I am a particularly organized person when it comes to time management, but I only realized this when I started working from home. Every day, I get up early, get my work done, and get to doing the things I enjoy once the workday is over. In this, I know I am especially lucky — not everyone is so adept at appropriately utilizing flexible time. Still, anyone can become efficient at managing their time. With the right schedule — and quite a bit of fortitude and perseverance — working from home can work for anyone.
Try Tips and Tricks
Many people struggle to keep a schedule as their real issue is a fundamental lack of motivation. The latter is dramatically more dangerous, considering a dearth of drive will prevent your success in any job. Before you revolutionize your work schedule, you might want to verify that your time management problem isn’t a motivation problem.
Ask “Why?” You probably have a good reason you are doing what you do, and you should focus on that rather than the mundane tasks you must complete.
Get moving. Even if your job isn’t an active one (or, perhaps, especially if it isn’t) you can get your brain revved up by moving your body.
Start with 10. If you can push yourself to work for 10 minutes, you will probably keep going until the job is done.
Find a mantra. Motivational quotes don’t work with everyone, but you might benefit from seeing or repeating a phrase that arouses your ambitious side.
Have a Dedicated Work Space
You will never be able to get into the proper working mindset if your workspace is the same as your play space. Neither the kitchen table nor your bed is a suitable place to set up shop; there are too many non-work-related activities that take place there for your body and mind to focus on the tasks ahead. Instead, you should carve out an earmarked office space where you spend your working hours. It doesn’t matter whether your office takes up an entire spare room or is squeezed into a neglected corner, as long as you can associate working with that spot. You might also want to ask your family and friends to respect your office space and avoid disturbing you while you work.
You might want to do the same with your technology to resist the sometimes overwhelming temptations to kill time. You should purchase dedicated computers (and other necessary devices), and you might even want to create your own website (tips available here) where you can limit your online work.
Work With Your Body
The absolute biggest benefit to working from home is being able to appropriately work around the needs of your mind and body. Traditional nine-to-five work schedules don’t consider how different people have different basic requirements for living; for example, night owls are routinely punished for their genetic sleep patterns due to early morning work hours.
Now that you are in charge of your schedule, you can better respond to your body’s natural rhythms. If you prefer to stay up late and sleep in, you should organize your hours for later in the day — say, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Similarly, you can plan your meal times whenever your body tells you it needs food. When you properly address your body’s needs, your mind can function better and your productivity will soar.
Most workers from home can’t claim the luxury of a regular salary; instead, you probably work hourly or project by project. This can extremely disincentivize breaks, as how much you work directly correlates to how much you get paid. However, breaks are essential to a healthy mindset, especially for the grueling mental work that many workers from home engage in.
Science tells us that the human brain was not built for extended periods of intense focus, and attempting to complete a single task for too long will become exhausting. Without a mental break from your tasks, your overtaxed brain will cause your productivity to plummet and your attitude to go sour. You should schedule a 10-minute break every hour or so to keep your neurons firing fast. You might also reward the completion of important tasks with a few minutes of fresh air.
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