I’m writing this for myself as much as I am writing this for you guys! Managing your time when you work from home can be quite daunting, and it has been a much-requested blog topic from you guys. Let me preface by saying, I have not yet mastered this art of time-management. But, I’m learning tools to help me get there, and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far.
First of all, being busy and being productive are two completely different things.
It’s only two weeks into January, and I already feel like my head is about to pop off. Yet, I keep asking myself what the heck have I been doing? What is it that is stealing all of my time and making me feel like I have nothing to show for it? I’ve been busy as heck, but not at all productive to my standards.
Between checking my emails every 5 minutes and making myself available to answer every email or text promptly, I have fallen into a pit of nonstop instant communication and unrealistic expectations, which in return is pulling my attention away from my work and completely draining me.
So, I realized I need to get better at managing this. Here’s what I’m doing about it.
Write your to-do lists the night before
Before you end your work day, take a few minutes to write out your to-do’s for tomorrow. Handwrite it, type it in your notes, log it in an app like Asana. Do whatever works for you! I personally love handwriting everything, but I am starting to track my lists in Asana so I can track my progress on certain projects I’m working on.
Check and respond to email only 3x per day
This is a major one for me. Studies show that checking email only a few times a day reduces stress and boosts productivity. So, I scheduled it out on my calendar to check and respond to emails around 10am, 1pm, and 4pm. I downloaded Boomerang (a Google Chrome extension) which lets you ‘pause’ your email, so it stops new email from coming into your inbox until you’re ready for it. Gotta cut back on those interruptions and distractions.
Live and die by that Google Calendar
Call me lame, but I send calendar invites to even my best friends when we make dinner plans. If it’s not on my calendar, then it’s not in my brain. The more you can organize your calendar and sync up with it, the better you will be at managing your time. You may have to go as far as to schedule your own lunch break – so be it! Just don’t be late. Ha!
Master the art of scheduling in-person meetings
I’ve recently let myself off the hook with events and coffee dates. I realized it wasn’t serving me to say yes to all of these meetings that interrupted my productivity. Learning how to say ‘no’ is the adult version of being responsible with your time, in my opinion. However, if you are going to schedule worthwhile meetings, try designating a day or two a week to schedule back-to-back meetings. For example: On Tuesday and Thursdays maybe you schedule a few back-to-backs in the city. The other days of the week you stay home and work all day uninterrupted. Experiment with it and see what works best for you!
Take time off.
I find myself working 12-15 hour days most of the time. Even if you love love love your job, everyone’s brain needs time to reset. Work hard and hustle, but know when it’s time to turn it off and enjoy quality time with the people you love. One of my goals this year is to have more fun. Simple as that. Not that life isn’t wonderful, but I think as adults we could all laugh a little more, love a little harder, and let some of that weight off of our shoulders. We’re all in this together. Don’t feel like you have to go at it alone.
Got any more productivity and time-management tips? Share them below!