Work@home: proven + extreme productivity tips

Working from home can be just as productive as working in an office, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

Or, alas, as nonproductive as working in an office.

To squeeze the most out of your work-at-home time, try these three proven productivity tactics. Deploy the extreme versions when you need extra motivation to stay on task.

Productivity Tactics



  • Set a deadline. Experts say you’re more motivated to get work done when your client, boss or agent expects you to turn in a project by a specific date or time.
    But setting a deadlines is small motivational potatoes, if you ask me. To really kick up your motivation, turn to the next column.


  • Set a timebomb. Watch any Hollywood action flick and you’ll see that ticking timebombs are the ultimate motivational tool. So forget namby-pamby deadlines, and get yourself a machismo motivator: dynamite, wires and timer.
    Try a DYNAMITE deadline to motivate you.

    Try a DYNAMITE deadline to motivate you.

    You’ll hear that bomb ticking, ticking, TICKING… and you’ll see from the readout that it’s going to EXPLODE in just 3 minutes, 2 seconds and counting. If you don’t want doom, death and destruction, you’d better defuse that time bomb—meaning get your work done—and FAST.

    See? Your pulse is racing already!

  • Get accountable. If you’re a sole practitioner, you might put off your own business projects since no one else will know you’ve postponed them. The solution is to bring in social accountability.
    Consider my example. I team up with Llyane, a fellow entrepreneur in Toronto. We exchange our lists of business goals for the week, and talk each Monday to review how we performed against our previous week’s business goals.
    While this works for me, I suspect it’s too b-o-r-i-n-g for someone as exciting as you. Hop on over to the next column to see what I recommend for you.
  • Get extreme accountability. Forget exchanging goals with business colleagues. You’d do well with Dr. Discipline, Madame Meanie or a really p*ssed off professional wrestler.
    Hiring a professional disciplinarian—I mean, accountability partner–forces you to get your work done… or ouch!

    angry pro wrestler

    A professional meanie ensures productivity.


  • Focus with a timer. Close your email, turn off the sound to your phone, shut your office door… and your browser. Set a timer for 15 or 30 or 60 minutes. Then work like your business or job depends on it, because it does.
    Yes, the timer technique works. Thousands of writers and others set timers to  focus on the job at hand.
    But I honestly don’t believe you need a timer. From what I hear, the tip to the right could work magic for you.
  • Extreme focus. You’ll need help for this. Before your spouse  or significant other leaves for work in the morning, have him or her strap you into your desk chair.
    Butt-in-chair is a proven facilitator for getting deskwork done. Once you’re strapped down, simply focus on your work projects. You’ll easily ignore the siren calls of unwashed laundry and errands.

    • Don’t think about the four cups of coffee and two glasses of water you drank with breakfast.
    • Definitely don’t think about those jumbo bran muffins you’ve been eating daily.
    • Don’t worry about whether your spouse or significant other will come home on time to release you. He or she will. I’m sure of it. Aren’t you?
    • Don’t concern yourself with the recent annoyances, heated arguments and long-held grievances your beloved has had with you.
      Do not dwell on how angry your spouse was--is?--with you.

      Do not dwell on how angry your spouse was–is?–with you.

      After all, your beloved surely believes in forgiving and…   umm…  what was the next part?

There you go: Follow these tips–proven or extreme–for maximum productivity at home. Enjoy!

Your turn

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below:

What is YOUR top productivity tip?


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21 Responses to Work@home: proven + extreme productivity tips

  1. mimijk says:

    Terrific advice Marie!! I especially like the visual of the time bomb for some reason..

  2. amyskennedy says:

    Hahaha! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of the timer–when I was little my mom would set a timer for 15 minutes and say, “Let’s see how much we can get done in 15 minutes!” She was brilliant (well, she still is) we would get all excited to see how much we could clean in 15 minutes, and then want to do it more!

    Thanks for the reminder, I’m using that tip for writing, and possibly Dr. Discipline.

  3. Lol, just when my pulse started raising I read: “See? Your pulse is racing already!”
    Spot on! 😉
    My favorite productivity tactic is accountability – social and with my accountability group.
    All the extreme examples made me laugh – thanks for that!

    * My tip for multi-passionate entrepreneurs: *

    I just recently created a 7 day schedule, with each day assigned to a different project or sub project. That way I don’t feel like I ‘should’ be working on all of them all the time, but can focus completely on the project at hand, without distractions for that whole day. Great!

  4. Love this!! In fact the time bomb will be the first attempt to get things done. I’m going to use it to eliminate what has been my all to consuming hobby. Procrastination.

    • Ahh, procrastination! I could have written the book on it, if only I’d gotten around to it. 🙂 However, just think of all the other things a person can accomplish while putting off those really important tasks.

  5. Marie, this is TOO funny! And as much as I’m a proponent of balance, sometimes a bit of EXTREME focus is exactly what’s needed!

    Seriously though, ever since I discovered the “timer trick” I haven’t turned back – I even bought myself a gorgeous glass hourglass with white sand to keep my butt in the chair for one-hour stretches at a time!

  6. claire says:

    tee hee, I love the the comparisons! I love to set up a “treat” for when I’ve tackled something–as to tangle my own carrot. It can be lunch out with a friend after focusing on a project in the morning, or setting up ahead of time to text a friend/accountability peep when I’ve acommplished that task.

  7. But of course: positive reinforcement! I like your thinking, claire. 🙂

  8. Patti says:

    Thanks for the humor! You really had me laughing. My productivity tip: when I get an idea, I must write immediately. Don’t shower until the work is done!

  9. Haha, great post Marie! The ticking time-bomb idea is really great. In a similar vein, whenever I use the Pomodoro Techinique, which is essentially working for short bursts (with breaks in between). When I’m working on business tasks it’s really helpful. When I’m trying to write or create on the other hand, working at a cafe (outside of home) is the only way I’ve been able to get in the zone. Thanks for this entertaining post! 🙂

  10. Funny post Marie! I like using a timer to keep myself on track, but that ticking time-bomb visual is such a good one.

  11. Love it! I’m a huge fan of using a timer, have been known to give them as gifts! Great stuff.

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