Tips for Managing Your Time When You Work From Home

Working from home has become a total life changer for me.
I’ve found myself to be less focused on the clock & more focused on my work.
I’ve become WAY more productive and efficient with my time.
But it’s not as fun & easy as it sounds.....

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It’s alllll about find your work/home balance.

You have to determine what works best for you, and that calls for a little trial & error.
These 7 things have helped me manage my time & become more productive:

1. Figure Out Your Best Work Time

This one took me the longest to figure out, but boy has it made working from home a million times easier. Unless I’m randomly feeling extremely best work time is between 11am-3pm but sometimes it’s 7pm-10pm. They are so completely random....but hey, they work...just depends on my day!

Working in the creative field, I’ve also found that taking breaks helps me get more work done. I can usually focus for a solid 3-4 hours on a project.....then my brain starts to melt. So, I walk away....and come back a few hours later or even the next day. That way I can take a look at my project with fresh eyes.

Maybe you focus better at night on the weekends....or in the mornings during the week. Test the waters, find some balance & determine your most productive work times. You get more work done when you’re in the zone.

2. Determine Your Most Productive Workspace

For a while, I used to work with my laptop on my my living room. I wanted to take advantage of that “work-from-home” luxury. I realized I was easily distracted by the TV sitting only a few feet away & my work time would be interrupted by some ridiculous makeover TV show that I couldn’t turn off.

Since the living room wasn’t working, I decided to turn one of the rooms in my house into an office. I have all of my work things all nicely organized around my desk & I have access to just about everything I need....all in one area. It’s become my quiet space where I can focus and tune out all the other distractions.

3. Turn Off Phone Notifications

When you’re all set to get some work done.....don’t keep your phone right next to you...letting it buzz every minute with a new Facebook notification. I usually turn my phone on mute & flip it upside down so I don’t get distracted by the screen lighting up when I get a text message or notification.

If you let yourself get distracted by these little alerts, you’ll get pulled into the black hole of social media & a half hour will go by before you notice that you totally just wasted a half hour on status updates....instead of working. (Been there, done that....a million times)

4. Keep A To-Do List

People often create daily schedules with time specific tasks....that works for them, but not for me. When I have time slots designated to tasks I feel myself focusing on the clock & not the actual project. Instead of a schedule....I keep two to-do lists.

One list is my to-do list for the day. It has things that need to get done sooner than later. It’s like my priority list. My other list is my generic to-do list. If I get super productive and finish my daily list....I can take a look at my other list and see what things I can cross off of that bad boy. This list helps me plan out how I’m going to work for the next few days, depending on my daily list & priorities.

I love crossing things off my to-do list. It feels so....good. Like yep, that task...totally accomplished. “NEXTTTTTTT.......”

5. Break Down Your Tasks

Usually the hardest part of doing getting started, so don’t make your tasks look so intimidating.

In my to-do lists, I’ll jot down even the tiniest up carrots for dinner. Seeing those little tasks help get me moving on the bigger ones. “Cut up carrots? That’s it?” Than I get into the swing of cooking.....and BAM 20 minutes later, dinner is done and served.

If I write down.....”Develop Website Idea For New Client” ---- that task looks extremely exhausting & I’ll keep thinking it’s way too time-consuming to tackle right now. BUT if I put a MUCH smaller task like, “Take A Look At About Page For Client” --- I’ll take a look at it & BAM 45 ideas hit my brain...and I become crazy inspired. All I need is a little visual motivation kick-starter and I end up getting more done than I anticipated.

6. Having trouble? Ask.

Working from home can get very....isolating. When you feel isolated, you’re more likely to get frustrated and overwhelmed. If you’re having problems with a certain task.....ask someone for help.

I think a big part of working from home is that we often feel like we have to handle everything, since people aren’t really working with us or around us. If you try to handle everything all by yourself, you’ll set yourself up for a total burn out.

Where can you go for help? Depending on the task.....your family & friends. If it’s more of a work specific task, reach out to someone in the field or someone you’ve worked with before. Personally, I think Facebook groups are WONDERFUL for this. There are plenty of Facebook groups set up for people that work from home & they’re loaded with people helping people. They’ve helped me....just from being in them and scrolling through them. If you don’t want to post your own question, you can always read & follow along with other people’s questions and situations. Either way, they’re extremely beneficial.

The most important part of this one is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you realize that you’re struggling with a task....a few pointers from an outside source could go a long way.

7. Take Notes

Our brains are constantly on full blast. Keep a notes application on your phone handy for when you think up a new idea....regardless of where you are.

We’d like to think that we’ll remember everything that pops into our head but that’s totally not the case. Sometimes we think of genius things, at the weirdest when I was driving on the thruway and I randomly got an awesome business idea. I had Siri open up my notes and used the microphone to say my ideas out loud and Siri typed them all up for me......grammatically incorrect....but hey, at least the general ideas were there. The notes gave me a foundation to look back at so I could expand on the ideas later, without keeping them all tucked into my head.

Sometimes this ends up becoming a total brain dump exercise. A brain-dump is where you get all of your ideas out so you can visualize them. Being able to look at your ideas usually helps to organize & prioritize them. Sometimes a brain-dump can give your mind a little room to breathe....which can be a huge stress reliever. It leaves your brain feeling less cluttered.

Jotting things down & writing notes can also save some time when you’re trying to remember something that you were thinking about a few days ago.

My favorite mantra for working from home is "Work Smarter, Not Harder."

Figure out when & where you’re the most productive.....and roll with it.
That’s the beauty of working from home.

What are your favorite time management tips? What helps you get more stuff done?!

Mariah Magazine

Mariah is a freelance web designer/developer who specializes in WordPress. She used to focus on the fine arts, like drawing & painting…..until she fell in love with the digital world of designing & coding. She blogs over at Mariah Magazine where her topics are geared towards helping bloggers & small business owners understand the internet a little better, one post at a time. 

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