Do you work from home or wish you could but don’t know how you could manage your time? Learning how to manage your time when working from home is key to being successful in the business industry.
While your decision to work from home provides an opportunity to be free from the hassles of the traditional work setting, it also means that your sense of discipline and time management skills will be put to the test.
You have to know exactly how to manage your time so that you can work from home effectively.
Also, so you can overcome the new challenges introduced by this venture not only into your professional life but also into your personal life. Some challenges that you might encounter are the following:
Challenges of Working From Home
Risk Of Overworking
One reason why a lot of managers do not favor remote work is that they are afraid that their employees will slack off.
It is because no one will be around to supervise them in person. In most cases, though, the opposite happens in the sense that several remote workers are at a higher risk of getting overworked.
Note that if your work and personal life are under one roof (at home), switching off in order to manage your time might be hard. You might find it challenging to determine when you should start and end your workday.
Also, working for yourself might also cause you to be in an unlimited sales mode, which is pretty exhausting.
You will also be at risk of overworking yourself as you might handle most of your daily tasks on your own. You might be unable to delegate it to someone else, unlike when you are in a traditional work setting.
This can significantly increase your workload, especially if your home-based business starts to grow and gain momentum.
You will be at risk of doing all repetitive and mundane tasks. These include administrative and operational activities.
Feelings Of Loneliness
While technology gives you the chance to connect using your PC or any other gadget, it also prevents you from the essential social contact humans need. Sometimes, talking on the phone or other means won’t be enough, thereby making you feel alone.
Also, your monotonous working from home routine might cause you to feel lonely at times. This is especially true if you are someone who loves to have personal interaction.
Lack Of Work-life Balance
Having a successful home-based business might also mean that you might have to neglect the need to spend quality time with your loved ones at times. It is because your success in this venture also translates to the need to dedicate more time to operate your business.
Also, remember that working from home requires relentless dedication which definitely involves the ability to manage your time as well.
In fact, there are times when you need to work up to twenty hours a day. The amount of time you need to invest in this venture can have a negative impact on your work-life balance.
Plenty Of Distractions
Working from home also means that you will be dealing with a lot of distractions which won’t let you manage your time as effectively as you need to. These include your children playing around the house and loud music from your neighborhood, among many others.
You might also be distracted by friends or relatives who tend to visit unannounced and think that you have a lot of time to entertain them.
While you can’t avoid all the interruptions and distractions from your loved ones, neighbors, pets, friends, etc., you have to be clear about the specific interruptions that you should accept during your work schedule. Also, determine which ones need to wait.
Other challenges that you might encounter are time zone differences with clients and suppliers, communication issues, time management struggles, and loss of productivity.
While there is a lot of work-from-home struggles, you still have a great chance of making your home-based business grow by knowing exactly how to approach this venture correctly.
In addition, you need to be aware of some effective time management tips so you can be productive all the time while maintaining a work-life balance.
Here are some effective solutions on how to manage your time in the work-from-home industry.
Build An Effective Work-From-Home Routine
Excellent time management skills are essential if you want to develop an effective working-from-home routine. To develop a dependable and easy-to-follow schedule, you might want to follow these tips:
Set A Consistent Schedule For Waking Up Every Day
Make sure that the time you wake up each day is the same. Note that working from home might tempt you to ignore your alarm clock. However, you should remind yourself that having a solid schedule for sleeping and waking up is still important.
It is the key to regulating your internal body clock. The good thing about following your internal clock is that it has a positive impact not only on your mood and diet but also on your heart function.
Also, ensuring that you stay on track with your regular schedule for sleeping and waking up can set the tone for your entire day. This can also have a positive influence on all aspects related to your work and personal life.
Set Your Work Hours
Another way to create an effective work-from-home schedule is to set your work hours right from the start.
However, remember that while it is easy to tell yourself when you should work, there are instances when you need to schedule your freelancing job at unconventional hours.
Consider this and decide on a work schedule that is most convenient for you, do this before you ever start your home-based business.
Note that it is crucial to have a routine to stick to and a motivating work structure at home. This will go a long way to help manage your time.
Furthermore, remember that in the work-from-home industry, you can gain clients based on your ability to complete a job well and effectively.
You have to look at the projects assigned to you based on how you should perceive them – like your job. Doing that will help you gain clients who are willing to trust and pay you for your service.
Begin Your Day The Right Way
You can do that by setting good morning routines. Note that your morning routines help signal to your brain that it is time to work. It also gives you enough time to collect your thoughts prior to plunging into your daily tasks.
Some of the great morning routines that you can develop if you work from home include getting dressed, meditating or writing in your gratitude journal, and exercising.
Set A Plan To Change Your Environment
One of the most effective work-from-home tips is to change your scenery or environment from time to time. Remember that sitting in your house the entire day can make you feel lonely and dull.
You might struggle with focus and concentration. In some cases, this problem arises just because of work distractions and a dull feeling that you can beat by taking a break and looking at a different scenery.
Use A Planner
Create a daily or weekly plan with the help of a planner. Your planner could be either in a hard copy planner or a smartphone app.
Write down your to-do list in your planner so you will clearly know what you need to do for a specific period (for instance, within the day or week).
Make sure you begin working on the tasks right away. When building a good work-from-home routine, remember that planning and managing time effectively is a great stress reliever.
It is also the key to developing an effective working day and week structure even if you are a home-based worker.
Set Up Reminders For Real Breaks
Do not forget to include a real break in your daily routine. For instance, your to-do list should include taking a walk in your schedule.
You need it to breathe and prevent yourself from getting too overwhelmed with all your tasks. It will also prevent you from experiencing boredom, which is often a cause of procrastination.
If possible, set up a few minutes (around 3-5 minutes) to take a break from what you are doing every hour or so.
Apart from the tips mentioned above on how to manage your time while working from home, you also need to ensure that your established routine works for you.
Decide On Your Priorities
When it comes to learning how to manage your time while working at home, it is necessary to understand how you can set priorities, especially in terms of your work.
As a remote worker, you have to be a self-motivated expert in managing time effectively. It is because no one will constantly look over your work or manage your time for you.
Yes, it is true that each employee encounters challenges when trying to stick to their daily schedule. Some even struggle to manage and accomplish their to-do lists.
This makes learning some expert time management tips all the more important for remote workers because the whole process is more challenging.
As a home-based worker, you will experience challenges on how to schedule your time because you will have more free-form days and flexibility.
Aside from having a hard time managing and prioritizing your own work at home, you will also be tempted to delay your tasks in exchange for leisure and entertainment (like watching your favorite show).
This is the main reason why one of the essential work-from-home tips that you have to be aware of is setting your priorities.
One way to do that is to have a limit on the number of tasks that you should do every day. Avoid unnecessary tasks, especially those that waste too much of your time.
You also have to figure out how to rank your tasks based on priority. In addition, you should use tools and apps that can limit distractions and help you focus on the task at hand. One more tip that can help you set priorities is to try managing both your energy.
Make sure that you do not push yourself too much to the point that you can no longer restore your waning energy. It helps if you are self-aware and know exactly how much tasks you can tolerate and tackle each day.
Your goal here is to preserve your energy, so you will not end up getting too exhausted to finish all your planned tasks.
Know How To Handle Interruptions At Home
While it is impossible for you to prevent all interruptions surrounding your home and neighborhood, there are still ways to handle them without hurting your productivity.
When it comes to interruptions from people, you can actually handle these by setting up some sort of signal, which informs them that you are already in focus mode.
Set aside a room or space in your home to do your tasks, and do not forget to put a do not disturb sign once you start working.
You also have to try explaining to them why you need to prevent them from interrupting you during your work hours. Tell them that this might break your concentration, making it even harder to tackle your work.
If you have young kids, it might be necessary to get help in taking care of them, unless you set your work schedule during the time when they are asleep.
Training your kids and loved ones to be independent and keep themselves occupied while you are focusing on your job can also help.
It is also advisable to maintain a consistent work schedule. Avoid answering personal calls, chats, and emails during your work hours. You might also want to escape from all the interruptions from time to time.
You can do that by working in a coffee shop or a library if you really struggle to deal with all the distractions and interruptions at home.
Make Use Of An Effective Time-tracking App
If you are struggling on how to schedule your time while working from home, a time-tracking app can be the ultimate solution.
You need a high-quality app, which is compatible with your priorities and needs. With the help of a good time-tracking app, you can figure out right away if you work from home efficiently.
Aside from helping you with how to manage to work from home, you can also use your chosen app to determine the most suitable billing methods based on the number of hours you worked.
These apps can help you track your work hours in a more reliable manner. Before using them, make sure that you already know whether you want to work at a fixed rate or on an hourly basis. This is also a key in identifying the most suitable mode of payment and time tracking application for you.
Also, consider your personal life, family responsibilities, and usual errands and chores in figuring out what work habits will work for you.
Work During Your Most Productive Hours
You cannot expect your motivation to work to remain strong the entire day. It will flow and die off gradually.
If you are a home-based worker, it is even more important to be aware of when your productivity and motivation flow and wane, so you can schedule your activities based on it.
To make the most out of your most productive hours, consider scheduling hard tasks there. Determine the hours each day when you feel the most unmotivated and unproductive and put the easy tasks there.
That way, you can build your momentum and ensure that you save your productive hours for heavy and difficult projects and tasks.
Limit The Time You Spend On Social Media
If you can’t avoid social media because you need access to it to do your daily tasks then consider limiting the amount of time you spend there.
Your goal is to be intentional when using your time on social media. A wise tip is to block out your news feed.
Set blocks of time that only focus on your tasks.
For instance, you can just dedicate around 15 to 20 minutes to reply to messages or comments or contact your potential clients. You might also limit around 30 to 60 minutes of your time to join groups or attend to calls and meetings.
Socializing and interacting with other people should also form part of your regular schedule. Devote some of your time daily to interact with others..
Keep in mind that your decision to work from home might have the tendency of isolating you from the outside world.
It would be hard to plan for after-work drinks with your colleagues because you don’t see them personally. This can have a huge toll on your productivity because it can make you feel lonely and isolated.
To prevent that, you have to organize social meet-ups with your friends from time to time. Socializing on a regular basis is a big help in managing time management struggles when working from home.
Contrary to what others believe, working from home is not that easy. In fact, you will be dealing with a lot of frustrations and struggles, especially when managing your time and setting your priorities. Still, you have a better chance of handling all of them by being prepared.
Learn some tips on how to work from home effectively and you will be on your way towards being successful in this venture and becoming a pro in time management.
Do you think you can apply these tips to your work at home job schedule? Share your thoughts with us!