Time Management Tips for Working From Home
With more and more start up businesses trying to keep costs down, many people are working from home whether it is turning a bedroom into a home office or using the kitchen table. However, keeping your productivity and focus high while working at home can be a challenge for many of us as working from home can hold many distractions. As someone who has worked from home for the last four years, I’d like to share some tips that I find work for me.
Working from home can be distracting – from a family member coming in and asking if you would like a cup of tea to wondering if you should rescue the clothes from the line as the clouds darken! As someone who sought professional help three years ago for my time management, I eventually feel equipped to pass on those tips that I found worked best for me.
The to-do list can seem never-ending and the feelings of achievement never live up to their potential as the list doesn’t diminish. Create a ‘closed list‘ from the to-do list each day by prioritizing the jobs that need to be done and the feelings of satisfaction will come when the completion of the closed list is achieved.
- Some people use techniques such as Pomodoro (slots of 25 minutes) to ensure they are not distracted and remain on task. I prefer deciding on a length of time for each task or a number of tasks and sticking to it. If it needs 15 minutes longer than I originally thought, then it may be more beneficial to finish it off rather than moving to the next task and coming back to it later.
- It is very easy to be distracted by your inbox or social media sites such as facebook. Try to check your inbox at regular slots during the day but not too often as it just eats into your time. Using a timer on your phone will prevent you spending too long on twitter and facebook too as ten minutes can fly by on those social networks.
We all have tasks that we dislike doing (mine are VAT returns and filing). We can outsource those tasks or find a way that makes them manageable. Rather than saying ‘I will finish xxx today’, I find it easier to factor in an hour or two on a dreaded task and then feeling I achieved x amount in that hour.
How do you prioritise your to-do list? You should be focusing on those tasks that produce revenue – some tasks will produce revenue by a nearby date whereas others will be in the future. Some will reward with revenue directly, others will be indirect.
This bloggertone post may raise my profile, it may inform others about my business but it is unlikely to generate income for me today or tomorrow, hence I must ensure that other tasks completed today produce revenue that will deliver in the short term. For example, sending press releases takes time and will indirectly lead to income in the future, an important task that needs to be completed but you also need to be factoring in tasks that bring in money this month.
By know how much money you need to bring in each day/week/month, it will help you to achieve/surpass that amount.
Owl or Lark?
One of the beauties of working from home is that you don’t have to work 9-5 every day. You are saving time on not having to commute to and from work. The downside is that you may often be working at midnight. If you are a lark, it is likely that you are very focused in the mornings and gain that sense of achievement early on in the day.
If you are an owl (like me) it can be difficult to get started and remain focused. Getting out into the open for a walk as early as possible helps to set the body clock and awaken the senses, thus preparing you for a more productive working day. Do not work too late into the evening either as it will affect your sleeping pattern.
Don’t forget to celebrate those achievements and reward yourself – be it making a large sale, landing a good contract, achieving some press coverage or finishing a task you dislike. Making all the rewards chocolate related though is not a good idea!
Have some fun accessories in your workplace, some family photographs at the very least. They can act as mind-boosters rather than as a distraction.
Do you work from home? Are you empathising with some of the things I have said? I’d love to hear what has worked for you in terms of improving your focus.