Tips to Manage your Time When Working from Home.
Even if you don’t need to step out of your house for your job, you need to bring the discipline of working in an office environment to working from home. The single biggest challenge most consultants, freelancers and anyone who telecommutes for work faces is managing their time.
With the home and office and responsibilities blurring into one another, it can be hard to know where one ends and the other begins. So here are 7 tips to help you manage your time better if you have chosen to work from home.
Set your work timings
Treat your home office with the same respect you would your office outside your home. Work out a schedule. Pick a time of day that you are most productive during. Set a fixed start and end time to your day. And then stick by them, even if no one’s watching.
Schedule in breaks
Far too often, a zealous worker can ignore the need for a break, working hours on end without a break and burning out at the end of it. For those who work from home to be around their kids or for health reasons, the break time become even more critical.
Don’t skip lunches or avoid coffee breaks – you wouldn’t do that in an office, so why kill yourself at home? That would go against the very grain of why you work from home in the first place so don’t miss out on the downtime.
Avoid the temptation to take too many breaks
While the temptation to sneak in an extra long coffee break is always enticingly within reach, you will need to make a rule to not do this too often.
Think of it this way, if you were in a steel and glass building with dozens of colleagues around you tapping away on their computers, or in meetings, or calls with clients, would you still have turned on the television for an extended lunch break?
Plan your day
Work out your deliverable and tasks. Connect with colleagues or anyone whose work has bearing on yours, or yours on theirs. Tackle the critical stuff and hard deadline activities first.
Have a backup plan in place
Install a good power backup for your computer and have a second phone line open for exclusive use for official work. Backup your work as you go along – just in case.
Home systems are often less foolproof than robust corporate systems, even with all the basic firewalls and antivirus systems in place.Protect your work against theft and loss due to power outages by keeping backups at secure locations online or on external hard drives.
It might seem counter intuitive, but if you are working from home then trying to cook a meal while talking to a client or your boss is hardly ideal. You might miss out on key information or sound distracted.
Focus on one thing at a time, it will be more efficient in the long run, and you will be more productive and less likely to slip up.
Let everyone know your rules
The best paid plans can go awry if the people around you don’t respect your home office and the sanctity of your office hours. Communicate your working hours clearly to your friendly neighbour, family and friends.
Let them know politely that you can’t have a chat now because you’re working. It may be tough at first but they’ll soon catch on.
Are you having trouble separating your time when working from home?
What tips could you implement to make you more productive?