11 Time Management Tips for Working From Home
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated July 21, 2022 | Published August 18, 2021
Updated July 21, 2022
Published August 18, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
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Time management is an effective skill that improves productivity and efficiency. Working from home often requires good time management skills to reduce distractions and maximize workflow. Learning to manage time can help you optimize your work-from-home schedule. In this article, we discuss the importance of time management skills when working from home while also providing you with a list of tips.
Why is time management important when working from home?
Time management is an important skill when working from home. Focusing on managing time in a work-from-home setting offers the following benefits:
Creates boundaries: Boundaries are important when working from home. It may be easy to skip tasks, or difficult to separate work and home responsibilities because there isn't always a clear start and end time in a work-from-home setting.
Increases productivity: When you are able to efficiently manage your time, you can increase your focus, and ultimately, productivity. This allows you to get more done, without having to work more.
Improves accountability: Setting time management goals can help you become more accountable when working at home. This ensures you are able to complete all necessary tasks.
Improves quality of work: When you are able to allocate enough time necessary to complete tasks, you can improve your quality of work. This can lead to better performance reviews and overall employee satisfaction.
Time management tips for working from home
Here are some tips you can use to manage time efficiently when working from home:
1. Create a schedule
It can be helpful to create a workday schedule, even if you have control over when you complete certain tasks. This can be helpful for accountability, while also letting others in the household know when you're working. If you have to plan for other household duties or responsibilities throughout the day, try block scheduling. This refers to creating a schedule that consists of blocks of work and personal time.
For example, you might reserve a block of 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for work, then 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. for personal tasks. Then, consider publishing your schedule online, or in a public place like the kitchen, for everyone to know.
2. Designate a workspace
Designating a workspace can help you separate household tasks from work ones. This can help you avoid distractions that may come with working in the living room or dining room. It also encourages your mind to think about work when you're in the space designated for work. Designating a workspace also tells your brain when it's time to disconnect from work.
Related: Create a Productive Home Office
3. Pretend you're going to the office
Once you have a schedule in place, pretend you're going to the office. This means getting up in time to prepare for the workday, including getting dressed for the office. You might even plan lunch at this time so you don't have to do it later. Go to your home office, or designated workspace, at this time, and try to stay for the allocated time planned.
This also means taking breaks throughout the day, including a lunch break. It also means waking up at a certain time, even if you don't have a set schedule.
4. Minimize distractions
Minimizing distractions is an important way to increase productivity and maximize your time. Learning to identify your distractions can help you create a plan to overcome them. For example, if a nearby TV easily distracts you, consider moving your home office to another location. If the sight of uncompleted household tasks distracts you, choose a location that is far away from them.
5. Create a daily and weekly to-do list
To-do lists are beneficial because they encourage you to consider, and prioritize, the tasks that you need to complete daily. Start each week by creating a to-do list. Break the to-do list into days, and even blocks. Assign each task time throughout the day, but be sure to give yourself free time too.
This can help you accommodate any changes to your schedule or unexpected to-do tasks. Make any adjustments daily as you check things off, or add, to your to-do list.
6. Keep technologies to a minimum
While some technology may be necessary to work, limiting the amount of technology in your home office can help you focus on your work tasks. For example, turn off any TVs or put your phone on mute. Try not to open web pages that you don't specifically need for work. Allocate a few minutes each hour, or every couple of hours, to check your messages or return any phone calls.
7. Set goals
Setting goals is a good way to track how well you are managing time, as well as any areas of improvement that you want to make. Set goals that are SMART, which means specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. A few examples of smart goals for maximizing time management may include:
Allocate a minimum of one hour each week to organizing your home office.
Begin each day with one hour specifically for returning emails.
Limit time spent on social media sites each workday to 30 minutes.
Spend at least one hour each week reading a work-related book.
Set goals that are both short and long-term, especially if you plan on working from home for a while.
8. Create a list of priorities
Understanding your priorities can also help you allocate time to the tasks, or projects, that are most important to you. Create a list of priorities and rank them from least important to most important. Evaluate these priorities and consider how much of your time each week you are currently allocating to each one. Make any necessary adjustments to your schedule.
9. Take advantage of time management programs
If you still find it difficult to manage time, you might try time management programs. Time-tracking apps can help you stay on schedule. Some of these time tracking apps are available on your phone.
You can also use the traditional method of setting a stopwatch. Divide your day into increments based on your to-do tasks. Set a timer for how long you want to focus on each one. Once the timer goes off, set that task aside and move on to something else.
10. Update on your decision-making skills
Time management is about making decisions. You have to decide which tasks to complete, and when, to complete them. Refresh your time management skills by learning to divide each task into one of the following four actions:
Delete: Delete refers to getting rid of a task. This is a task that you choose not to complete, or have already completed.
Do: Do is a task that you want to take action and complete.
Delegate: Delegate is a task that you give to someone else on your team.
Defer: Defer refers to pushing off a task until you have more time to complete it.
11. Recognize your strengths
Learn to recognize your strengths that may help you with managing time throughout the day. For example, if you are most productive in the mornings, then assign your most difficult tasks early in the morning. If you are good at graphic design but feel less comfortable with presentations, give yourself more time to plan for an upcoming presentation.
This can help you allocate enough time throughout the day to complete tasks, based on their difficulty levels. You will also learn which tasks are easier to complete, versus ones that take more time.
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