You might not think you need time management tips if you’re working from home. Why would you? Working at home is great! It’s flexible, there are often fewer distractions than at the office (though that depends on your home) and it can be easier to be productive and focused.
There are downsides, however, to working at home: that freedom, flexibility, and lack of accountability from the person sitting next to you at the cubicle can make it very tempting to start doing things that maybe aren’t so important. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself gardening or vacuuming when you should be preparing that client slideshow or writing the documentation for the new hire that’s coming in on Monday, and you’ll be wondering what went wrong when you’re up at 3 AM Sunday night trying desperately to finish your task.
And that’s when you’ll wish you’d read our top time management tips. So save yourself the heartbreak and read on!
1) Prioritize your work tasks
This is #1 and the most important of the time management tips we can give you. All that home stuff that needs to get done? It can only get done if you complete the highest priority tasks on your list. Prioritizing your tasks throughout the day ensures that you won’t get distracted by moving from task to task with only the vaguest of chances of finishing any of them.
2) Establish a work space
This is critical. You need a space in your home that feels like an office, and where you do work- and nothing else. You may not have space for a true home office, and that’s alright, but you need to delineate a space that is productive. If you have to take over the kitchen or dining room table, make sure it’s exclusively for work- no watching YouTube or Netflix!
3) Wake up at a regular time
This might not seem like it belongs in a list of time management tips, but it’s crucial to getting your day in order. How can you schedule your day if you don’t know when you’ll wake up? So resist the urge to hit the snooze button and get up at the same time every day, even if you’re working from home. It’ll help both your energy levels for the day as well as help dispel any procrastination you might be feeling.
4) Set rigid time limits
Working at home makes it easy to lose track of time. Don’t just sit at your desk / table and say “okay, I’m getting this done today”. That’s vague and unhelpful. Say “I’m going to work for four hours on this project.” By setting yourself a time limit, you’ll push yourself to be more efficient and productive in the time allotted to you, even if you have to revisit the task the next day to finish it.
5) Allow space between tasks
This one might seem like the most counter-intuitive of the time management tips here, but it’s true: allow yourself some breathing room between one task and the next! Rushing from task to task will drain you and actually make you less productive than you would be. In-between tasks, stand up and take a break for at least 10 minutes. Whether that’s a walk, a cup of coffee, or simply looking away from your screen, that break will help you re-focus and re-energize for the next task at hand.
Working at home is great. It’s flexible and allows you not to have to make the same mind-numbing commute every day.
It’s also fraught with possibilities for wasting time if you’re not careful. But you are now. Go forth, equipped with our time management tips, and be as efficient and productive (or even more so) than you ever were at the office!