Working from home has excellent opportunities for both productivity and distraction. When you’re at your best, you can zip through work and wonder where the hours went. However, whenever you get distracted, working from home can become detrimental to your quality and quantity of work. No matter where you work remotely, here are nine easy time management tips to help you make the most of your workday.
1. Start With a To-Do List
Your to-do list can set the tone of your entire day. Try creating a manageable to-do list the night before, and follow it throughout the day. Include everything from a big project to a creating your grocery list on your lunch break and include how long you think each task will take. Check the items off or cross them out when you’re finished.
2. Stop Multi-Tasking
You may think multitasking saves you time, but your brain takes at least 15 minutes to refocus whenever you switch tasks. As you multitask on two or more things, your mind has to shift focus continuously, and it can hurt your productivity. Try focusing on one task at a time and switch focus only when you finish. You’ll be less distracted, and you may even complete tasks quicker than if you tried to do them all at once.
3. Stay Away From Personal Tasks
This is one of the biggest downfalls of working at home. It may seem quick to wash a couple of dishes, but then you’re also putting in a load of laundry, paying bills and taking out the dog. You wouldn’t do those things in an office, so you need to treat working from home the same way. If you notice personal tasks while you’re working, write them down next to your work station and start on them as soon as you’re done for the day.
4. Don’t Surf the Web
Many jobs today require using the internet, sometimes during your entire shift. However, the internet can also turn into a black hole. Surfing the web can lead to large amounts of wasted time — not to mention if you start scrolling through social media. Turn your phone off, so you’re not tempted to check it during the day, and take breaks from your computer if you feel tempted to check on the news or the weather.
5. Use the Getting Things Done Method
FacileThings’ Getting Things Done (GTD) method is a great way to manage the elements of your personal productivity intuitively. The method has five steps that lead to stress-free productivity: capture everything that catches your attention, clarify what each thing is and what you’re doing with it, organizing the results, reviewing the system and doing the right thing at all times.
6. Determine When You’re Most Productive
Are you a morning person or a night person? When you feel awake, it can help boost your productivity. For example, if you love quiet mornings and feel focused in solitude, try working on more challenging tasks as soon as you start your day. Many of us feel tired after we eat lunch and the afternoon hours hit, so consider answering emails or making phone calls at that time.
7. Take a Lunch Break
It’s easy to grab your lunch and eat at your desk during a busy day, but eating your lunch during work hours can slowly become a detrimental habit. Instead, try to take a real lunch break where you close your computer and avoid electronics. Use that half hour to talk a walk outside, meditate or work out. Odds are, you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to start the next part of your day.
8. Pretend Like You’re Going to the Office
One of the unspoken rules of working from home is that you can get away with wearing your PJs. However, waking up and getting into a routine like you’re going to the office makes a big difference in your productivity. Set your alarm, get a cup of coffee and wear clothes you would wear to the office. It will tell your brain it’s time for work and help you get into a productive mindset.
9. Create a Dedicated Workspace
You wouldn’t move your bed into your office, so you shouldn’t work there when you’re at home. Instead, design a specific place in your home designated for work. It could be a table, a desk or even an outdoor patio. Stay away from your bedroom or couch, which are places for leisure — not work.
Start Being More Productive
Productivity begins with the right mindset. Promise yourself that you will finish your to-do list or that you will stay away from your phone while you’re at work. You’ll soon notice a big difference and your boss will too.
Originally published at facilethings.com.