Have you ever encountered someone that seems to be able to accomplish an incredible amount of tasks within a single day? They almost seem super human because of what they accomplish each day. The ability to accomplish so much in one day is not a super power; it is simply the mastery of time management.
Time management is the act of accomplishing the most amounts of tasks with the least amount of time and effort involved. Sound impossible? It’s not, it is only a tool that can be mastered by anyone one they understand how it works.
Work from home professionals and business owners must make an effort to learn time management. While there are countless benefits to working from home, these benefits can be quickly lost when you are unable to accomplish everything that you need to each day.
As a work at home professional you already know how easy it is to become distracted. There are always projects to complete for your business; there are always chores to do around the house. The good news is that when you learn to master time management skills, you will have time for all of these things and more.
The first thing you must do is be able to understand distractions. Distractions can occur for many reasons, but the key reason they happen is your brain. When you become distracted your body actually releases dopamine into your system, the “feel good” neurotransmitter that makes you feel pleasure. Think about it, do you really need to check your email all day long? No you don’t, but you “feel good” whenever you take a break and do so.
The second reason distractions happen is because you are being interrupted by family and friends. This usually occurs when you work at home because people feel that you are always available. You can easily curb this practice by establishing work hours that you require them to honor.
The last thing that usually causes distractions is the lack of having a plan. When you are just randomly completing tasks, you easily become distracted because there is no end-goal to accomplish. Learning to set daily goals can take some time to master, but it is the only way to be successful at time management.
Understanding Your Time
Your time is your most valuable personal asset. With your time you can create a company, run a household, and pursue your hobbies. With your time you can enjoy your family, go on a vacation, or create the next industry success.
You can also waste your time by completing tasks that could easily be delegated, repeating actions that could have been accomplished once, digging through correspondence that is meaningless, or aimlessly completing tasks in no particular order.
Anyone that has read the two previous paragraphs has already decided which one of those paragraphs they want to see themselves as being described. Now the trick is learning to be a time management master
Do A Task Only Once
One of the leading causes for time waste is performing the same task several times. This may not sound like something that you would do intentionally, but most people do exactly that. As an example, think about when the mail is delivered. Do you scan through the letters and throw them in a pile on your desk for later? Then you have already wasted time.
The first time waster was when you walked to the mail to see what was delivered, even though you were not ready to accomplish anything with the mail that was received. The second time wasting action was walking to your desk to throw it in the “do later” pile.
If you are not ready to go through the mail and respond to what came in, avoid picking it up until you are ready. When you are ready, go to your desk, open one piece, respond accordingly and file it immediately. You have now mastered your time. You have taken care of the task from start to finish, no lagging piles of filing to do at some future date, no late payments due to the bill being lost on your desk and no client waiting for a response.
This method can be applied to every action that you take. Once you have learned to function in this manner, you will see how much free time you will have for the other things in your life that are important.
Make A List
You should begin every day by creating a list of the 5 or 6 most important things that you need to accomplish that day. Carry this list with you if necessary, but make sure that whatever you do that day, that list is completed by the end of the day.
When you finish your list, you will feel a sense of satisfaction. As you have already learned, the brain likes to feel happy and satisfied. This sense of satisfaction will soon become a desired part of your day, and completing your list each day will become easier.
Five or six tasks may not sound like a lot, but if you complete five tasks every day, five days a week, fifty two weeks a year, you have thirteen hundred completed tasks each year. This is an amazing amount of accomplishments, and this is above and beyond your other duties and tasks.
You should keep your task list this simple. Once you start creating lists of ten or more items, your brain registers it as hard work, and will begin to look for distractions so that it can feel good once again. Five or six tasks add up, and it keeps your brain in line with your desires.
Setting Limits At Work And At Home
You must create a work schedule and a home schedule – period. You cannot let home interfere with work, or work interfere with home. It takes patience and practice to achieve this type of time management, however, when you do master it, you will be pleased with the results.
It is easy to see that a person that accomplishes many things each day is not a real super hero; they have only mastered what they do with their time. Once you have mastered time management skills, your personal time, your creativity time, your down time, will increase and truly become your own.
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