Working from home has numerous benefits, but it can also be very challenging. Managing your time, maintaining a productive environment, free from distractions and one that works for you and not against, you can be tricky! However, the benefits of taking the time to organize your time are endless!
Let´s look at a few ways you can optimize your work space at home.
The first step is to be aware of how you currently spend your time……what takes up most of your time?
What habits are productive and which ones are unproductive? After understanding how you are spending your time, you can then strategize on how to maximize our days. These questions may help you to get a clearer idea.
How do you decide what to work on during the day?
- How do you keep track of your projects, tasks and other to-do’s?
- How much time do you spend multitasking each day?
- How often do you check your email/spend time on social media, etc?
If you are still not sure, use a time tracker – write down briefly where most of you time goes everyday and how long it takes to complete your tasks, etc
Now that you are aware of how you currently spend your time, to improve on it, ask yourself –
- Am I optimizing the time I have or wasting it?
- What tasks am I doing that I don’t need to be doing?
- What tasks am I spending too much time on?
- What tasks am I not doing that I need to be doing?
- What changes do I need to make?
- Am I planning and prioritizing so I am clear on what needs to be done every day?
Take your ideas and implement them!
Two Big Time Wasters
Do you find yourself checking your email every 10 minutes? This not only wastes time, but you lose focus on what you are doing and you are reinforcing a bad habit. Unless your work revolves solely around email of course! Schedule time during your day to check your email, maybe 4 or 5 times, whenever you need to. To feel less stressed about it, you could even add an automated message to your email ¨I only check my email 4 times a day, if it is urgent, please phone me¨. This way you can focus on other income generating tasks and deal with your email on your own time!
How do you manage your emails?
Simply checking your email and not organizing it, is wasting time too. Once you have read an email, you must delete it, file it, delegate it or put it on your list of things to do; leaving it in your inbox is inefficient.
Do you find yourself networking 2 to 3 hours a day, getting lost connecting and communicating?
With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+, more and more time is spent on these networks, and for very good reasons too, but your time spent on these tasks still need to be managed.
In your planning, include time for social media, focus 100% and be present for that time but when it is over, you must continue with other work. You can spend an hour and a half every day, but break it up to fully understand what you will be doing in that hour and a half. For example:
- 1 hour every day – 15 each minutes on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+
- 30 minutes – Blogging and commenting on other peoples blogs
Social Media needs to be included as a task, performing that task with 100% focus but moving on to other tasks after your allocated time has been spent.
Two Big Productivity Killers
Distractions and Interruptions at home
How can you reduce or remove your distractions and interruptions at home?
Children, the cleaner, home tasks, animals, phones…what distractions and interruptions do you have that you know take away your concentration and focus more often than not? Identify and clear your space of all distractions and interruptions. Distractions are the things that you decide to give attention to and interruptions are things that happen to you. If you are always distracted or interrupted, you spend more time on the task, you lose focus, sometimes motivation to complete it and you are jeopardizing the quality your work.
Doing everything yourself
How much of your working day is spent on home tasks?
Sometimes your time is better spent doing something else and getting somebody to do things for you. Working from home, you may be tempted to do the washing yourself, shopping, cleaning. Would it be more profitable if you employed somebody to do that for you and you spend that time looking for clients, networking, bringing in money? This is also true for outsourcing, perhaps you need to do something that you are not very skilled at, so it takes hours, when you could easily pay somebody else to do it and free up so much time?
When you are planning how you spend your time, always prioritize and do the tasks that will bring you the most return on your time!
Don´t forget that by taking time out to manage your time, saves you much more time in the end!
Kirstin O´Donovan is a Productivity Coach – Get your Free E-Course – 7 Simple Strategies to Triple Your Productivity” – www.topresultscoaching.com