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When I am not blogging, I am writing or editing copy for clients. I have exactly eight hours in which to get this work done.

That’s a fair amount of time, isn’t it?

Well, four of those hours are between 8am and 12pm while my four-year-old is at nursery. (I have tried working while she is at home in the afternoon and have even become adept at singing the ‘Hog Dog Song’ along with her, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto while simultaneously bashing out some copy – but frankly, it’s not ideal).

I have two other children with all manner of after-school activities and home-learning projects which I have to manage and supervise. So this realistically leaves me with four hours between the hours of 8pm and 12pm while they are all tucked safely away in bed.

I’m usually exhausted by 10pm.

My top tips for productivity?

1. Early Bird or Night Owl? : Identify when it’s your best time to concentrate on difficult tasks and use those times to be at your most productive. My best time to concentrate is in the morning, so I often arise at 6:30am to make a start on my ‘To Do’ list, check my emails and give myself a head start for the day. I use the evenings as my thinking/reading time, or will print work off to proofread.

2. Establish a routine and stick with it: I have a set routine of working on client copy while my toddler is at nursery. This is uninterrupted time which allows me to think clearly and ensures I am productive. When she is at home in the afternoon, I catch up with my social media marketing and blogging.

3. Have a strict schedule for telephone calls/meetings, etc: I always schedule telephone calls. Otherwise, everyone else has my 08450 telephone number, a virtual reception service with alldayPA, which for me is invaluable. This gives my clients the assurance that telephone messages are being taken by a real person.

4. Remain focused: It is very easy to become distracted by the ‘ping’ of text messages being delivered to your smart phone, Twitter, Facebook, or email accounts. So similar to having a set routine mentioned above, have a set time when you check your emails or catch up with your social media marketing.

5. Don’t multi-task: To some, this might sound counter-productive (and aren’t mums supposed to be brilliant multi-taskers?) Well, apparently, multi-tasking is a bit of a myth. It seems that working on more than one task at a time actually decreases productivity and the quality of your work. Speaking personally, I have found this to be true – I have plenty of burnt saucepans to prove it!

Home-working is undoubtedly a boon for many of us as working parents. Having a plan of action to ensure our time is productive, can help to minimise the stress and challenge of juggling work and family responsibilities.

What are your top tips for home-working productivity? Care to share?

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