition, there is a way for you to get the in-office connectivity you miss, and it has everything to do with your home.

Network more 

Remember those social networking events held once a month at a public place or nondescript blasé conference room, where professionals from multiple industries got together to share who they are, what they do, and why you or your company should work together?

Roll the best takeaways from those meetings into an event you host from home. It’s a less expensive alternative that will create a more memorable experience for all.

Be vulnerable, together 

Although a remote office allows you some freedoms that working from company HQ can’t, like tackling a project at 3:00 a.m. when you can’t sleep anyway, there’s something to be said about inviting coworkers into your home to get people on the same level.

You might be a work-from-home virtuoso but making real connections online takes second place to chatting in person. For something extra extra, you can use your dedicated home office or outdoor retreat to host work-related events.

How about a themed team-building event, like meditation in your yard followed by a potluck breakfast, or a cocktail hour from your wine room. If you lived in a Woodside Home, you could be the host who’s the envy of the office.

The casual atmosphere created through a home-hosted event encourages more meaningful conversation and an opportunity to let your hair down. And the next time you get together with colleagues, even if it’s at the next weekly team meeting (via laptop), the relationship comes from a more personal space.

Hosting networking events promotes inclusivity where people from diverse backgrounds can feel more welcome and at ease. Work socials from home set a foundation for more events, giving your colleagues something to look forward to. Over time, the tasks and projects assigned will make you less anxious because you’ve grown to know your coworkers and can move through challenges faster, together. Networking from home can instill trust just as well as spending time together in an office—sometimes better.

When life changes, reflect and revise productivity 

Nothing is set in stone. Even when you’ve figured out how to maximize your efficiency, life will bring change. A new job, a career improvement, a relocation—these are adjustments that create temporary hiccups to your workflow. But by adopting the 5 steps to greater productivity wherever you go, your organizational and creative skill sets will help you reach both personal and career goals, in less time.

Why wait to get started? A new Woodside Home could be one of the best investment decisions you’ll ever make—ready-equipped with the modern amenities you want and features that add to the comfort and convenience of family life. Plus, with the added rooms and spaces you need to survive and thrive at work, productivity becomes a matter of fact.

Melanie Stern

Written by Melanie Stern - May 30, 2024

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