Learning how to manage time effectively is crucial to getting anything done. This is true in any line of work. It’s even more true when working from home.
Here are some tips on how to manage time effectively when working from home.
Beware of Your Time Leeches
The biggest time management issue most of us face is social media and other distractions.
That second you turn that computer on in the morning, all geared up to work, your plans become derailed. Soon it’s noon. So far you’ve watched cat videos and argued politics on Twitter.
I don’t know about you, but I’m much better with time management when the computer is off. 🙂 Unfortunately, as a web designer and writer, I have to turn the thing on from time to time to get work done.
One helpful solution has been to use apps that block social media part of the day. There’s a Firefox plugin called Leechblock or Stay Focused on Google Chrome. Both of these extensions allow me to block time-wasting websites for certain hours of the day.
How to Manage Time Effectively with Distraction Free Idea Generation
Another productivity tool for me has been to keep good notes on ideas. I tend to get a little ADHD when it comes to an idea. I’ve had to learn not to drop the task at hand to pursue a new idea, but rather keep a running list on ideas to act upon.
I store these ideas in my Evernote app in a notebook stack called “Someday”. I’ve written in another post about how I create Evernote notebooks and notes according to priority to keep me on task.
When it comes to figuring out how to manage time effectively, having a way to store ideas is a huge help. You need to figure out what to do with your ideas until you’re ready to use them. Evernote can help with that.
How to Manage Time Effectively with Better Planner Systems
Having a complicated paper planner system sitting on my desk didn’t do much for me. Instead, I either use a plain cheap notebook with checklists. Or better yet, I use a free app called Evernote to not only keep me on task but also cut out paper clutter. Otherwise, I wound up with stacks of notebooks and index cards cluttering up my workspace.
Go for Planner systems that work best for your needs. Thankfully, many fellow work from home moms have made some great planners too.
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How to Manage Time Effectively by Keeping your End Goal in Mind
Over the last few years, I’ve made a list of annual goals I want to do. I have them written down on the chalkboard in front of my desk. Every time I look up, there they are. I have a more detailed mission statement and goals store in Evernote.
At the top, I’ve written a question:
Does what I’m doing RIGHT NOW fit my goals for this year?
I may not get each item done this year (though each year I’ve gotten better and better. Last year I had an 80% success rate), but I will move closer towards those goals.
How to Manage Time Effectively by Clustering Your Work
Working in batches is a big help. Batch work is another secret to how to manage time effectively. If you cluster similar work together in batches, you get more done in less time.
I love to make cute graphics in my posts so that my readers can pin them or share them as an encouragement on Facebook. Yet, if I were to stop what I was doing in the middle of writing, I’d get lost. As soon as I start playing with Photoshop, well, I’d wind up distracted again.
Knowing this is an issue for me, I cluster my work. One day a week, I plan out what I’m going to write about. Another day I do my actual writing. On yet another day, I create graphics.
I work optimally when I find my stride, so clustering works best for me.
How to Manage Time Effectively using Apps to Save Time
Your time is valuable.
If you’re like most work from home moms, you probably know this in your head, but in practice, you act as though it isn’t. Listen, part of understanding the value of your time is investing in the tools that will help you make the most of your time.
For example, I use tools like Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest postings. This saves me time and keeps me from getting distracted on Pinterest too often. Buffer helps me share content on my social media without bombarding my readers all at once. I mostly use that for related articles from other sources.
Saving Time by Only Working on the Projects and Posts most likely to Succeed
By doing keyword research before I write an ebook or create a new product, I can see if this idea has the potential for profit. I’m not all about profit, but it is discouraging to work on something that goes nowhere. Longtail Pro helps me keep that from happening.
Saving Time by Streamlining Keyword Research
When I use an app like LongTail Pro to find good longtail keywords, instead of something like Google’s Keyword Research tool, it takes less time and less work to find good keywords. In many ways, it also saves me money, as I don’t have to pay for advertising. I get far more hits with organic searches with good longtail keywords.
So, to find apps to save you time, think about those time-consuming tasks you have to participate in, and look for automation apps to cut back on the time it takes you.