How To Best Manage Your Time When You Are New To Working At Home
Time management is one of the most important and critical aspects of working from a home office. If you’re not careful deadlines can be missed or you could end up working late in to the night to get the work done. I’ve been working from home for ten months now and I’d like to share with you some of the time management methods I’ve used which help me work effectively and in a timely fashion.
The Day Plan:
Whilst your computer is starting up in the morning and you’re preparing your coffee, think about the day ahead and what tasks need to be completed. Perhaps it would be advantageous to write down a plan on a note pad; it’s important to schedule your time for the day ahead. This lays down the tasks for the day and you can score them off as you go along.
Your schedule is one of your most important tools to manage what is required and when. There’s a few ways of doing this; you can do it the old-fashioned way and write on a calendar which is fine, but if alterations are needed it can be messy. The method that I would advise is to use your computers outlook software in conjunction with your email. I find it the best way as calendar invites and tasks can be sent back and forth between yourself and management and existing ‘events’ can be altered by either party. I would also recommend you print off your weekly schedule at the start of the week and place it somewhere on your desk for easy viewing.
It is important to establish a solid daily routine and keep to it – just as someone with a standard 9 – 5 would. Of course you can have flexibility but not too much. Working from home offers up all different kinds of distractions from family, friends, cold callers and delivery men to name a few but you must ensure that work time is work time and let this be known.
Having designated breaks is essential during a busy working day to avoid stress, strain and headaches and to keep the mind focused. I normally have a 15 minute break in the morning, a half hour lunch break and another 15 minute break in the afternoon. It is important to give yourself a well-earned screen break to grab a coffee or read the paper – try to get yourself away from your desk.
Unless you’re using social media for work purposes it’s best to stay clear. A lot of valuable time can be squandered on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. If you feel you have to access these during the day, only do so during designated work breaks. If you feel you don’t have the will power alone to stay away from social media you can download a free site blocker application for your web browser.
When you’re closing in on a deadline and time is off the essence, try logging out or making yourself ‘invisible’ on your instant messaging application, close down your email and either turn your phone off or put it in silent mode. Doing these simple actions will reduce the potential distractions around you and enable you to be more productive under pressure.
These tips help me stay focused and “on-task”. What things have you tried to help you?
Gould Design, Inc.