Monday, 14 August 2017 17:09

3 Tips for Effective Time Management

We’re always looking for more time in our days, but sometimes it’s a matter of managing the time we do have in a better way.  There are tons of time management tips out there, and they all work if we do them consistently.

Read along for some quick, best tips and practices for managing your time and busy schedule.

Write it down

Every success begins with writing something down.  We all hear time and time again that goals, schedules, and priorities should be written down - and for good reason!  When we write something down, it becomes more solidified in our minds.  Also, we can visually see what we’re supposed to do or remember.

Write down everything you can in regards to managing time.  A to-do list, schedule, calendar/planner, and any priorities that will keep you on track.  Get into the habit of writing out your day in the morning.  This will allow you to check items off as you move through the day, as well as keep you on task.  Rate your tasks by order of importance, and implement your calendar to block off periods of time for work.  It’s important to keep up with your workload as much as possible, as playing catch up can truly mess with your time management.

Look at your priorities

Where are your truly spending your time?  You might think you’re only watching TV for 2 hours per day, but if you really look at your day, it might be more like 5 or 6 hours.  It’s easy to spend time on mindless activities, so getting very clear about where your time is going is crucial.

Prioritizing also involves saying “no” sometimes, which is a powerful way to clear some time in your schedule.  Say “yes” to the things that bring you joy and time with those you love, and “no” to those that are more obligatory.  Prioritizing isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it’s crucial to saying sane and staying on task.

Add to your breaks

If you work from home, you’re lucky enough to be in your own home for most of the day.  There’s typically laundry to be done, dishes to be put away, and hutches to be dusted. Since breaks should be a part of your day, it can be helpful to use your breaks to fit in other items.

This doesn’t need to include housework, but that’s the most common task.  Throw in a load of laundry during your 10-minute morning break, fold a load of laundry after lunch, or water the garden during your afternoon break.  Most breaks can seem fairly mindless anyway, so it can make you feel more accomplished to check off those little things that need done anyway.

Published in Work from Home Tips
Monday, 13 February 2017 16:23

4 Ways to Save Time During the Week

Between being a working mom and juggling home, family, and other obligations, weekdays can be a mad rush of timing and scheduling issues.  It’s important to keep the peace as much as possible, but that’s tricky when there’s so much going on Monday thru Friday.  Read along for some best practices in saving time during the bustling workweek!

Get into a groove

Schedule and routines are helpful for everyone involved.  Start by setting a general weekday schedule that’s appropriate for the whole family.  Write out a list or calendar that features everything that needs to be done in a typical week.  From here, create your schedule for what needs done, who needs to be where, and where free time is located.

When you have a schedule that is fairly the same week-to-week, it’s much easier to handle spontaneous changes, as well as find the time that you can be more productive or spend with friends and family.  When you don’t know where your time is going, it can feel chaotic and things can begin to get missed.

Plan meals

Weekdays are characterized by work and a lot of running around, so cooking can be a time-consuming process.  To eliminate some of the time spent prepping and shopping during the week, ensure that this is done on the weekends, or a specifically designated day.

If you have several free hours on Wednesdays, maybe that’s your time to shop and food prep.  Find out what’s best for you and your schedule.  Take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to plan your meals for the week.  Utilize Pinterest and other cooking sites to find recipes or ideas, then build your shopping list and get everything done in one trip.  It’s also helpful to spend a few hours prepping the food, or at least the items that can be done ahead of time. This eliminates a lot of day-to-day thinking about meal prep, and can also save money!

Set it all up

Plan your weekends! Although weekends are typically used for family, friends, and spontaneous adventure, they can also help you a lot during the workweek.  Spend an hour or so on the weekends to set up for the week ahead.  

Create your to-do lists, schedules, meal plans, and anything else that is part of the forecast for the upcoming week.  This is a great mental exercise as well, as it keeps things much more calm and organized.

Know what you need

Sometimes saving time involves others that are available to help you.  Set up a carpool for your kids, which will give you more time to work or run errands during the week.  There are also meal exchanges, play dates, and other family set ups that give your family a break during the week.  It can be helpful to look into some of these options, especially on your busiest days.  Babysitters and caretakers are also incredibly useful to free up your time during the week.  Although it’s an investment, typically your time will be worth it to ensure that you’re able to get done what needs to be done during that time.

Published in Work from Home Tips
Monday, 30 January 2017 15:04

3 Ways to Maintain Your Schedule

As a work from home employee, your schedule is bound to be your biggest asset.  It can be easy to veer off track with all the distractions not present in a traditional workplace.  If you can stick to a schedule, you’ll be more productive, efficient, and able to stay focused on tasks.

We’ve compiled some best tips and practices to ensure that scheduling comes easy in your home based career!

Use a scheduling tool

Scheduling tools are extremely useful and eliminate a lot of the back and forth required to schedule a call or interview.  These tools work by keeping track of your calendar and noting when you’re free.  This way, scheduling a call is as easy as sending over a link, having the other person select a time that works for them, then following through with the meeting.

This also works to keep you on schedule because it forces you to track everything, and also keeps you from losing a lot of time in setting up these appointments.  Some tools that work for this include Calendly, Doodle, and Pick.

Track your time

To stay on schedule and keep moving through your to do list, tracking your time is a must!  Whether you use an Internet based calendar or a basic to do list, this is a crucial practice to begin and enforce daily.

Use some type of to do list with all of your items, including personal items.  This is helpful as a home based employee since some of your time might be used to be with family, friends, and completing any necessary errands and housework.  Of course this isn’t the case for all work from home employees, but it’s part of the benefits of a flexible job.

When you’re able to make time for everything in your schedule, in writing, you’re more likely to do it and more likely to keep pressing forward to get to everything on your list.  Even though these are incredibly helpful, do note that it’s important to make your lists as realistic as possible to prioritize and get what needs to be done.

Limit interruptions

Kids, pets, calls and people at the house - all things that can bring work to a screeching halt.  If you know you’re going into a very important call or interview, set up childcare (or pet care!) ahead of time.  You can also leave notes on your door for mail carriers to simply leave packages, as well as limiting calls to certain times of the day.

Keeping yourself on schedule is all about managing your time and using tools to keep that time flowing productively.  Do your best to schedule your days, manage distractions, and work towards as much efficiency as possible!

Published in Work from Home Tips
Monday, 22 August 2016 21:16

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.

Set intervals

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.

Multitask mindfully

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.

Eliminate distractions

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.

Published in Work from Home Tips
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 00:50

4 Tips for Time Management Success

Time management is a hot topic, especially for those of us who work from home.  It can be tough to plan your day - with kids and pets nearby and the distracting items of being at home (think TV, radio, interruptions, and so on!)  All of this can make managing time a full-time job.

Read along for some best practices in time management skills that will allow you more productivity and extra time to do the things you love.

Set your hours

As much as possible, set your work hours to remain consistent throughout the week.  If 9-5 works for you and your family, set it early and work around those times.  If 2-10 works better for your lifestyle, that might be the way to go as well.  Time management also maximizes what’s best for your lifestyle, family, and other obligations, so factor that in from the get go.

Set your time

Set an alarm or timer for each task that you complete.  If you need to do three things for one client, accomplish one, move on to the next client, and so on.  Of course, it’s necessary to designate these tasks in order of priority, but you can still set your time.

This will allow you to manage time so you’re allocating enough hours and minutes in the day for each task, helping them to get completed on time.

Multitask - to a degree

Over time, various sources have started proving that multitasking isn’t as good as it was cracked up to be; it can eliminate focus and draw your attention from what you started.

Even though multitasking gets a bad rap, you can do it in a productive manner - especially if you work from home! It’s not difficult to throw in a load of laundry, set your timer for your next task(s), and then retrieve it at the end.  While lunch is in the microwave, run the sweeper briefly.  It even becomes fun to work chores and other to do items into your time schedule.  This is yet another benefit of working from home, and it allows you to truly manage your work and home life time more efficiently.

See where your time is spent

Take a good look at where your time is currently being spent and evaluate it.  It’s not always easy, but it’s crucial to trim some time here and there, just as you would trim your budget or amend your health and fitness routine if it weren’t working.

Make sure that you’re billing your hours and accounting for all time spent on certain tasks.  When you track where your time is spent, you may realize that you’re spending more time on one task when you thought it was a quick, 30-minute item.

Time management is all about evaluating what needs done, where you’re currently spending your time, and how it can be used more effectively.

Published in Work from Home Tips

Working from home requires you to be very effective at time management. Although you may work for a company, much of your workday is still dependent on your own schedule and ability to be a self-starter.

Adding children into the mix can make this even more of a juggling act, so time management truly becomes #1. Follow these simple time management tips for work from home moms to keep you on the right (and productive) track.

Write it out

Scheduling is important, and as a work from home mom, scheduling for the whole family becomes crucial. Time and time again, people do better with time management when they see everything written out in front of them.

A solution for this is a large family calendar, either placed on a kitchen island, attached to a side door, or on the refrigerator.  Simply write out all known commitments at the beginning of each month and consult the calendar each day for a few minutes of updating. Teach every family member to consult the calendar as well, perhaps even color-coding for greater ease of use.

When everyone is in the habit of looking at the calendar and remembering commitments, it makes your days much more productive and efficient.

Delegate

Delegation is so important for work from home moms! Not only are you working, but you’re taking care of kids as well. Call upon friends and family members when you need their help, and look into programs, camps, and groups for kids when they’re home.

On the business side, especially if you have your own business or do freelance work, look into hiring a Virtual Assistant or some additional help with your busywork. There’s no shame in not doing it all, and it’s the key to reducing stress and increasing productivity.

Multitask

One of the many benefits of being a work from home mom is the ability to multitask.  You can do laundry while you work! Create a weekly plan of attack - write out your household responsibilities and job responsibilities, and add in short breaks to throw in a load of laundry or start dinner early.

This allows you to get housework done in the same time that you’re working - a double bonus!  You can really get a lot done this way, all while managing your time and having more hours in the evening to yourself and your family.

Published in Work from Home Tips