7 Top Tips for Time Management
Time management is a hot topic these days. Between family, a social life, and a career, it can be tough to make it all work. When you work from home, you’re also balancing home activities, chores, and possibly kids as well, making it a delicate balancing act!
Read along for some tips and best practices to ensure that you’re being as productive as possible – while staying sane and making time for what’s important.
Organize your computer
When you work at a computer all day, you want it to look nice! Just as we keep our houses clean to keep mental clutter limited, your workspace is the same way. Be sure to close unused tabs and try not to keep things running in the background. While this can be convenient, it slows you down by distracting you and slows down your computer with all the processing power.
One at a time
Settle into one task at a time! It’s tempting to open numerous tabs and begin flying through your work, task by task, but it’s not overly efficient. Take the time to do one task at a time and you’ll find that you’re giving it much more focus and attention.
It’s been said again and again that working on a task for more than 90 minutes at a time is futile. Work on one task for a set time, such as 15-90 minutes before taking a break or moving on to something else.
It’s also important to set intervals to get up and take a break! Time management is also closely tied to productivity, and you’re much more productive after taking a short break and coming back refreshed.
It’s fine to throw in a load of laundry during the day – it’s one of the perks of working from home! However, if you do housework every few minutes, you’ll never accomplish your work. Take breaks throughout the day and schedule chores as needed. For example, toss in a load of laundry in the morning, do the dishes on your lunch break, and take your pup for a walk during your afternoon break. Not only do you get more done this way, but you aren’t disrupting your work time and you’re taking mini-breaks – a great mental management tool!
Say your schedule
Put your weekly schedule on your family calendars and let your friends and family know when you’re working. It can be tempting to get out of the house at every chance when you’re a home based worker, but it’s important to get your work done too.
Another way to “say your schedule” is to know when to say no and be able to prioritize accordingly. While it can be tempting to accept every role, event, and project possible, it’s not always in the best interest of your bigger goals or family life.
Get the right tools
Whether it’s client management system or a simple to-do list in Google Docs, figure out what works for you and stick to it. Another important feature is a calendar that’s kept up to date and synced to your phone as well. This is also important for mapping out deadlines, staying on task, and prioritizing what’s most important.
While it’s not always possible to eliminate each and every distraction if you have a house of kids and/or pets, you should have a plan in place for keeping them occupied during work hours. Whether you hire a babysitter, choose daycare or play dates for a part-time schedule, do whatever is needed to stay on task during work hours.
If you have an important call, be sure to arrange childcare and/or go to a quiet place so that dog barking and other noises won’t interrupt important business. Of course this is not possible 100% of the time and most clients and employers know this, but do your best to establish boundaries and arrange for quiet working time when you need it the most.