“Working from home has become the norm for many over the past six months, and plenty of people have been working from home for years. Most people find working from home to be more productive overall, but there are certain distractions that can arise, or certain habits that can mean you’re not managing your time as effectively as you potentially could. While there are plenty of working from home apps that can help you work from home effectively and work from home routines to structure your day – how do you know if you’re managing your time effectively? Follow our tips below to find out!
Track Your Time
If you feel that you’re struggling to manage your time effectively while working from home, the best place to start is to look, in detail, at exactly where your time is going. This will allow you to break down your day in different segments of time to see if you’re actually taking on too much work, or picking up too many random tasks, or spending too long on different objectives. Using something like Harvest allows you to track everything you do throughout the day to see exactly where your time is going.
Once you’ve spent a couple days tracking your time, analyse it. See if there are certain tasks you could cut down on, or if perhaps you really need help from another member of your team to get through a particular project. You can even highlight workload issues to your boss if you feel that there’s simply not enough time in the day to get through everything on your plate. Alternatively, you may find that you need to focus or make slight changes to your day to get through the work that you need to.
Close Down Your Emails
Emails can be a huge drain on our time. Whether it’s emails that you really don’t need to be CC’d on, or team updates, or customers or clients who are following up on any number of things, it’s easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole that is your inbox.
One approach that proves to be very successful is setting yourself specific times throughout the day to check your emails, and then close them down throughout the rest of the day. A proper schedule for this will very much depend on what works for you. But for many, logging onto your emails 10 minutes before your work day formally starts is a great way to see what’s in store for the day or what trickled in overnight. Respond, forward, or delete as necessary, then shut down your emails for another 2-3 hours while you carry on with your designated tasks and work towards deadlines. Check your emails again midmorning, deal with anything that needs your attention, and then give yourself another uninterrupted block of time to do your actual work.
You can then check just before lunch, just after lunch, and then just before the end of the day.
Separate Personal and Business Tasks
Working at home can easily blur the lines of our personal and business lives. From parcel deliveries to a dog that needs a walk, or even children that need your attention, there are any number of distractions waiting for you. As much as possible, try to unblur this line so that you can focus on work during work hours. The added benefit of this of course is that this means your personal life can be your priority when you’re not on the clock.
Everyone’s homelife is different, but having a dedicated place to do your work, someone to help with the children can go a long way in reducing distractions and helping you to dedicate your time to your work during the actual workday. Limiting these personal life tasks during the workday means that you won’t have to make up for lost time in the evenings or on the weekend when you’d rather be spending time with family and friends.
Of course at times this won’t be possible, and that’s to be expected. The benefit of working from home is that it gives you more flexibility. If certain aspects of your personal life make working the normal 9-5 trickly, speak to your employer about shifting your hours slightly in order to make things more flexible. “
By: Richard Edwards
Published: 29th September 2020