The hardest thing for any of us to do is to tame time. When you work from home, this task gets even more daunting. Here are three big tips to help you manage your work schedule when home is also the workplace.
It’s All Relative
Time passes at the same rate day in and day out but the perception of it is vastly different from event to event. When we are engrossed in an activity, two hours can pass like 20 minutes. On the other hand, a difficult task can take an hour and feel like you spent three on it. Because of the relativity, it can be hard to gauge how much time you are actually spending on an activity.
Clocks work but can be more of a hindrance. Like a watched pot never boils, a watched clock doesn’t seem to tick off the time. It takes compromise to get it all done and with a modicum of success each day. Just finishing your list of important tasks can be a blow for freedom.
Be realistic. When there are small kids at home and a household to run, time won’t flow as smoothly as it might have if you were miles away in an office building. Certain allowances need to be made to achieve the balance you need and business success you seek. This might mean shortening the blocks of time in which you work and lengthening the time spent on other tasks. If it results in more getting done, then it’s all good.
Three Tips for Managing your Time when Working from Home
Remember that all households are different. What works best for your family might be disastrous for another. With that in mind, these tips are valuable but also general to fit into any dynamic.
1. Start with a plan – Spend the last 30 minutes of each work day planning for the next one. If you plan to work six hours a day at your business, decide on the most important tasks that need to be completed and concentrate on those. Understand that there will be interruptions (if there are small kids) so work around them accordingly. When there is a goal in mind, you are better able to track progress.
2. Schedule time wasters – What are we talking about here? Some activities can start out well but turn into sinkholes – checking emails, updating social media pages and handling administrative tasks. Assign time throughout the day for each. Any emails that come in after that will have to wait for the next allotted time slot.
3. Keep set hours – This doesn’t mean that business is open from 9 to 5. If the goal is six hours of work a day, once that is reached, knock off until tomorrow. This isn’t straight time all the time. It might be 20 minutes or an hour early in the morning while everyone is asleep or the odd hour or so around bedtime when the kids are down for the night.
The key to managing time is to understand how it flows in your life.