- 10 tips to improve your management skills and get more done when you work from home
- Some great books to help you with time management
How we make use of our time can mean the difference between happy and unhappy. I’d say time management determines success and failure, but you know what I mean. I’ve found that regret over losing time is one of the worst things to live with. I’ve come up with my own easy time management exercises to help me avoid that regret.
The good news is you can choose to get more done in less time or less done in more time than the task is worth – it is all about how you manage your time. If you, like me, often struggle with time management, try the following time management exercises to see if they work for you. If nothing else, they’ll help you build your time management skills.
10 tips to improve your management skills and get more done when you work from home
1. Shut the door and switch off the phone
If you’ve ever tried to meet a deadline working from home, I’ll bet you’ve faced distractions or interruptions from your loved ones during that very hour you wanted to focus on your work. Somehow everything becomes urgent in that time slot you’ve set aside for yourself.
So, if you are really serious about getting something done, shut the door. Turn your phone off. Tell your folks that you cannot be disturbed. Put up a sign if it helps. They love you and they WILL get the message eventually. Sitting alone helps you clear your head and focus. Oh, and do not wander off into social media sites. The peace you’ve just created is for you to finish that task you want to.
2. Assign a space for things
I mean your keys, your wallet, your mask, your hand sanitizer and whatever else you need to always carry with you when you step out. A good place is a large tray by the door where you set them when you walk in. The next time you go out, no wasting time looking for those items and stressing yourself out.
This is an important thing because I know how miserable one can get searching for something. It really stresses you out and depletes your energy. You can avoid it easily with this simple tip.
3. Change your behavior
We all have that habit we secretly want to overcome but find it difficult to do so. It takes self-discipline to change a behavior. So if you have a certain behavior that is counterproductive to your time management, take steps to correct it.
For example, now that we work from home, we do tend to take long lunches, don’t we? If that cuts into your time, please set a timer to remind you to return to work on time. I used to think I could catch an episode of my favorite show, but before I knew it, it became three. So now, I don’t even think of catching the one.
4. Minimize and organize your documents
There was a time when paper clutter was a big thing. But thanks to going digital these days, everything conveniently sits in our computer/phone/cloud. However, that does not mean keeping every single thing you receive – email, file, document, etc. Yes, Gmail will say why delete when you can archive? Of course, all that adds up and you’ll find you’ve exceeded your storage quota and must now pay to store your data – a large part of which may actually be junk. Yes, been there. Still there!
So set aside some time to quickly run through your documents and delete what you don’t need. Organize data in folders and only keep what you actively require. It will save you precious time and worry.
5. Estimate your time
How much time do you actually need to finish a task? Make an estimate. Whether you’re doing a work assignment or something fun, plan in advance based on how long you think it will take. As long as you remain aware of the time, you won’t suddenly lose a few hours without realizing it.
For example, when I want to write a blog post, I expect it to take a couple of hours. I split that time into outlining, research, coming up with a title, finding appropriate images and then actually writing it. When I split the task into mini-tasks and allocate each mini-task specific time limits, it keeps me conscious and focused.
Learn the time boxing method to get more done
6. Less planning, more action
Ah! My Mother’s favorite piece of advice. Sure, you must plan. But just planning won’t cut it. You have to DO. Take action. If you often find yourself thinking about what you have to do – believe me, mere thinking won’t get you anywhere. You must begin taking action at some point to actually get things done. Try to live in the present moment and get started with finishing your tasks.
7. End your procrastination
Procrastination does steal your time. I know it is very hard to overcome the habit of putting things off. The problem though, is that when you keep doing it, you end up worrying over how you have to finish it. And you could easily spend this time actually doing the work. Right?
So, stop making excuses to procrastinate. You know you have the strength to do those tasks. When you get started, you will build the momentum to keep going and finish it.
8. Set goals
If you don’t have a destination, any road will take you where you are going. But wherever you end up may not be where you want to go. Setting goals is an important part of any plan. When you’re working, it’s far easier to track your progress and complete your task more efficiently if you have a specific goal to achieve.
Decide what you want to accomplish. Then create the steps with a timeframe that will take you to your goal.
9. Reward yourself
But of course! Reward yourself for a job well done. It will motivate you to get through the tough tasks. Remember rewards don’t have to be food-based or involve binge-shopping. It can be something as simple as taking time off to read a few pages of a book, watching your favorite show – and so on.
10. Take breaks
Even if you are super-enthused to keep going with your tasks, you must take breaks so that you don’t experience burn out. Mental breaks will actually boost your productivity because your mind has a chance to reflect, rejuvenate, and repair itself subconsciously.
Schedule frequent 10-minute breaks to clear your mind. And if you are sitting a lot, remember to get up for three minutes and stretch for every hour you sit. Drink water.
For time management to work, you need to find what works for you. The best way to do this is to pay attention to your habits and decisions so that you can identify when you feel tempted to waste time. Recognize your excuses. And find ways to eliminate these.
Remember that even a little progress is progress. Just try and take steps in the right direction and you’ll find yourself conquering your time-wasters.
To your success!
Some great books to help you with time management