Use Time Management Tips When Working From Home
Over the past year, no area has undergone more rapid transformation than the way we work. Do you find yourself working longer hours during the pandemic?
Time management was a challenge during normal times. Now the pandemic has introduced a whole new set of issues, including sharing workspace with others and managing our children’s educational needs from home. As it has been more than a year since many of us left our usual places of work to become temporarily remote, some studies shows that we will continue to work in a hybrid model for some time yet. For many, a “hybrid model,” with some time spent working remotely and some time in the office, might be the best of both worlds. Whether you expect you’ll stay fully remote, or you will transition to a hybrid model, one thing is for sure, you’re probably going to get some more use out of that home office. Ultimately, it’s important to create a time management structure that works for the whole family. The more you focus on managing your time and energy now, the better effect you may have on your productivity and happy relationships.
The study shows that employees worked an average of four more hours a week. Now that your commute to the office might mean a walk from your bedroom to the kitchen table, it’s more important than ever to focus on time management.
So, how to create your home office for productivity and happiness?
Here are some time management tips for working from home which will help you avoid burnout, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
1. Create a schedule and end your workday at a specific time each day
Most people during the pandemic, clock more hours than usual while working from home. When it comes to time management, the first step you need to take is finding out where your time actually goes. You can audit your time by using your calendar or applications then access a report to find out what’s stealing your time. With this information, you can then make the appropriate adjustments. Set your priories and keep your own discipline to end your workday at a specific time each day to maintain the healthy work life balance.
2. Take strategic breaks
If you work non-stop, you lose focus and concentration. Try to work in cycles of productive time. To manage this, make sure you take strategic breaks for your brain to recover and schedule them on your calendar. Some examples include going for a walk, some short exercising, meditating, walking your dog, drinking a cup of tea or playing with your kids so you can give your mind a rest and create a new energy for another slot of effective working. The most effective slots of working are for 90 minutes. Try to block your time for specific working sessions and maintain the breaks between the sessions. Leave a buffer-time between tasks and meetings. Jumping immediately from one task or meeting to the next may seem like a good use of your time, but it actually has the opposite effect. Without that break it’s more difficult to stay focused and motivated. Scheduling buffer-time also can prevent running late to your next meeting.
3. Plan ahead and get organised
Plan ahead using one of these options:
The night before. Before you leave work for the day, spend the last 15-minutes organizing your office and composing a list of your most important items for tomorrow. Learn to prioritise. Use the Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix. It is a powerful tool for time management. It helps you to decide on and prioritize your tasks based on urgency and importance while sorting out less urgent and less important tasks.
First thing in the morning. During your morning routine write down the 3 or 4 most urgent and important matters that need to be addressed today and work on those when you’re most productive. Apply the Pareto Principle. Follow the 80-20 rule. When it comes to how you should manage your time The Pareto Principle can also be applied. 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions.
Do the most challenging tasks in the morning as this is when you have the most productive energy, you are not drained and you may have a feeling of accomplishment to get through the rest of the day.
Set a time limit to each task to prevent you from getting distracted or procrastinating and remember to put the healthy buffers between tasks and activities.
4. Avoid distractions
Avoid constant distraction and a habit of splitting attention while working on something important. People tend to balance the needs of messages, emails, and to–do lists at the same time that they are trying to get something accomplished. So everything takes you twice longer. The best way to overcome half-work is by blocking out significant time to focus on one project and eliminate everything else.
5. Design your own comfortable space
Be creative; try to find in your home a quiet area, free of distractions and separate enough so that you can feel off the clock at the end of the day. Design your own workspace, even if you do not have a separate room. Use imagination and find any sort of dividers to build a distinction between your home and office space. Make sure that you have good natural lighting as the sunlight around us can have a direct positive effect on our mental health, productivity and job satisfaction. You may also bring some plants to decorate your home office, create natural dividers and upgrade your mood. Bringing some beautiful greenery into office space will create a natural divider but also will give you a breath of fresh air in your space and at the same time will help to purify the air in your home. Anything you do, the more comfortable and happy you are in your created workspace, the more productive you will be.
6. Manage your energy wisely
The ability to manage your energy is crucial for maximum productivity. Figure out when are you most focused and effective during the day. Whether it is in the morning or in the afternoon. Each of us has different internal rhythms, so schedule your major projects to align with that timeframe. One of the benefits of working from home is added flexibility. Focus on what you can control and arrange your activities to take advantage of natural high and low energy times. Read more about how to increase your energy in my previous blog “Energy is a Habit” and create your own recipe for high energy and positive thinking.
7. Collaborate with your partner
Do you and your partner both work from home during the pandemic? How do you spend day after day together without putting a strain on the relationship? One time management strategy is to create an agreement and decide what your “work hours” will be and who will keep an eye on the kids at different points during the day. Designate a quiet area that either of you can go to when you need privacy to take a call. To avoid burnout, build in some daily alone time for each person if needed. Once you fine-tune your routine and keep it consistent, it will make your lives much more manageable.
By implementing these time management strategies when working from home, you will be able to increase your productivity and maintain a healthy work-life balance during these difficult times.