Increase Productivity – Working From Home

If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to increase how much you can get done in your day. But sometimes that’s at the expense of our sanity as a small business owner.

We push and push to produce more, market more, sell more. And we often start neglecting other things that are vital to our lives outside of our business like ourselves, our relationships, our kids, etc.

how to increase productivity when working from home

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So let’s take a look today at how to increase our productivity without sacrificing our entire day to our business.

Here are 3 tips to increase productivity in your home-based business.

Manage disruptions and distractions

We have so many things coming at us non-stop in our daily lives. Media of one kind or another is always playing somewhere nearby.


Turn off the ringer on your phone – except for emergencies. (Yes, there’s a setting for this.)

Jumping to the phone ding can derail you if you are working on a current order or project, writing a blog post, creating a video, etc.  I have read about this one over and over again in business articles.  How our phone’s chirps can really mess with our daily productivity.


Did you know that on average it takes about 20 minutes to get back on track when interrupted?  So that 5 minute task now ended up being 25-30 minutes. DANG IT! Put the phone down! That buyer will still be there in 10 minutes when you are done stringing the beads on the necklace.

The tv may be on when you’re kid’s are home. Kids shows on YouTube drive me up the wall! I can’t even think when I hear some of the “gaming” and “entertainment” YouTube channels. So loud, so obnoxious, etc.


We, literally, have a rule in the house that the living room tv has to be on 4 or lower. Otherwise it echoes through the entire house. – It’s a love-hate relationship with my vaulted ceilings. We also record for our YouTube channels as well so the added noise is hard to block out completely when the kid’s have their devices turned up.

Social media

Maybe you’re even interrupted by social media notifications. How many times have you gone to check a Facebook, Instagram or TikTok notification only to find yourself sucked down the rabbit hole that is social media and wake up from it 2 hours later having accomplished nothing in your business during that time?

I’ve done it myself. When you suddenly ask yourself, “What did I get on here to do?”

At this point, you’ve completely forgotten that you originally got on their to make a post to your social media account for your business. Instead, you’ve lost hours of time in your day. It’s like when someone sleepwalks at night and wakes up standing in front of the wide-open refridgerator saying, “How did I get here?”

iphone screen

I’ve found that using a social media scheduler helps me stay off the platforms and actually get the post created that I intended to. No more social media rabbit hole.

You can check out my top list of social media marketing schedulers here.


If you have kids, you know what I mean about family being a distraction. This is especially true if you are self employed and have a home-based business.

Don’t get me wrong. One of the reasons I stopped working in my corporate job was to stay at home and raise my kids, not let a babysitter do it.

I fully understand that little ones need our attention. And it’s our job as parents to raise them. Not society, not schools, not social media, not tv.

My son was the easy one. He could just play quietly in the same room with me for hours. He just needed me close by.

My daughter, on the other hand, needed to be glued to my hip. She was always climbing on me, wanting to play, etc. It was a real struggle some days.

But, I decided, for those few years she would be home before starting school, that I had to be a parent first and a business owner second.

I get that not everyone will agree here, and that’s ok.

Managing expectations when working from home

For me, I had to choose my daughter over running my business. I made some strategic shifts to more digital products during that time period. Things that didn’t require me to spend my entire day creating physical products and shipping them out.

We did see a decline in our revenue during that time. It was inevitable that the income would change. I was essentially letting my business run itself while I raised a child.

This simple change, however, made working from home much easier. I have the free time to play, braid hair, go to the pool and more while still earning an income. I just had to make some changes in how I ran my business at that time.

Once she started school, I had so much more free time that I created another business! Yes, I’m a serial entrepreneur.

In fact, I’ve created several businesses since she started school only a few years ago. But, having had kids, I now understood how I needed to structure my businesses to work around our lives while still providing an amazing income for our family.

This is exactly why as our kids got older, we taught them that running our own businesses does mean that sometimes we need to work even when they’re home. And they understand that now. (When they were really little, that meant some late nights for me working, though, after they went to bed.) This is especially true during the summers when school is out. And that instead of working a “normal” job like other parents, we worked from home and that came with slightly different schedules.

Our kids have learned do much from us running our own businesses right in front of them, though. They’ve learned what it means to earn a dollar, life skills, work skills, how money works, time management skills, adapting and being flexible, working with others, etc.

Working from home is great in that I can easily shift gears, setting something aside to help our kids and return back to it later. I love the flexibility that being self-employed provides, even though my days come with a few more distractions in the end.

Create a daily schedule

There are many ways to create schedules in your daily life to help help you stay on track and on task. But it’s also helpful in that it takes away what’s called decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is what happens when we slowly lose our ability to make decisions quickly because of the high amount of decisions we need to make in a single day. Each chose we make slows our minds down when making the next decision.

I’m usually really jung-hoe when I start writing but two hours later, I’m starting to slow down trying to decide how I want to work things. It’s all decision making. Each word I type on this screen.

calendar and coffee cup

Same goes in your business. If you are flitting from one activity to the next, you’re never really focused. You don’t know what to do next, you stand there trying to figure out what tasks have to be done, in what order just to get through the day and keep all the business plates spinning.

If you’re creating a schedule that you stick to, it becomes routine. Just like exercising, when you make it a routine, it’s just part of what you do everyday. No thought required. Routines save you time, money and mental space.

Here’s a printable daily planner to help keep you on track.

daily planner on ipad

Try time blocking

You can also give time blocking a try to help you be more productive when you really need to work even with the family around. Time blocking is used to stop the disruptions and keep you focused during a specified time frame.

When you use time blocking, you are setting aside a specific time to complete a specific task. You may during this time need someone to watch your kiddos. You may need a dedicated workspace where you can close the door, blocking out the noise so you can focus on the task at hand.

When that time is up, it’s time to move on.

I know that’s not always possible and that plans can change at a moment’s notice. I have kids and a family. Our kids were home with me every day so I am the master at multitasking. But studies show that you’re less productive if you’re multitasking.

Sometimes, I just need to focus. Sometimes, this works best when my spouse is home or with a really good kiddo activity that helps keep them entertained.

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For those with little ones… make sure to spend time with them.  Please don’t forget this. You can grow your business at anytime. You’re kids will grow up without you if you aren’t mindful of it.

Get into a daily routine

A simple fix that can work is creating a daily schedule like I mentioned above.  Getting yourself and your kiddos used to working at certain times of the day gets them used to the daily flow of activities and makes it easier to manage your busy day. And cuts down on sudden temper tantrums. Believe me.

Even a simple, “You only have 5 minutes left,” can drastically impact how you’re child responds to changes in your routine.

I’m a big fan of using alarms in the morning before school. One warning alarm. One get in the car alarm. My kids hear them and know what needs to be done next. If we make it to the 3rd alarm, they know they better be running for the garage because they’re late.

Sample work day for work from home parents.

An example morning routine with kids at home could be as follows.

  • Get little Suzy up at 7 a.m., getting dressed, brushing hair
  • Eating breakfast at 7:30 to 8.
  • Then, transition to reading books at 8 to 8:30 with Mom.
  • Next, on to an age-appropriate activity from 8:30 to 9:30. – You work from your laptop.
  • Then, 9:30 to 10:30 play time with Mom.
  • 10:30 to 12 nap time (I hope you have nappers, I did not!) – You create, pack and ship orders. Work on your business.
  • Wake up and eat lunch.
  • Then, repeat another after-lunch schedule similar to the morning schedule and so on.
  • Rinse and repeat.
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It might also help with little ones to spend one-on-one time with your child first before trying to work. Devoted time, not distracted time, focused solely on your child for at least 30 minutes to an hour.  They then are full of mom’s (or dad’s) love and affection and feel secure in going off to do other things on their own.

Then, you can transition into craft time or an educational video.  Mommy’s crafting (work) time, kiddo’s crafting time, etc. My daughter’s craft table is right next to my work tables. Her things just have to try to stay in her space. We’re working on that. Another one of those life skills we’re learning. LOL.

Fun, crafting and learning activities for kids

My daughter loves watching anything crafty like Creative Galaxy (give her some paper, markers, etc. and she’s off creating right along with Arty) and fun educational shows like DIY SCI

(Check out DIY SCI if your kids like science!!!  Steve Spangler’s a former science teacher and teaches all kinds of cool science experiments.  Even our older son watches it with her.)

We built this into our daily lives. Devoted time to our children. Then this activity. Then that one. And then… You get the point.

Just like parents typically have a bedtime routine for their kids. Create daily schedule routines as well.

Now that your little one is intrigued with their own activity (or napping), you can get some quality work time in without you feeling frustrated or your child feeling neglected and starved for attention.

Time blocking would still have to be flexible and fluid if you have kids around, but works great for also training young kids to focus on their own for a little bit (a much needed skill in today’s world of technology, social media and other distractions).

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BONUS – take one of those time blocks and use it to make your family feel even more connected to you.  Not all daily tasks have to be work-focused. Take a mommy-toddler power nap, if needed.  Who doesn’t like snuggling?  You can also take one of those time blocks to snuggle with your spouse too while watching a show together on the couch or just have a relaxing conversation on the deck to enjoy the sunlight and unwind a bit.

Keeping a schedule will bump decision fatigue to the curb, keep your kiddos happier and getting time with mom and dad and you sane.


Hi. I'm Melissa Talbott. Long-time seller on Etsy since 2013 with multiple shops on Etsy and several other E-commerce websites. I enjoy helping makers and small business owners create profitable businesses they love that also provide an income that supports their families on their terms.

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