Time Management for Home-Based Business Professionals
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Clear away as much of it as you can when you switch off for the day. Effective time management is essential if you want to continue hitting your deadlines when you're working from home. Organize and prioritize key tasks with a To-Do List. It's also a good idea to have a list of "in between" tasks.
These are relatively minor jobs that should take 10 minutes or less to complete, and which you can fit into your day when a gap opens up. And don't forget to take breaks regularly. Keep tabs on how much time you spend on each task by setting up an activity log. This lets your manager know how you're spending your time.
It should also help you to see when you're at your most productive, so that you can carry out complex tasks during those parts of the day. To learn more about how to track your time, see our article, Accounting for Time. You might also like to explore our other tools on Time Management , to help you to manage your time effectively when you're working from home. To stay focused at home, you need to be in control of communication — otherwise, it might start to control you!
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Find appropriate times to "check in" with your managers and co-workers. Small problems can often be dealt with there and then, allowing you to work uninterrupted afterward. You likely need to experiment with communication in the early days of working from home. You'll want to avoid distractions, but neither should you "disappear. If possible, redirect your office phone to your personal cell, and let colleagues, customers and suppliers know how best to reach you at home. That way, you'll be able to take important calls, but switch to your message service when you don't want to be disturbed.
Finding This Article Useful? You can learn another 63 time management skills, like this, by joining the Mind Tools Club. Staying connected can be particularly challenging when other team members are also working from home. If you still find yourself losing focus when you're working from home, check that you're not trying too hard! It can be difficult to resist the urge to overcompensate for not being in the office, by working longer than you normally would, or by missing out on breaks.
There are numerous advantage to working from home. But there are many challenges, too, such as staying focused and doing your best work. Find ways to motivate yourself to work positively and productively. Highlight things that will likely distract you, and take steps to deal with them. Set up a workspace that's comfortable and appropriate for your job, and do everything you can to limit interruptions.
Organize your day as clearly as you would at the office, including allowing yourself breaks. Maximize your time by creating To-Do Lists, and by managing the distractions of home life. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your boss and other team members, but also make it clear when you don't want to be disturbed. Doing too much at home can be as problematic as doing too little! So, create "no-go" zones for work devices, take regular breaks, and have a door that you can shut on your work at the end of the day.
This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter , or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career! Expert Interviews Audio Forums Infographics.
Quizzes Templates and Worksheets Videos. They Plan a Day or Night before They spare 15 to 30 minutes at the end of the everyday to make a list of the tasks they have to do first thing in the next morning.
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Do Positive Affirmations Really Work? Therefore, every business expert asserts on the importance of planning your business activities in advance. It should. By "realistic", I mean the actual amount of time it would take, not the amount of time you WISH it would take. Once you have made that decision, then don't think about time at all and do the work.
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Thinking about time management is the biggest waste of time I indulge in, ironically! By "minimum next stage of completion", I mean a "useful element" that contributes to your working goals in some salient way.
I tend to fixate on the "end result" instead of the next stage because I am impatient, but this just creates frustration that again burns up energy that might otherwise be used to make something. Giving myself enough time to get something done, and also giving myself the permission to not feel rushed or guilty about the time it takes is what works for me.
Just like you build a strategy for everything else in your business, you absolutely must have a strategy for productivity. I workout because it makes me feel good, wakes me up, and energizes me for the rest of the day. Even when I do. When you find yourself avoiding a task it's usually because you're unclear about what needs to happen next.
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It's usually one of 3 things—find out, decide, or do. Do you need more information, make a choice, or take an action. Look at your resistance through the find out, decide, or do lens and it'll move you forward.
When we say "time management," we're really saying it's the time that needs to be managed. So instead, try thinking about it in terms of choices. An example: imagine your absolute favorite band comes to town. Or Hamilton. Something you really want to go to, but impossible to get into. But lo and behold, two tickets fall into your lap. No matter how busy you are, or think you are, if you're like me and most people, you're gonna find a way to go, right?
So start looking at everything on your task list as a series of choices. You can choose to do them, or you can choose not to do them—to defer, delegate, or delete them. A weird thing starts happening when you look at it as a choice: you wind up making better choices, simply by realizing the power was in you all along. Do the hardest thing first, every single morning. When you start your workday, tackle the task you find the most difficult to do or are most likely to procrastinate on.
When we postpone those kind of tasks till later in the day, we often get stressed about them and keep postponing them. By flipping it, you can go on with the rest of the day knowing you were productive. Even if you did nothing else, you still had a productive day. I've done this for the last 5 years of running my business and it helped us tremendously. Everyone in our company does it too and it's part of our onboarding training to teach people this concept.
Emails keep piling up, phone calls keep coming in, there are tons of to-do's: an entrepreneur's workload is enormous. Prioritizing that work is key to staying focused. The more you're able to prioritize, the more efficient you'll be. This is where Eisenhower's urgency-importance matrix comes in, forcing you to think twice before adding a task to your to-do list. Here's the how. Select those tasks that are most urgent. Ask yourself: are these equally as important? Postpone what is less urgent, delegate what is less important. And if it's none of the above: get rid of that to-do.
De-clutter your brain. You feel stressed because you have too many unfinished tasks. On a plain piece of paper, write them ALL down. Then cross out any that are not absolutely essential. Be brutal. Conquer the unfinished task.
Looking at your list, commit to completing one task a day until the list is complete. Revisit this list often! De-clutter your world. A desk or kitchen counter covered with papers and other clutter also makes you feel more stressed than you need to be. Stop, take a deep breath, and take a few hours to either toss it, file it, or take care of it. Limit or block distractions. Shut off any email, Facebook, or Twitter alerts each morning until your most important tasks are complete.
Process all of those communications in scheduled blocks. Act with purpose. When was the last time you actually wrote down your purpose in life, or your top priorities?