When the idea of working from home comes up, you often find yourself with two sets of personas. Some people cringe about the idea of trying to find a workable space at home while dealing with their family and pets. Others, including me, burst with joy to the possibility of working from an environment they designed to fit their needs. However, when you’re required to work from home, finding your new groove can be challenging at first.
As someone who worked remotely for almost two years, let me tell you, mastering your time management skills is possible. I’m here to guide you on this while working from your home environment, and whether you love it or hate it, at least you’ll have the right tools on your hands to be efficient in the meantime.
Prepare Your Workspace for Success
First of all, to become better at managing your time while working for home, you need the right workspace. It will be nearly impossible to be a productive person while you work from your couch with the TV on your favorite show. No matter how good of a multitasker you are, you’ll always be distracted.
So, as a rule of thumb, whether you have an office space or not, here’s how to arrange your workspace for success:
- Eliminate distractions: window views, TVs, and roommates.
- Craft a desk: don’t work on your lap, find a table to prop your computer, notebooks, and other office supplies.
- Pick the right light: beyond ceiling light, try to add an accent light, if you don’t have one, borrow your night table lamp for the time being.
- Adjust your chair: not everyone has a spare office chair at home, adopt your dining table chairs to be more comfortable using pillows or any other form of support.
Set the Right Boundaries
To manage your time correctly, you need to set boundaries with your self and those around you. When working for home, you need everyone in your household to understand that even though you’re still there, you’re still working. However, this also applies to yourself. Keep in mind that because you’re home, your running list of to-do items at home shouldn’t take priority over your workplace to-do list.
- Boundaries with others: make sure you explain to family members and roommates that during working hours, you’re just as unavailable as you would be if you were at the office.
- Boundaries with yourself: remember that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can stop a task to get on that garage cleanup project you intended to start a week ago.
- Boundaries with your pets: although they don’t understand what’s happening, make sure you know the difference between having your pets around to destress and when your pet needs to go to a separate room so you can go back to work.
Find Your New Routine and Schedule
Yes, you still have a schedule and a new routine. If you work on your own, pick the schedule that best suits your needs and stick to it. If you work for an employer, then respect their working hours. No matter your situation, having an office schedule will help you stay consistent and improve productivity.
- Understanding your routine: even when you aren’t driving to an office, you should still get dressed, make breakfast, drink, coffee, meditate, and whatever else is in your morning routine.
- Your new schedule: pick your working hours, add your lunch break, and respect those timelines, some people find it helpful to have a clock-in and clock-out app or mechanism to hold them accountable.
Have Lists, Goals, and Tracking
Every person that works from home makes lists or uses some style of a bullet journal. Why? Well, lists hold you accountable, and they make it easier for you to see a snapshot of your day. Ideally, you want to experiment with different time management techniques until you find the right one that works for you.
- Using lists: the lists are to help you see what you need to focus on throughout the day, be as granular or general as you wish.
- Set daily goals: make sure you see your workload and set an objective you must meet by your lunch break and a second goal by the time you clock-out, this will help you stay motivated.
- Track everything: it’s easy to lose track of all the things you’re trying to accomplish, keep track of progress and tasks completed, don’t forget to celebrate those small wins by the end of the workday.
Use Tools & Resources Available
Finally, don’t shy away from technology. The reason we can work from home with so much ease is that there are tools and resources available that help us be productive. Make sure to research different productivity tools to help you track time, set schedules, and understand your workload better.
- Have time-tracking tools: find a time-tracking tool that helps you see how long you’re spending on specific tasks.
- Organize your schedule: it often helps to use time-blocking calendars to stay organized, make sure you set time for work, lunch, breaks, and even exercise after office hours.
- Use messaging apps: working from home can feel lonely sometimes, which leads to unmindful social media scrolling, tap into your friends, and coworkers with messaging apps to bring that social component.
A Note from GR8NESS
Working from home can be a blessing or a curse. Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success and get the best out of this experience. When you master the art of working from home, you’ll notice how you have the power in you to be a productive person, no matter where life takes you. Just be careful with that power, you don’t want to end up working on vacations as I often find myself doing. [Insert wink emoji here]