Work From Home Time Management Tips

by WorkFromHome on October 22, 2011

Many people who work from home have found that time management skills are essential. Although it would seem just the opposite because the office is only sixty seconds away, working from home actually requires more discipline with time than in a traditional office setting. This is mostly due to the many domestic duties that are now in the same building as where you work. Landry needs to be done, the kids need to be picked up from school or the dog is upset about something. All of these things take time away from productive work. Here are some time management tips for staying focused when working from home.

Take A Time Inventory

Most people have no precise understanding of how their time is used during any given day. Before undertaking the steps below that will help with time management, take two days for logging exactly where your time is dedicated during your current routine for all waking hours. Be meticulous about logging these times into work, household, social and other major categories. At the end of the two days, you will have a very clear understanding of how you typically spend your time and where adjustments can be made for better productivity and balance.

Schedule Your Time

Making a schedule every week that clearly separates time between work, home and other areas is important for staying focused when working from home. If this is not done, it is too easy to get into a routine of thinking everything will get done by the end of the day one way or another. Unfortunately, this pattern leads to a feeling that nothing was fully accomplished at the end of a the day. Making a schedule and sticking to it is the only way to avoid this pattern. If you dedicate work time to only doing work, you will see an increase in your productivity.

Prioritize Your Work Day

All time is not equal. Depending upon whether or not you are a morning person or someone who is raising children, everyone has both peak and low times of energy during a work day. Prioritizing your tasks based upon your energy levels will help with staying focused and being more productive. Reserve the peak energy times for your most intellectually challenging tasks. Intermediate times should be scheduled for important tasks that do not require the same amount of energy. Then schedule tasks that require very little concentration during your low energy hours. Getting into this pattern will help you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each work day.

Focus On One Task At A Time

Most people who work from home have to juggle a lot of duties to make sure everything is completed. Unless the mind is disciplined differently, this leads to thinking about a lot of things at once all of the time. In order to be more efficient during working hours, train your mind to focus on only one task at a time. Remove as many distractions as possible from your office that would break your concentration and immediately dismiss any thoughts that are not about the task at hand. This takes some practice, but in the end the quality of your work will improve.

Stay Organized

Many studies have proven that disorganization in an office leads to a great deal of wasted time. It is a waste of focused work time when energy has to be spent looking for supplies, moving boxes of paper or searching for a single document through disorganized computer files. Keeping your desktop, supplies and computer files organized will allow you more time to focus only upon the task at hand. Each time you find yourself distracted by disorganization, remind yourself to correct the problem as soon as possible. Eventually, the disorganization will disappear and you will see an improvement in your work.

Take Care Of Yourself

Taking care of yourself may seem like an odd factor in time management, but the two are related. Most people who work from home do not schedule enough personal time, which eventually leads to stress and burnout. It is important to get adequate amounts of sleep and set aside time for the things you enjoy doing to relax. If you are tired and stressed, your abilities to think clearly and stay focused are weakened. Much of time management boils down to controlling time instead of letting it control you. That takes energy and there is less chance of you staying scheduled and organized if your reserves are low.

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