Time management is even more important now that many of us are working at home. Let's explore how to keep on task!
When you work at home and also take care of your family, managing your time effectively is essential. If you're not spending it wisely most of the day, chances are that nothing gets done! Read on to find out some very helpful ways that you can successfully manage working from home and your ever-important supply of "me" time.
Create a schedule for optimal time management
A loose schedule of how your day should go can help you to make the most of your time and help to keep you on track. Start by outlining things that need to happen first, including meals, errands, after-school pick up from work or child care services; wake-up and bedtime routines, and anything else that you do on a regular basis. Fill in times between these tasks so it's easier for you to remember what needs to be accomplished each day without having any "winging" involved!
Your schedule doesn't have to be set in stone and may change day-by-day, depending on what activities you have on deck for the day. But having a plan at the beginning of the day will help you to make sure you have time management
Prioritize your tasks
Have you ever known a co-worker that always seems to be doing things, but nothing ever gets done in any type of a timely manner? I mean, they always LOOK busy, but are they really? Just because you are keeping yourself busy doesn’t mean you are necessarily being productive - or managing your time well. This is where that schedule really comes in handy. Look at your schedule and figure out what needs to get finished TODAY. Of that list, narrow down the 3 most important tasks of the day.
Your focus should be on your most urgent tasks first, so you can knock them out. Priorities are important. Even if you only get one big task done a day, that’s better than three not so important tasks. Anything else you get done on top of your priorities list is just a productivity bonus. Cha-ching!
Identify and eliminate time-wasters to improve your time management
We all love our social media. It's a way to connect to friends, make business contacts, keep in touch withe family. But, it's also a HUGE time suck. How much time have you spent arguing with strangers on the internet? And then, you get off of social media and you are STILL arguing in your head, thinking of the things you should have said or will say later? We've all done it. But doing it, especially when you have more pressing tasks at hand is not a great way to use your time management skills.
When you get distracted from your prioritized tasks, it can throw off your entire schedule. Next thing you know, end up with you wasting 2 hours on Facebook while the laundry, dishes, and work deadlines are left looming over your head. You can use an extension such as Freedom to block your biggest time wasters, like social media.
That being said, you also have to be careful not to burn yourself out. It's important to schedule breaks into your day and give yourself the freedom to enjoy these distractions during those times only. When you are working, close all social media and turn off the TV. Set timers for your social media scrolling time, and listen to music or a podcast that keeps you focused on the task at hand.
Work with a timer
Have you ever looked at a room that had a HUGE mess in it and just turned and walked away? I have, more than once. The task just seemed to big, I didn't know where to start, and so I just left it. This is where a timer is an amazing time management tool. While tackling that huge mess all at once is too overwhelming taking it 15 minutes at a time is not. This is a really great strategy for getting your kids to clean their rooms too. Either give a specific task (pick up all the laundry) or have them work on tidying up for 10 - 15 minutes at a time.
You can also challenge yourself to get things checked off of your to do list efficiently by timing yourself. Within your schedule, you can create time blocks of 15 to 20 minute increments for work. Once the timer goes off, give yourself 5 minutes to get up, stretch, take a bathroom break, or even get a drink or snack. This is also a wonderful time management strategy for getting kiddos to do their homework. Those breaks make it much easier for them to focus during the work time.
You’ll soon find that working in these short stretches trains you to get more done in the same time than if you just sat down with no time limits to work. If these periods of time are too short, lengthen them to your liking. Preference and productivity comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. So if you are tackling that huge mess and you worked for 15 minutes, if you are feeling successful, set the timer for another go. Then you can set it to take a break and go again, or finish up for the day.
Do a brain dump often
Sometimes it’s not our surroundings that make us unproductive, it’s our own minds. If you have too much to think or worry about, you likely cannot focus on the task at hand. This is where a brain dump is a great time management strategy.
A few times a week, sit down and take at least 10 minutes to do a brain dump. Get all of your thoughts, feelings, and even to-do lists out on paper. If you journal, you may find it helpful to do this often. Simply releasing all the jumble living in your brain can be helpful for getting your focus back.
Get help when you need it
Sometimes, even when we try our best at managing everything we come across in everyday life, it's just not enough.There are some things which will always take precedence over others such as laundry or food shopping, no matter how much we might want to put them on the back burner due to other obligations.
You may have the best time management skills in the world, but there are only so many hoiurs in the day to do everything that needs to get done. This is where you may need to ask for help.
Get your family members or friends to watch your kids a few hours each week. Maybe you have a sibling or a cousin who’s interested in your side hustle and would love to help! A mother’s helper is another option, as they come to your home to watch your kids while you work undistracted.
Delegate household chores to your partner and older children to free up time in your schedule. Some tasks in your business can also be done with the help of your kids and partner. Hiring a cleaning person or using a grocery delivery service can also free up time.
Do you know that old saying, the captain goes down with the ship? Well, the same holds true that if the captain goes down, so does the ship. It's imperitive that you make time to take care of yourself.
It can be very easy to look at your schedule and think about everything you need to do for everyone else. It's so important to make sure you build time into your schedule for yourself. Your time management will suffer if you are constantly running on empty.
How do you make sure you take time out for yourself? Build it into your schedule. Self-care doesn't have to be a long and time-consuming activity to be helpful. You could build time to read or play games or watch TV in your schedule daily. You might build in a few 15-minute breaks throughout the day, or plan to end your day at a certain time to allow for some winding downtime. Perhaps you pick some time on the weekend that's a longer period of self-care, when you are less stressed and "on". Even planning a consistent bedtime can be self-care.
Time management isn't difficult when you have a solid schedule and plan in place. It does take a bit of practice, patience, and diligence and you will see a much more productive you! If you have a helpful trip on how you manage your schedule or make your days more productive, please share it below!