Work From Home
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lgnome/5852037766/

For those of us that work from home we are faced with constant distractions pulling us away from what we are supposed to be doing.  In fact the reason that a lot of us work from home is to have the flexibility to spend time with our family, watch an episode of days of our lives when we want and to have those sleep ins and afternoon naps as the mood strikes.

What most of us don’t realize is that all of these lifestyle luxuries available at our fingertips it is increasingly easy to procrastinate on what is required from our businesses and ultimately what is required for us to be afforded these luxuries in the long run.  So I have put together a list of tips that will help you to achieve that balanced lifestyle that so many of us desire.

Tip No 1 – Have a Shower and Get Dressed

I realize that many of us wanted to exit the corporate world and trade our suits and corporate attire for tracksuit pants and shorts.  But you will be amazed at the difference if when you get up in the morning you treat going to your home office like any other office.  Yes this includes putting on suitable office attire after your shave and shower and may seem pointless.  However I have found that when doing this I have started my day feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to tackle my daily work.

Tip No 2 – Get a Calendar and Stick To It  

I am sure that most of us with the advent of technologies such as the iPhone and Android equivalents have access to our calendars pretty much wherever we go.  Unfortunately when working from home we don’t have anyone breathing down our necks and forcing us to stick to them.  It is very easy to wake up in the morning and log into your calendar and simply shift your schedule to later on in the week where you promise yourself that you will be feeling more motivated on Thursday instead of a Monday morning.  I like to call this “virtual procrastination” and I am sure that most of you will know the saying that ‘procrastination is the thief of time’ – well let me tell you truer words have never been spoken

Tip No 3 – Create a Detailed Task List And You Guessed It – Stick To It

Many times we will be working on larger assignments that can be broken down into many smaller components.  So if we have a deadline for a larger project in our calendar you guessed it it’s time to break this down into smaller more manageable tasks that we can check off.  The goal here is the small tasks will be far less daunting and easier to check off.  The secret here is to go as micro as you can manage as ticking items off the list will give you a sense of satisfaction and motivate you to keep going.

Tip No 4 – Limit the Amount of Times You Check Your Email

Most of us have our emails open constantly and it’s pretty hard to not notice and look over when we have a notification of a new email coming through.  If you are anything like me you feel the urge to look at the email immediately and if the message requires you to complete a task you jump straight into it and you lose your focus on what you were doing.  Hopping your attention back and forth between tasks like this is infinitely less productive than remaining focused and seeing something through until you can check it off your To-Do list.  The rule that I like to work with in that regard is checking emails first thing in the morning, at lunch time and then at 4pm.  This allows me to catch any important emails that require attention that day without disappointing my customers.  The rest of the day my email is turned completely off, don’t worry the world is not going to stop if you don’t read an email right away.

Tip No 5 – Schedule Time to Reward Yourself

All of us have goals and these need to be broken down into smaller more manageable tasks for us to be constantly working on achieving those goals.  Although we gain satisfaction from ticking tasks off our list, sometimes we need to incentivize ourselves further.  Find some time in your calendar to schedule some time for yourself to do whatever it is that you like to do.  And set yourself a benchmark to achieve in order to do this thing that you really want to do and make sure you make it achievable but challenging.  Stick to your challenge, if you don’t achieve what you set out to then don’t reward yourself, instead use the time to finish off your incomplete tasks.  This is very challenging at first to deny yourself your favorite activity or your afternoon nap.  However once you do it once I bet you will not fail to reach your milestone the next time around.

What tips do you have for managing your time efficiently when working from home?

No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs
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