How to Manage Your Time Working from Home
Working from home does offer a wide variety of benefits, including cutting your commuting time to zero and having more time to spend at home with your loved ones. However, this newfound freedom and flexibility can be challenging if you are new to this reality, and optimizing time can be tricky.
Working from home, you have no boundaries between work and leisure. You have to be responsible for setting your boundaries and structuring your day in the best way possible while also controlling distractions. Suffice to say, it can be testing.
To help you navigate the difficulties of working from home and finding the best ways to optimize your times and productivity, consider the following tips:
How to Stay Organized Working from Home: Simple, Useful Tips
Having the right space to work is essential for any remote worker. This involves more than simply placing your laptop on any table. By putting time and effort into the environment that will surround you for several hours, you will feel more at ease and comfortable and improve your concentration.
Having a fixed place (or two, if you prefer having an alternative) where you can sit and work instead of moving around every day and having the right equipment set up does wonders for your concentration and getting in the “work state of mind.”
Choose a workspace with minimal distractions. If you can have a room for yourself, even better, that way, you can control your breaks and have a silent, comfortable space to do your work.
Consider the lighting. Natural light offers excellent benefits. In fact, a 2018 study by Cornell University Professor Alan Hedge found that natural light reduces eye strain and drowsiness by more than 50% and headaches by 63%.
Also, live plants are a great addition to any space. Not only do they improve the air quality, but according to several studies, plants boost productivity and positively impact a person’s mood.
Make sure your laptop or screen is at eye level, so you don’t strain your neck, choose a comfortable chair and check your mic and audio to make sure everything works accordingly. You can also alternate between sitting and standing so that you can mitigate the toll sitting all day can have on your body. By working on your feet, you can increase your productivity and feel more energized.
Outside distractions like your kids’ playing can be easier to block by choosing a quiet, comfortable room to work in, but other distractions need a more conscious effort.
Our phones, laptops, and TV are constantly stimulating us. Social media apps, delivery apps, streaming services…Digital communications can easily distract you and keep you away from your work for several minutes (even hours), so you need to be especially aware of this.
To stay focused and work when you want to work, make sure you block notifications, turn off the TV, or even use anti-distraction tools like Dewo, Freedom, or FocusMe and don’t lose track of your working hours. By doing so, you can make sure you work in the hours you set aside.
Routine Optimization: Flexibility with Order
Yes, remote work often comes with flexibility, but starting each day at different times can take a toll on you and your family. Organizing your day-to-day schedule, at least in terms of starting and finishing times, can also help you learn how to manage time at work and home.
Not having a routine can significantly affect your stress levels and your ability to sleep and eat right. It is commonly linked to poor physical health and, most of all, to a less than ideal use of your time.
A daily to-do list can be a great motivator. Make sure to include the tasks you need to complete and by what time and any meetings you have during the day to make sure you are available at those times.
If you have trouble sticking to your schedule, you can always try time-tracking apps like RescueTime to keep you in check. You can also keep track of which hours are your most productive and which ones are your least to try and change the habits surrounding those times. For example, heavy meals affect your digestion and require more energy, leaving you feeling more drowsy. Also, if you know you are less productive during certain times, you can schedule meetings to make sure you take advantage of those lower points.
You can always save time in the morning to work out or have a more extended lunch and spend time with your partner or kids but try to stick as much as possible to specific times. Additionally, your colleagues, boss, and clients can know exactly when to reach you.
Another essential part of learning how to be efficient with your time is making sure you schedule your breaks so you can unwind, stretch, etc. But, make sure you stick to your breaks. You can try out apps like TimeOut (Mac) or Smart Break (Windows) to lock yourself out of the computer until your break time is up. Rescue Time also has a feature to add breaks. Off times are just as crucial as working hours. Take your time.
To Optimize Your Day, You Have to Know Your Goals & Times
To effectively structure your day and organize a schedule, you need to know how you spend your time every day. By tracking how long each task takes, you are better equipped to allocate the right amount of time to each one. You can easily do this through tracking apps or creating timesheets.
Timeboxing can be useful for optimizing time and knowing exactly how long each task takes. You can set up specific timeframes in your calendar to tackle each task or schedule meetings for a 10, 20, or 30-minute slot.
Make sure you know exactly which are your deliverables, the specifics of each task you need to complete, and the person you report to, in case you have questions or doubts. This can significantly help you learn how to improve your daily routine.
By knowing which tasks you need to complete in what timeframe, you can easily organize your day-to-day activities and factor them into the meetings you may have. This can help keep you motivated and set a routine you can follow every day.
Reach Out and Take Care of Yourself
Working from home can sometimes feel lonely, and you may also feel more anxious. By talking regularly to your teammates and your manager, you can feel more connected to others and make sure everyone is in sync in terms of projects.
Having small chats with your colleagues or participating in our online activities like after-hours, coffee breaks, and games can help boost your morale, make you feel part of a team, supported, and more involved in your colleagues’ lives. Make sure you turn your camera on and carve out some time for small talk.
One of the pandemic’s most significant problems has been remote employees struggling to unplug from their work. Many feel pressured by working remotely and spend more time than they should connected to Slack or on Zoom calls to make sure their teammates and clients know they are there, working. But this can also be counterproductive and can increase your stress levels.
You need to respect your working hours, yes, but you also have to rest, take care of yourself and enjoy your free time with family or friends. Looking after your physical and mental health should be a priority.
Learning to manage your time effectively can be a great asset, regardless of your profession or current job. It’s a skill that can apply to any aspect of your life, but that needs to be honed. Consider our tips to help manage your time at home and improve your productivity levels without having to dedicate less time to your well-being or your loved ones.
If you are struggling to organize your time while working remotely, you can always reach out to our People Care team and receive additional tips and tricks that can help.