time managment blog

By Haley Thayer, Social Media manager- Exclusive 25th Hour

Like an estimated 30 million other Americans, I have the privilege of working from home.  According to a study in 2013, 1 in 5 American workers telecommute at least part-time.  In addition, an estimated 50% of jobs are compatible with the telecommuting model.  In fact, experts are predicting a 63% increase in telecommuting over the next 5 years.  Do you currently work from home?  If not, are you considering doing so in the future?  Working from home has some incredible advantages.  It provides you with the flexibility that you simply cannot achieve in the office.  Many people who work from home have the ability work outside of the standard time schedule, allowing them to take time off during the day for appoints or errands as long as they make up the time in the evening.  Parents can also pay less for childcare by staying home with their children.   Telecommuters also get the added bonus of saving time, money, and the environment by cutting out a daily commute to work.

Yes, working from home has some fantastic perks!  However, it also has some unique challenges.  The biggest challenge that I have faced is time management.  It is vitally important that a telecommuter learns to separate “work” from “home.”  It is so easy to get swept up in a million distractions, from the load of laundry that needs to be folded to that quick trip to the grocery store.  Not to mention, there are plenty of distractions on your computer as well.  How many times have you been tempted to check your Facebook newsfeed while working at home?  I think we all have done it, especially those of us that work with social media marketing!

Here are 5 strategies that I have learned to stay on task and improve my time management:

  1. Set your Work Hours: Working from home often gives you the flexibility to work when you want, and those hours may be different every day.  However, it is still important to identify your work hours.  Block out time on your calendar, even if it is every week or every day.  This will help you avoid the temptation to get pulled away by distractions and it will also help you preserve your family time.
  2. Create a Distraction-Free Workspace: Do you have a designated home office?  Try to create an area or room that is devoted only to your work.  Make sure your work space is clutter free and functional.  Turn off distractions that are nearby such as the television.
  3. Set Reasonable Goals for the Day: Every morning, take 5 minutes to plan out your work.  What would you like to achieve today?  What are your upcoming deadlines?  What are some reasonable goals?  If you are in the habit of writing out goals that are unattainable, you will not be able to hold yourself accountable and you will add to your stress.  Write down a list of things that you must accomplish today (non-negotiable) and then a list of things that you would like to get done.  Once you finish your “Must Do” list, try to tackle a couple things from your “Optional” list.
  4. Break your Workload into Smaller Tasks: If you have small children like me, there are inevitable interruptions and distractions.  These interruptions make it very challenging to stay on task.  In situations like this, it is easier to break your work up into small tasks.  This way you can keep track of your work and check off your task list in between interruptions.
  5. Avoid Social Media/ Personal Email: This may be a huge challenge for some of us, but it is a huge time- suck.  If you must use social media or email, try to allot 15 minutes to checking newsfeeds and emails before you start your work.  Hold yourself to that time allotment and stay off of it while you are working.

I hope this list will help you improve your productivity so you can better enjoy the perks of working from home.  It takes discipline and practice, but it is worth the work!