TPP #7: Productivity While Working from Home with Ryan Wiggins

Welcome to Productive People, my blog and podcast series dedicated to learning from productive people who are smashing their goals and getting stuff done.

In this episode of The Productivity Podcast I talk to my new friend Ryan Wiggins all about productivity while working from home. Ryan has a lot going on; he home schools his daughter, he's working on a new consulting business, he writes for websites like Business Insider, Fridge Magazine, Lifehack as well as his own blog and is studying a Masters in Business Administration as well. Ryan works from home and so I wanted to tap into his tips for how to remain productive while working from a home office. Ryan has also written a very detailed blog post on the topic which you should definitely check out.

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Introduction to Ryan (2:30)

Ryan is currently living with his wife and 4 year old daughter on a little island called Nauru in the south Pacific. His time is currently split between a few big projects:

  • Starting a new consulting business with his business partner back in Australia.
  • Home schooling his daughter and keeping her entertained.
  • Studying for a Masters in Business Administration.
  • Writing for his personal blog as well as other high-profile sites.

Productivity doesn't come naturally to Ryan, but but actively trying to be productive he's able to effectively manage his time between all these things. The key takeaway here is that with just a little effort and by actually caring about being productive you can get a lot more done. You have to have that mindset and the will to want to do more.

Ryan's Time Management Process (6:15)

Ryan has a very clear list of priorities written on a Post-It notes that he keeps on his desk. These priorities are the major areas of responsibility in his life and he very clearly defines which ones are more important than others. So home schooling his daughter is top of the list and comes before everything else. This is interesting as most of us have a mental idea of what we think is important, but very rarely do we actually write down and rank the priorities in our lives. This is an excellent idea from Ryan.

Once Ryan has a clear idea of what he needs to focus on, it's time to block out time in his calendar for these things. Ryan literally schedules everything down to the minute (including when to sleep). Because Ryan has a clear list of priorities he sorts these first. So “home schooling” gets a block of time and then nothing can touch this or affect when it happens as he's already decided that it's the most important thing he needs to do.

Try taking a leaf out of Ryan's book – try writing down all your major priorities and use this as a guide when scheduling your time.

Productivity Tools (14:10)

Work Nook Ryan Wiggins

As Ryan is building a business with his partner in Australia, he relies on a couple of key tools to communicate and manage the teams work over this big distance.

  • Slack – This is Ryan's main communication tool and he uses it with his business partner to quickly chat and share ideas. They plan on using it with their clients and opening up a new stream so that they can quickly chat with their customers. Slack integrates really well with other productivity tools like Asana, Google Drive and Dropbox.
  • Asana – This is where Ryan manages his projects and plans out his workload. Because this integrates with Slack he can quickly link to tasks and projects inside Slack while talking with his business partner.
  • GoToMeeting – Instead of having to login and add contacts like you do with Skype, Ryan uses GoToMeeting to quickly create meetings and add people to a call. You add people by simply sharing a link and there's no login required.
  • Zapier – Ryan has used Zapier to link tools and apps together. For example, he was able to  export email subscribers from a signup form into a Google Drive spreadsheet and then add them to a new list in MailChimp. Zapier is a very useful tool for linking different apps together and automating different online actions.
  • Pocket – Pocket lets you save links for later. So if you find a cool article online that you'd like to read, you can quickly save it for later using Pocket and come back to it when you're ready.
  • Buffer – Ryan uses Buffer to schedule all his Tweets and Facebook posts that go out. Buffer is great as you can keep everything scheduled in a nice consistent time frame so that Tweets get posted at the times you want.
  • Bullet Journal – Ryan carries a journal everywhere and is a big fan of the bullet journal system. He finds working on a pen and paper is often one of the most satisfying ways to work.

BONUS: Check out the 5-Minute Journal for a great way to document your daily goals and achievements. You can also try out their free iOS app.

Tips for Working from Home (31:00)

The first major thing Ryan recommends is getting dressed in the morning. It's very tempting to sit around wearing your PJs on the couch while working from home. When Ryan did this he found his work wasn't as good. He found that if he looked good he felt good and when he felt good he did good things.

[ctt title=”If you look good you feel good and if you feel good you do good things – @ryanjrwiggins” tweet=””If you look good you feel good and if you feel good you do good things” – @ryanjrwiggins via @paulminors” coverup=”Ud9CR”]

Have a dedicated workspace that's yours where you do all your work. It's very easy to blur your home and work life when you're constantly in the same space. To avoid your work life overlapping too much with your home life, make sure you have this separate space which is purely for work and you don't work in your living environment.

Ryan's Morning Routine & Building New Habits (36:20)

Ryan is more of a night owl than a morning person but he is trying to change his morning routine to make it more conducive to his productivity. Ideally Ryan would like to get up early, meditate, read and have time for some exercise. But because doing all this at once is a big change, he's working on making small adjustments one at a time. So he'll start off with incorporating just a bit of exercise into his routine and commit to that before moving on to something else.

This is a much more realistic and way of building habits as it's means you can really set yourself up for success by working on small achievable goals vs. trying to make a massive change all at once.

More About Ryan

You can learn more about Ryan over at his website where he writes about building habits, productivity, leadership and culture. Be sure to follow Ryan on Twitter and get in touch with him as well.