Managing a work-life balance can be challenging, but it is especially important when working from home, something that is becoming increasingly common. Time management skills, like you’ll learn about here, can help you manage working from home and spending time doing things you enjoy.
With the following ten tips, Office Upgraded hopes to help you achieve a flexible schedule, a productive work life, and happy times at home.
- Start each day with a plan: While you may not think that you have time to plan, planning can actually save you time in the long run. Instead of going about your day in a haphazard manner, planning what you actually need to accomplish will be more effective.
Make it a goal to start each day with a plan – you can use a planning app, or an old-fashioned list. Either way, having a plan allows you to focus on the important things.
- An important part of having a plan is having a realistic to-do list: Focus on your top ten important tasks. Be those work, home, or fun, taking time to make a realistic and achievable list will help you have a better work-life balance.
When your lists become too long, it is hard to stay focused. Utilize a reusable notebook or planner, like some of the ones included on our list of smart notebooks.
- Along with managing your to-do list, and keeping it down to a maintainable level, you need to learn to say no: Whether you feel bad about taking time off from work or missing your home life, overcommitting only leads to problems. Learning to say ‘no’ involves figuring out what your priorities are and what is important. While it is important to be productive and involved at work, sometimes, it is important to say no. If you can’t fit something into your schedule, don’t commit to it.
Of course, as with everything, there needs to be a balance. Getting your job done well is important!
- If you say no to something, but it still needs to be done, a great way to maintain a work-life balance is to delegate tasks. While many people tend to micromanage, focusing on getting everything done themselves, sometimes delegating is easier and more successful. Try to work collaboratively, both at work and at home. Working on a team is one of the best ways to manage your time and reduce the stress of getting things done.
- If you have successfully managed to plan your day, say no, and delegate tasks, but are still running out of time, your phone may be to blame. Everyone with a smartphone, myself included, could work on spending less time on the phone. If you have every checked your phone’s screen time tracker, you may have been shocked to have realized that you spent two hours scrolling through Instagram before bed. That Netflix show you were watching? Another hour and a half. Social media and TV are some of the biggest culprits of distraction and wasted time during the day.
There are a number of great resources to help solve this problem. Most iPhones allow you to set app limits, or there are apps like Freedom, Moment, and ZenScreen that will limit your screen time for you.
If you ever find yourself needing more time, check on your screen time, and turn off your phone.
- Social media isn’t always the only culprit to wasted time. A sneakier, and harder to avoid, app may be taking up valuable moments of your day. Try to turn off your email: Whenever you have the chance, be that 15 or 20 minutes at a time, turn off your email notifications and focus on your work.
Constant interruptions and stress from distractions, new tasks, or requests and email notifications can have an extremely negative effect on your productivity. Learning to step away and take a break from the constant connectivity that permeates everyday life will make a huge difference in managing your work-life balance.
The same applies to other work apps: Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Team. While these may be great ways to connect, especially when working from home, they aren’t always beneficial to have on.
- While there are many jobs that have a set schedule, if you work remotely and have flexible hours, work on your flexibility. Establishing more flexible hours is becoming increasingly popular with many companies, and helps promote a work-life balance. Have a doctor’s appointment? No problem, take an hour off and pick back up with your work after. Need to bring a child to school in the morning? Spend a little extra time in the evening checking emails.
While working on flexibility is challenging, and will take some practice, it is a great way to improve your work-life balance and avoid sacrificing your home life for your work life, and vice versa.
- And finally, a few fun ways to improve your time management skills. Take mini breaks: Working at a constant pace from 9-5 can be a challenge. There are many rules out there (20 minutes working, 5 minute break, 30 minutes working, 10 minute break); find the one that works best for you, and stick to it. By working and focusing for a set period of time, and then giving yourself a quick break to use the restroom, check your phone, or grab a snack, you are much more likely to complete the tasks at hand.
- Indulge in your hobbies: Hobbies can help relax the mind and relieve stress, something especially important when working from home. It is important to pursue activities that make you happy.
Whether those activities be cooking, exercising, watching movies, or learning something new – block out time for them. Spending all your time working isn’t healthy – a balanced lifestyle is.
- And, take a vacation: Sometimes a change of pace is exactly what the doctor ordered. Take advantage of the vacation time or sick days your job gives you, and spend some time relaxing. Spend time with family and friends, or explore a new place by yourself. However you choose to spend your vacation, make sure you get one.
Managing your time involves both big and small steps, from things as simple as a manageable to-do list to things like a vacation. However, incorporating even one of these suggestions into your work life is sure to help encourage you to become more productive, manage your time more effectively, and spend time doing things you love.
Check out the concise list below, and keep exploring Office Upgraded:
- Start each day with a plan
- Have a realistic to-do list
- Learn to say no
- Spend less time on the phone
- Turn off your email
- Work on your flexibility
- Take mini breaks
- Indulge in your hobbies
- Take a vacation
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