Working from home initially sounds like a great plan. It provides for a flexible schedule, you save on gas money, and have more space to spread out. However, working from home can quickly turn into a time management disaster without strict discipline and planning. I’ve found three tips that have saved my productivity from a rapid downward spiral.
This summer, I’m working from home. I have multiple book projects to put together, papers to write, and workshops to design. The prospect of having all summer to do this sounded great, until I remembered how incredibly distracting and difficult it can be to work at home. Everyone from college students to business professionals can surely relate. Here are three tips to keep your time management under control.
1) Don’t forget to have a weekend
When you work from home, there is no physical separation from your workspace and your “play” space. If you don’t give yourself defined work hours, you’ll end up melding your work time into your personal life and become frustrated and burned out. Don’t forget to give yourself a “Saturday” (even if you decide to take it mid-week.)
2) Ignore your phone sometimes
Just because your cell phone rings, that doesn’t mean you have to answer it if you’re in the middle of something. When you’re at home, and have no boss looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to let little things distract you. While working at home, you must guard against Time Killers more than ever. If you catch yourself allowing something to distract you without your permission, stop. Ask yourself, “Would I be doing this right now if I were in an office?” Just because you have the ability to chat on your cell phone, surf the web, text a friend, or even wash the dishes in the sink, doesn’t mean you should. Save those things for non-work time.
3) Leave the house
Ultimately, we go stir crazy if we try to spend all day in the house. We can’t take for granted that time spent with our colleagues provides much-needed enjoyment and social interaction. When we work from home, we have to replicate that by getting out of the house once in a while. Go work in a library, coffee shop, park, etc…Anywhere to be around other people and get out of your home office. Seek out others in your profession to brainstorm and collaborate. It will make you more productive and save your sanity.
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Photo Credit: Ambro