Many people who are new to working from home, have an adjustment period, getting organized and managing their time. Myself, it took me about 11 months to find what works for me. Honestly, I believe I’m still fine-tuning it,
How to manage your time working from home, some say it is a skill. Something that can be learned over time. I feel, time management, for me, is always changing. I mean, your work and tasks, etc. change, and one schedule does not fit all.
However, it is essential if you want to be productive and successful!
Believe it or not, time management benefits you! Time management helps you in all areas of your life.
- Fewer Problems
- Flexible to Work Around Your Schedule
- Frees Up Your Time
- Improves Your Life
- Less Stress
- More Productive
These are just a few. For more benefits, check out my article, “What’s so Awesome Working from Home!” The truth!!
A workspace is more important than you’d realize. Organizing a place you can call your own is vital. To be productive, here are a few suggestions that can get you on your way.
You want your office to be enjoyable. If it’s a place you don’t like or aren’t comfortable in, you’ll probably not use it and go to work elsewhere. My office is pretty much anywhere I go. I use a program that keeps me organized, and it keeps everything in one place. If I were to jot it down, more than likely, I would be unable to read it. As I’ve gotten older, and arthritis has messed with my fingers, my writing is awful and not always easy to read. Not to mention, it can be painful to write. Using a fat pen helps, but Trello works best for me. I’ll leave a link below.
Some say that having an office will help you be productive and more willing to work. I’ve considered turning a back bedroom into an office, but I honestly don’t know if I’d use it. Besides real life and work leaves me little time, for now anyway, to take on another project.
Be sure to make this office your office. Decorate it how you want. Put pictures on the wall. Place photo’s of your family on your desk. Personal touches make your office feel cozy and warm.
I will be writing an article about setting up your first home office soon. So be sure to bookmark my site & keep checking back.
Having a comfortable chair sure makes a difference. Some prefer just a regular comfy office chair. While others go for the ergonomic chair, each person is different. Just keep in mind that if it’s not comfortable, you will be less likely to use your office and find a comfy chair to work in.
Since your at home, a door works best from keeping you free from the distractions and chaos that tends to go on in most households. If your kids are grown and gone, or you live alone, don’t turn on the television or radio. I’ll confess I am bad at that, but I have been working on it and getting a tad bit better and more focused. More productive.
Let those that are in and out of your household know that you are working, and you’d appreciate not being disturbed. Silence your phone or put it on ‘airplane mode. Adding a ‘work’ phone helps, cause you can let the answering machine pick up the house calls, while you’re taking care of what’s essential to your business by answering your calls from potential clients. Close all windows on your laptop/computer. Including your email. If that’s a common way for you to do business, pick times that you’ll check your email throughout the day. The reasons for eliminating all these distractions are so you can focus and be more productive.
Anything that would distract you from your work should be avoided or removed.
Taking breaks is also extremely important. You would generally take breaks at a 9 to 5 job. Why not when you’re working from home. During these times, you can answer your texts, or make personal calls, etc.
Implementing organizational skills is another crucial tool if it’s productivity your wanting. And let’s face it if you want to make a passive income working from home, one must be organized. This can also help in improving your reputation. What happens when word gets out that we’re not only good but efficient and friendly too.
Each person has a different idea of organization. Depending on each person as well as what kind of work they’re in. Another example of one size does not fit all.
Make sure that your desk suits your needs. Make sure your office is big enough to keep it organized. You don’t want to have to hunt for the stapler or those essential invoices. That consumes valuable time that you can be spending on something else that makes you productive.
I’m a stickler with everything having its place. It drives me crazy if what I’ve been keeping in one place is removed. Cause, yet again you’re wasting time trying to find it. And that can be very frustrating too, causing your stress level to go up.
At the end of your business day, take a few minutes to straighten up your desk/workspace. It gets you ready to jump into work the next day and get straight down to business. Organizing your tasks makes your day ‘flow,’ and you’re not trying to do several things at once.
I can not multi-task, because I wind up getting nothing done while others have no problem multi-tasking. For me, it is a distraction. I’m one that needs to do one thing at a time till completion and then move on to the next task. Or maybe it’s time for a break. LOL 🙂
You could also use this time to write down your to-do list for the next day or next time you plan to work. Some people prefer to start their day by writing their to-do list. Whichever works best for you. I prefer to start it that night, leaving it open to add to it the next day. I think it is an essential key to time management. I used to set a timer for each task, but that distracted me, so I no longer use it. But for some, it may work.
Do you have time during the day when you seem more focused and productive? Then that’s the time you should work your business hours around. I am good in the late morning, into the afternoon. I’m more awake, fresh, alert, and focused. And I can get my chores done before starting work. I try to start earlier so that I can be done with work by the time Tommy gets home.
Also, don’t forget to make yourself accountable! Set those goals and make a plan. If you have to break them down into baby steps, then do it. And when you reach a goal, treat yourself to a little something. It’s only fair to reward yourself for working so hard.
Remember to Take Care of You
You’ll be no good to anybody or task/project/etc. If you don’t remember what’s important, you! If you neglect yourself, being focused and productive will become challenging to do. Many forget to take lunch, so set a timer every day to remind you to take a lunch break. Eat a healthy lunch or dinner. Refuel your body and brain. And if you have to set a timer to remind you to take breaks, then do it.
And remember you have a personal life too, it’s just as important to have a balanced work/life. Not doing so can result in burnout. When I first began working from home, I did just that. And I did absolutely nothing for about 2 1/2 months. I used to work 12 to 16 hour days, and usually 6 or 7 days a week. Now I’ve cut it down to about 9 hours. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Often depends on what deadlines I have. But time management helps you keep up with deadlines, so another plus to implement time management. 🙂
It’s just as important to have days off. We all need that time for ourselves and our loved ones. Again, not taking days off can lead to burn-out. Until I experienced it myself, I did not know how crippling ‘burn out’ could be. I could sit with my laptop in my lap for two hours and was unable to do a thing. I don’t want that ever happening again.
A Few Other Tips
Making a schedule is just as important. Your schedule could also change, but you’ll always be tweaking it along the way as needed. My Trello is great for this. But I allow myself to deviate from it if need be. But it helps me to keep on track. And that can be a big issue for me if I don’t keep it in check.
I’ve heard where putting on clothes gets one in the mindset to work. And that may be true for some. I know a lot of folks that like working in their pj’s. That is a perk to working from home. Me, it’s usually shorts and a top. I’m comfortable, and if someone would drop by, well I’m not in my pj’s.
The same is true about shoes. If it works for you, go for it. I’ve always preferred being barefoot. Shoes tend to make me hot. And I usually wind up kicking them off.
You can find software that can help you with time management, to-do lists, schedule, goals, etc. Here are just a few links I know of. Not all are free, but if you can fit it into your budget, some are worth it. And most have a trial period, so you can see if it’s software that will suit you and your business. A lot of these programs are used for collaborating with co-workers. But you can make it work for how you need it.
Trello – that I mentioned above. It suits me just fine. For example, I can add a ‘card’ with keywords for my article. Add a title; research/read other articles. I often add links that I can look back on to refresh my memory. Each card I include all of what I need to write one article. When I go to write that article, I move it, my “needs links added.” Then from there, I will move it to the “add content” board. And finally, when I’m done with my article, I move it to my ‘completed’ board. By doing this, it helps me stay on track. If I have to stop writing in the middle of an article, I know where I left off at as well as it helps me to measure my progress and see that I am productive.
- Dropbox Business – If you’ve not already seen this, this is an excellent tool. I used it when I made graphics for creative teams. Great for sharing files, no matter what size. A great collaboration tool too. And it is a secure way to store data as well.
- Evernote – I hear this is a terrific tool to use. I have tried many times to use this app without any success. I cannot figure it out, which frustrates me to no end. I guess it’s just smarter than me. LOL Your notes, organized, effortlessly. Focus on what matters most to you and your business. They claim you can manage everything. Personal records to project notes. Jot down ideas, Using your voice, or pictures. Never lose track of deadlines for your tasks, etc. Another use from anywhere tool.
- Focus Booster – Powerful productivity boost. I’m going to have to check this one out! They claim no more procrastinating. Oh, I’m checking this out! LOL 🙂 You can track time. You will achieve more. And understand how you use your time. Stay focused. Improve your productivity. It all helps with your goals.
- Mind42 – “Is a free online mind mapping software. In short: Mind42 offers you a software that runs in your browser to create mind maps.” I’m not quite sure what a ‘mind map is. But it does seem intriguing. They claim you can use it to brainstorm and create to-do lists. This program/app is entirely free to use. Free is always good! 🙂 You can share mind maps with others.
- Monday – I tried it but had already gotten used to using Trello, so I passed on it. I believe this is another collaborating program. But I’m sure you could make it work for you. They claim a new way to manage your work.
- My Life Organized – by Smead. You can buy files, folders, organizational boards, and more. It seems to be a very intense program. And most likely for a more significant business. But it may be able to be tweaked to use for a smaller business
- Rescue Time – This helps with that life/work balance. If you struggle in this area, this may be worth checking out. They claim that you can set alerts. Log in to what work you accomplished each day. Track how much time you spent on tasks,i.e., emails, business phone calls, meetings, etc.
- Remember the Milk – This one reminds me of an app you can download onto your phone. The smart to do a program for busy people. They claim this program will tell you of your to do’s. And you can get reminded anywhere. You can share these lists with others, which helps things to get done faster. Syncs with all your devices too.
- SyncBackFree – by 2BrightSparks, just as the title, you can sync and back up files. A critical, intensive program is this something you often do for your business.
- Time Sheets by QuickBooks – Simplify your business and saves money! By reading what this does, it would work best5 for those that have multiple employees. Or if you’re paying yourself, you can track your hours. They claim it can be used on your mobile phone too. Virtually anywhere. Scheduling, overtime, reports, andiIntegrations.
This list can go on and on; I just wanted to list a few that can get any entrepreneur going in a productive and successful direction. I may add to the list if I come across helpful programs. So, once again, bookmark my blog so that you can check back occasionally.