How to Multiply Your Productivity When You Work From Home

Feel like you haven’t accomplished anything and it’s already 6 pm?

You wake up to an already full plate of tasks and it seems the list gets bigger and bigger as each hour inches by.

How to Multiply Your Productivity When You Work From Home

This is what happens to me. I’m a freelance writer and I work from home.

I have twin toddlers – a girl and boy – and every day it’s a toss up whether I’ll be able to fold that bucket of laundry that’s been sitting there for three days or if I’ll have a chance to schedule that eye exam I’ve been meaning to get done for the last month.

There just isn’t enough hours in the day to work AND run a house. I sometimes wish I could dupe myself and have two Elna’s running around.

While I can’t do that, I can put my energy into my productivity – or lack thereof.

I’ve been working from home for over a year now, and I’m finally finding my groove when it comes to maximizing my productivity. It’s not perfect, but it’s working for now.

I’ve developed a system to organize my work, which gives me time to be be more productive – believe it or not!

I can actually tackle my children’s closets or re-organize our kitchen pantry.

If you find it a struggle to get all your client work done and then get all your house chores done in a day, these tips that I’m about to share with you will multiply your productivity.

It did for me and I’m sure it will for you!

Let’s find out what these tips are.

1. Get Digitally Organized


Can I make a confession?

Until just recently, my desktop was the dumping ground for every image I downloaded, every free eBook or content upgrade I received and any forms I needed to save.

You know the saying about having a messy house equals having a messy mind (or something like that)? It’s the same with your laptop or computer.

Having a messy desktop just means you’re wasting time finding what you need. The best thing you can do is clean up your desktop and folders.

I have folders for each of my blogs. Inside I have folders for content upgrades, logo design, images, and anything else associated with that blog.

For my clients I have a master folder for clients and then each client has their own folder. Within their folder is a month then the content.

Not only is it a good idea to organize your digital files, but it’s probably a good idea to name your files the same.

For example: multiply-productivity.png

Using lower-case letters and using a dash in between words helps me find my files easier.

If your desktop is a mess, take an hour and clean it up. You’ll end up saving time for more important tasks.

2. Work Smarter (Not Harder)


I’m sure you’ve heard this right? But, do you really follow it? Do you find it takes you hours to create an image for your blog post? Or, it takes your two hours to write 1,000 words?

If so, you may not be working smarter. One thing I did to help me increase my productivity was practice my typing.

I started taking typing tests to help me improve my speed and accuracy. And it worked! I can easily type 1,000 words in under an hour.

Another thing I did was increase my rate as a freelance writer. My time is limited and if I was going to make a living doing this, I needed to make writing worthwhile.

When I first started, I’d say I was working for around $40/hour. Now, it’s easily $150+/hour.

Instead of working harder by slaving away writing for peanuts, I’m working smarter because now I’m being paid my worth as a writer.

One final thing I did to increase my productivity was to instill a “no email/social media” during client work.

Since a lot of the content I write requires research, screenshots, fact-checking and highly engaging copy, I need all my focus dedicated to writing.

Stopping to check my email or see what that notification is on my phone just stops my flow of writing.

It’s an easy thing to do, but a hard thing to follow. Especially if you are addicted to email and social media (which, I’m afraid I am. I’m an 80’s kid!).

3. Block Out Noise


My house is noisy.

Like super noisy. And just because it’s “nap time,” it doesn’t mean it’s always quiet.

The twins sleep in the same room and in different cribs. But, they talk to each other for a good 45 minutes before they fall asleep. Their room is right next to mine and I can hear them.

So, I had to block out the noise by listening to music on my headphones. And you know what? I found I was more focused, creative and was able to zip through my client work in no time.

And it’s not something that only works for me; studies have proven the effectiveness of using ambient music to spur creativeness.

I don’t listen to Adele or Beyoncé when I work. Instead I listen to instrumental music and currently I’m finding that Ludovico Einaudi’s album Divenire is my go-to music for creativity.

It’s on real low and for some reason I’m able to get more work done – and before I thought I’d need complete quite to work!

4. Delegate Your Work


Sometimes it’s okay to admit defeat.

The plan to get all your  work done before your child woke up from their daily nap didn’t happen.

Or, the newsletter you write every week was late.

Things like this happen to me all the time. It isn’t detrimental to my business, but it slows me down and I end up working harder and not smarter.

That’s when delegating tasks or automating tasks is essential to helping you stay productive.

For me, if my children want to help “fold” the laundry, I’ll let them. They can put their own socks and undies away themselves or put the hand towels in the bathroom.

If my son wants to vacuum I’ll let him! He can use the stick-vac to pick up the crumbs from breakfast.

In my business, I often outsource editing, writing and sometimes research. This frees up my time and helps me generate more income.

I’m also using Tailwind to automate my Pins and I’m finding that’s super helpful. I’ll have to start looking into Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule my other social media posts.

Getting help has been amazing for my business and life. My MIL comes over practically every day to play with the twins. My husband helps me immensely in my business and we are actually working together now, so that’s a plus.

Working from home doesn’t have to be lonely. Involve your friends and family and enlist their help!

Pay Attention to Burnout

It’s super easy to burnout when you work for yourself.

The lines blur when your office is in your bedroom. Your brain doesn’t automatically shut off when work is done for the day.

It’s important to remember that it’s quite easy to burnout as a freelancer, side-hustler or telecommuter.

You have to pay attention to the tasks that are burning you out. It might be coming home to a full day of work and then having to clean up the living room, put a load of laundry in and then prepare dinner.

You’re tired and every little thing is exhausting. I get you!

I still work several hours after I put my twins to bed at night. For most people though, the best time to get most of your work done is in the morning.

We’re awake, refreshed from having a good night’s sleep and ready to take on the day.

But, for work-at-home moms with small children, your morning might be a bit more frazzled.

It’s dressing your children, unloading the dishwasher, prepping breakfast, loading up the dishwasher, wiping down the children, sweeping the floor, tidying up the living room – oh, and changing out of your PJ’s – and then having something to eat yourself.

Instead of starting off with a million things to do, the best thing I did was divide tasks up. I do some at night before bed and the rest in the morning before breakfast.

This usually works and frees up time to check my email, get my tasks in order and start my day.

And finally, avoid burnout by taking time for yourself. If it’s watching TV or having a girl’s night, then schedule it in.

For me, my guilty pleasure is The Walking Dead. If I can, I would binge watch the whole season, but that’s just not being productive!

Treat Each Day Differently

For me I need to remember that even though I have a schedule, not every day will turn out that way.

My twins may wake up a half hour earlier – or sleep an extra 45 minutes later (yes!). I might have used the last cup of milk and now I have to go out in -10 C weather and get milk for the day.

My client piece needs more editing than what I had thought and now I have to write a whole new sub-heading complete with new images and supporting facts.

While it’s a good thing to have a plan for the day, treat it as a fluid plan. With children you have to be flexible 🙂

Over to you – do you have any extra tips to help you multiply your productivity?

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!

Leave a Reply


Thanks for sharing this. I think the most helpful tip for me is the blocking of noise. It really affects my productivity. CheersReply to Miles
Hi Miles, Yes! Blocking out noise is important for me too, but hard with twins running around!Reply to Elna
Haha “Just because it’s nap time doesn’t mean it’s quiet” SO TRUE! I’ve been working from home for 7 years but have found it much more challenging since my son was born. I also try and block out the noise while I’m working. Lately I’ve been putting on rain and thunderstorm sounds. Something about it just calms me and makes my work go so much faster. By the way I linked to this post in my recent self-employment article. Thanks so much for the great tips. I’m always coming back to your blog when I need some inspiration!Reply to Kelly
Hi Kelly! Cool tactic! I like to listen to regular music I guess, but when I really need to focus on my writing it’s modern classical for me! Thanks for the link!Reply to Elna
Great advice, Elna! I’m not a mom but I’ve been working on my blog at home the last 3 months. Between pets, dishes, laundry, and The Office always calling my name, I find it difficult to stay on track. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I will keep this post in mind whenever I feel like I’m struggling to stay on track.Reply to Briana
Hi Briana, Thank you so much! Yes, it’s still crazy at my house and you know what? My twins are now in school! Lots of stress and mess! ha..Reply to Elna
I’ve put it on my weekly checklist now to organize my desktop so those random downloads don’t drag down my ability to find files easily! By the way, I use Buffer and find it very helpful for scheduling tweets. I hope you like it when you try it. 🙂Reply to Rachelle
Hey Rachelle! That’s awesome!!! Yes I use Buffer to schedule my tweets and Facebook group messages!! It’s awesome!Reply to Elna
Thank you for sharing your experience! I agree with you on so many levels. First and foremost, my desktop looks like a jungle still. Everything I download goes straight to it and I know that’s not a good idea, but during the time it takes to sort out each individual file into specific folders, I often forget why I downloaded them in the first place. Alas, if I only had individual folders in my brain. Irony at its best, right? And another thing, I thought I was the only one who can listen to music while working! Right now deep house is on the playlist, but sometimes even progressive techno can get me in the productive mood (weird, I know). Anything with no vocals that can distract my train of thought. Again, great article! I just found out your blog and I really love your writing style. Keep up the great work!Reply to Job
Thanks for your comment! Yeah being more productive at home with small kids is a challenge for sure. I used to not listen to music either, but once the kids were talking so much when I put them down for their daily nap, I had to block them out to work!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, When my kids were little I was working in an office but it was still a task to get everyone out the door on time so no one would be late to school or work. What helped me was getting their stuff ready at night. Clothes, backpack, lunch – if they were taking it. They’re grown now but I still face other challenges that keeps me from being productive…I find myself asking why their aren’t more hours in the day at least once a day. What works for me is keeping a to-do list and staying on task. I use my Outlook for alerts to help me move on to the next project. Thanks for sharing your tips Elna! So loving this new blog! CoriReply to Corina
Hey Corina, You have some great tips. Having a structure to your day even when you work at home is crucial to getting anything done! My schedule isn’t set in stone but I do know I need to have a better morning. I like sleeping in, but I’m finding I’m not as productive when I do. So, I’m working on that!Reply to Elna
Great tips. I’m all about getting organized and putting things in motion so that you can get more done each day. Automating as much as possible is super helpful. Keep up the great work and live unstoppable!Reply to Rhonda
Hey Rhonda, Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, organizing is always on my to-do list every day! Yes, and I love automating and delegating tasks. Have a great week.Reply to Elna
Great tips!Reply to Marie
Thanks Marie! Do you have kids? It’s a whole other way to be organized isn’t it?Reply to Elna
Elna, your posts are fantastic. I love your style of writing! I have to say, my life as a freelancer and entrepreneur is just as hectic. While I don’t have twins, I DO HAVE A son and elderly parents to care for. Omg… don’t tell me to start a blog about caring for them! Lol. But hey… maybe this is an idea for a guest post on TwinsMommy?Reply to Lorraine
Hey Lorraine! I know! You do sooo much and I’m so happy you are back in your place and have your own space (hey that rhymes) 🙂 I’m also happy to hear you had a fabulous vacation and it changed your life! I desperately need a vacation but not sure if I can get everything coordinated plus have the TIME to getaway. We will see. As for a guest post, sure 🙂 You can be the FIRST ever for TwinsMommy as I don’t think I’ll open my blog for guest writes like I do on my other blogs. I would be honored as I know you tell fabulous stories. Thanks for supporting my blog and helping me grow my blog.Reply to Elna
Great post, Elna! My boys are long past the toddler stage but my 9-year-old is returning to homeschooling- after I’ve built up a healthy client list while he’s been in school this year. So, I’m trying to balance it all too and I love that you addressed how the morning productivity may not be in the cards for moms with kids at home. My trick? Finding a block of 2-3 hours in the day for focused writing time. Everything administrative, including email communication, can be done during other times, but that focused block is purely for writing/researching.Reply to Vanessa
Hi Vanessa, Wow, homeschooling! You’re brave 🙂 I like your trick of finding 2-3 hours for pure work/research. For me I have to do that during the times my twins sleep so it’s very…umm disjointed 🙂 I suspect when they get older and can focus for a bit on an activity or play nicely (i.e. my daughter doesn’t come running to me every minute screaming what her brother did to her) then maybe I can do some actual client work when they are awake. For now, I’m doing what I can to be productive, but I know I need to up my game with time management. Thanks for coming around!Reply to Elna
My pleasure- you did a great job getting to the heart of the reality of making time to write alongside raising children and running a household. I’d love to read more about your rhythm- I know you’ve said you often write at night. Did it take time to develop a writing habit after a full day? As a mom, I’m absolutely wiped out by the end of the day, so I’m impressed that you’re able to channel your energy in the evenings. You must be highly motivated- it’s inspiring!Reply to Vanessa
Hey Vanessa! Thanks so much. I do most of my writing in two time periods – 2-4 pm or 5 pm and 8-10 pm. That’s when I do my client work. During the day I handle non billible tasks like email, marketing, blog topics and networking. Lately I’ve been tired at night! Some days are worse than others. But, you know what helps? Coffee 🙂 Oh, and I’m trying to do more exercise too. For me, what compromises my writing is my tendency to get carpal tunnel syndrome. Whenever I do a lot of clicking or typing on my laptop I get it. Like know, I have it b/c I’m doing soo many images and screenshots for posts!Reply to Elna
These are all excellent tips! Blocking out noise is essential to my concentration. Classical piano works wonders for me. I put together my own mp3 with relaxing nature sounds and classical piano. I have found that when I’m listening to it, I get so much more done.Reply to Deirdre
Hey Deirdre! Thanks for coming over 🙂 Blocking out noise has done wonders for my productivity. I can’t say enough about it. I love listening to my classical modern classical music. It’s a nice break between all the jibber jabber of my twins.Reply to Elna