Living In The Blur

If you ever work from home, whether it is just a day here and there or whether it is part of your permanent schedule, you know about the blur that occurs.

It happens when you could have sworn you were at your computer, but suddenly you’re doing your second load of laundry. When you realize it’s 10:00pm and you’re still working. When you draw the mailman into a twenty-minute conversation because it’s the only social interaction you’ve had all day.

Working from home requires careful time management skills to keep the blur between work and home life under control.

Many people find working from home to provide greater flexibility in their day, but that flexibility can be a detriment if not managed correctly. When personal tasks and work tasks become too mingled during the day, the work tasks have a tendency of taking over, thus turning your 8-hour work day into a 24-hour one. The following three strategies can help remove the blur from your life and keep work squarely in its place.

1) Designate your Work Space

When your work is spread out over the entire house then you’re never able to escape it. Designate one or two places in your home as “work spaces.” This way, you can feel like you actually leave work when you’re done for the day and won’t be tempted to just work from sun-up to down down. Remember: you work from home; you don’t want to live in your office.

2) Plan Time for Personal Tasks

It can be tempting to let personal tasks distract you when working from home. For example, you could be on your way to the bathroom and see a pile clutter of that needs to be put away, or a dish that needs washing. If you stop to take care of those things, pretty soon, you’re no longer working and instead you’re cleaning your house. This just makes your work day stretch on forever. Designate a separate time during the day to take care of these things so they don’t distract you while you’re working.

3) Make Time for Networking

Working from home can be extremely isolating. Invest some time in finding opportunities to network with other professional in your field. This allows you to find out how other people work and bounce ideas back and forth. You’ll never find better, faster or more efficient ways to do things if you never branch out and observe life outside your home office.

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Technorati Keywords Time Management, Efficiency,

Photo Credit: Sura Nualpradid

My Productivity Bracket

Have you filled out your bracket yet? Basketball? No. I’m talking about your productivity bracket.

We all know what it feels like to be pulled in a million different directions. When we accomplish work, it didn’t just…”happen.” It beat out many other priorities that day. This bracket is a tribute to the countless  time management battles we all fight each day. What tasks would you add to your bracket?

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Technorati Keywords Time Management, Efficiency,

Spring Forward

Ever feel like time is just disappearing as you’re trying to get everything done? Well, this weekend, time really did “disappear.”

Unless you are fortunate enough to live in the great states of Arizona or Hawaii, you lost an hour today as we Sprung Forward for Daylight Savings. Don’t worry. You can make up that lost hour with a few  time management strategies. Try these time management tricks this week to make up for your missing 60 minutes.

1) Kill a Time Killer
Remember, Time Killers are those little things that waste our time without our permission.  Little things like email, Facebook, YouTube and Internet surfing can be necessary for communication and fun Desserts…but only at the right time! Don’t let these things prolong your work by distracting you.

2) Invest Your Time
Over the past few months, I signed up for an email management service for my mailing list and a database to keep track of all of my citations for my school papers. Both of these services took time to figure out, but I have more than recouped that investment in the time these services ended up saving me. Have you been putting off a similar time management investment? Waiting for later? What better time than now? Do it this week.

3)  Delegate
Do you remember when you were 7-years old and you’d try to slip extra food on your dinner plate to the dog while your mom wasn’t looking? Oh how times change. Now that we are all grown up we try to heap more tasks on our plate and take care of it all ourselves. This week, pick one thing and delegate it. You don’t have to have a staff working under you to delegate. It could be as simple as asking a family member to help out, or hiring out a household chore if you can afford it.

And don’t worry, you’ll get that lost hour back in November anyway!

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Technorati Keywords Time Management, Efficiency,

Photo Credit: Idea Go

March Fo(u)rth!

Have you been putting off starting that one big project? You know, the one that has been at the bottom of your list forever just waiting for “some day” when you’ll finally get to it? Well, that “some day” is today. Just ask your calendar.

March Fo(u)rth!

Today is the only day of the year whose date is a complete sentence, and its message is important.

“March forth and conquer that last lingering task on your list. Reclaim your day and your productivity!”

(OK, so maybe it doesn’t say all of that…but that is how I choose to interpret it!)

We all have those tasks that seem to cling to the end of our list and never go away. The worst ones are the tasks that no one is “checking up” on for us.

If I miss deadlines for work, I’m definitely going to hear about it. If I turn in a paper late for my doctorate, my professors will ask for it. However, other types of tasks tend to get pushed to the bottom of my priorities when I know I’m not accountable to anyone else.

I have told myself that I need to try to set up a book signing for my new book, but I’ve been putting it off. Nobody was pressing me for it and it was easy to push it down my priority list. But no more!

Today, I will March Forth to the local bookstore to get the ball rolling. It will only take about an hour of my time and I will be so happy to finally check that task off my list.

What will you march forth and do today?

Btw, if you enjoy amusing calendar dates, you won’t want to miss  “pi day” on March 14th (3.14) and Star Wars day on May 4th (may the “fourth” be with you.)

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Technorati Keywords Time Management, Efficiency,

Photo Credit: Michael Marcol