When you work from home, having the ability to “get it all done” is important. We wear many hats and we are constantly juggling between them. I sport the homemaking, homeschooling, work-at-home, wife, and mom hats (and probably more, that I can’t think of).
Most of us have similar obligations that we can’t change, but we want to find a better way of managing our time. We want to be as effective in each “hat” we wear as we can.
Three Steps That Help Manage Time Better
Designate Your Time
The most important thing that has helped me to manage my time better is to have designated time slots for my day. When I try to work a little here and a little there, or worse, when I try to work while helping one of my kids with their work, what winds up happening is both tasks get half attention, and nothing is done as well as it could be.
Designating time for work, errands, cooking, etc., will ensure you are giving your full attention to one thing at a time. It will have your undivided attention and be done to the best of your ability.
You’ll also notice that you will get more done in a shorter amount of time. When you have a limited amount of time to work, you are more focused because of the time constraints and therefore more productive.
Prepare the Night Before
Try to be prepared for the next day…the night before. By this I mean write a list of things to do for the next day. Put your files in order on your desk with the most important things on top. That way, if your mind is groggy as you begin work, you will already know what needs to be done without having to think too hard about it.
I often use sticky notes. I even go so far as to write messages to myself and stick them to my laptop screen. When I open it the next morning, there it is to greet me and tell me how to start my work day. Do whatever you need to do to be prepared for the next day in advance so you’ll have time to get it all done.
So you’ve gotten your “to do” list ready the night before and designated what hours you’ll spend on each task, but suddenly there’s an emergency and all your well laid plans go out the door. What now?
Be flexible and know that the best plans may not always work out. Especially when you wear so many hats. If you couldn’t get to a task today, write it down for tomorrow. Be willing to make detours. Know that your kids or other responsibilities may require more attention some days than others.
Being flexible also means that the plans you made the night before may change suddenly the next day. Maybe you put writing a blog post at the top of your “to do” list for the next morning, but you awake to find one of your previous posts has gone viral overnight and your hosting can’t handle the traffic.
All others plans will probably be put on the back burner until you figure out that hosting issue. And that’s okay. Being flexible means knowing when to put your time and energy into something that wasn’t planned.
I hope these easy steps will help you become more productive as you manage your time.
What are some tips YOU have for managing your time better?
Share in the comments below!
Jennifer Renee blogs at OrganizedHomeOrganizedSchool.com. Her focus is not only on organizing and caring for the home, but also caring for and organizing homeschool, marriage, parenting, business, fitness, and other areas of life that need just as much TLC. She also encourages moms that they can be stay-at-home moms on a small budget and gives practical steps to achieve a balanced work-at-home and homeschooling life. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.