9 Time Management While Working From Home

Remote work time management
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The nature of work has changed. Studies show that today, anywhere between 25-50% of Americans work from home, at least part-time. And while some of this shift is due to AI helping us accomplish more work more efficiently, society is also becoming more conscious of a healthy work-life balance.

Once a place of escape and relaxation, the home has become a primary environment for our professional endeavors. This shift makes it all the more important to manage our time effectively. Work-life balance is essential, but companies want to see productivity remain high so they don’t lose money.

How can you make the most of your time while working from home? In this article, we’ll share 12 tips and techniques to help you boost your time management skills and increase your productivity.


WFH Time Management Tips

1. Set specific daily goals

Begin each day by establishing clear, actionable objectives. Tailor these to your professional priorities.

Specificity is critical. Define your goals and break large tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Setting specific goals provides a roadmap for success, guiding your focus and efforts throughout the day. Whether completing a project milestone, reaching a sales target, or mastering a new skill, having tangible goals fuels motivation and enhances productivity.

It may be helpful to use the SMART outline as you create your goals. Make sure they are:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time-based.

Review and adjust your goals to remain relevant and aligned with your objectives.

2. Create a dedicated workspace

Designate a specific area within your home solely for work-related activities. Keep it clear of distractions, choose a comfortable chair, ensure proper lighting, and organize essential tools and materials within arm’s reach.

Setting up a dedicated workspace at home is critical for those in graphic design, web development, computer science, or other technical fields. Your company should provide all the technology you need; if they don’t, ask your supervisor for assistance.

You’re doing yourself a favor by creating physical boundaries between work and leisure — when you’re in your work area, it signals to your brain that it’s time to focus on work. Establishing a dedicated workspace also helps maintain routine and professionalism, even in a remote environment.

3. Establish a routine/schedule

Establishing a daily routine or schedule will help you allocate time effectively and prioritize tasks accordingly. Start by defining working hours that align with your natural rhythms and energy levels, then incorporate regular breaks to recharge and maintain focus throughout the day. Schedule specific blocks of time for checking emails, attending meetings, and tackling projects.

Adhering to a consistent schedule cultivates discipline. As you establish a predictable rhythm, you’ll optimize your productivity and workflow.

4. Use productivity apps

Numerous productivity apps can help you manage tasks, track time, and collaborate with colleagues efficiently. Your employer will likely already use or recommend certain apps; if they don’t, look for features like reminders, calendar integration, and collaboration tools.

Here are several apps to consider:

5. Prioritize tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix prioritizes tasks based on urgency and importance. It helps you decide where to invest your time and energy.

To use the matrix, divide your work into four categories:

  • Urgent and important;
  • Important but not urgent;
  • Urgent but not important;
  • Neither urgent nor important.

6. Practice the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management method that breaks work into intervals. These intervals are typically 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks.

Here’s how to use the technique:

  • Start by setting a timer for a single Pomodoro interval. Focus solely on a specific task until the timer rings.
  • After completing that interval, take a short break to rest to help you recharge before starting the next interval.
  • Repeat this process, taking longer breaks after every four intervals.

Experiment with different Pomodoro intervals and adapt the technique to suit your workflow and preferences. Incorporating this technique into your routine can enhance concentration and help you accomplish more in less time.

7. Minimize distractions

You must identify familiar sources of distraction in your work environment — like notifications from social media, interruptions from family members, or environmental noise — and take steps to minimize their impact.

Give the following a try:

  • Use noise-canceling headphones.
  • Use a website blocker to limit distractions during focused work sessions.
  • Establish boundaries with colleagues or family members regarding your availability.
  • Designate specific times for checking emails.
  • Identify specific times to engage in non-work-related activities to prevent distractions.

8. Set good boundaries

Working from home might make boundaries feel irrelevant. But that’s not the case.

Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to maintain balance and prevent burnout. It’s not your manager’s job, or your family’s, to set your availability expectations — it’s yours!

There are several ways to set reasonable boundaries:

  • Communicate your availability and working hours to colleagues, clients, and family members.
  • Designate a specific space in your home for work-related tasks (see #3 above).
  • Turn off your notifications when you are not working.
  • Learn to say no to requests or commitments that conflict with your boundaries and assertively enforce them to protect your well-being.
  • Regularly evaluate and adjust your boundaries to accommodate changes in your workload or personal circumstances.

Setting good boundaries creates a supportive framework for managing your time effectively and maintaining overall health and happiness.

9. Take breaks, move, and have fun

Studies show that sitting for long periods can wreak havoc on your health. Incorporate breaks into your workday to rest and recharge.

Stand up, stretch, and move around periodically to combat the effects of prolonged sitting and improve circulation. Schedule breaks throughout the day to step away from work and engage in activities promoting relaxation and stress relief.

Having fun is also something we can neglect when we work from home because we don’t get to build an in-person community with a team. It’s tempting to think that fun at work is a distraction, but the reality is that in-person teams often have fun when they see each other while on the job.

Here’s an example from the Patel Firm celebrating National Pizza Day:

Tip to get better at time management while working from home: Take breaks, move, and have fun
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The staff at Curiel and Runion started a humorous petition to get emotional support animals in the office.

Tip to get better at time management while working from home: Take breaks, move, and have fun
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Why shouldn’t you have fun working from home, too? Talk with your supervisor to figure out what you can do for fun to keep up your energy and productivity. Is it a once-a-month, in-person lunch with your team? Maybe it’s Zoom hangouts that aren’t work-related?

Whatever you and your team decide, having fun together will benefit your mental health and increase your short- and long-term productivity.

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