How to Manage Your Time When Working from Home
April 5, 2022
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by Stephen Kanyi

If you are a remote worker then you have most likely struggled with managing your time and staying focused throughout your workday.

Let’s face it, the home office, for all its perks is not as work conducive/focused as the office. Everything at the office is geared towards making you work faster and longer which is in itself a good thing for the company but not so good for employees. The home though is much cosier.

And I think this is part of the reason most employees given the choice would much rather prefer to work from home. It is closer to family, involves no commute and depending on your employer, has very little supervision. The perks just speak for themselves. So, most workers even after the pandemic won’t be going back to the office, at least not voluntarily.

To work effectively at home however, needs a rethink of the office. Remote workers will have to work harder to create a conducive work environment that will foster better working habits. They will also have to make a greater effort to maintain focus throughout the workday to remain effective for their employers.

Here are some great tips, or rather guidelines to help remote workers manage their workdays more effectively.

Create a Productive Workspace

Your workspace is perhaps your most important asset when it comes to remote working. It’s the space you designate for work alone. It goes without saying that every worker should have one. Your house no matter the size is first a home and as such is not designed for work. That’s why we created offices in the first place.

As a remote worker, your office is at home, and it should look like one. It should have the essentials; a desk, a work dedicated computer, an internet connection, good lighting, ventilation and an ergonomic chair. Most importantly, however, it should be quiet; away from any distractions. This includes the TV, kitchen, your phone and yes, even family.

Create a Schedule

I’ll file this under ‘things you should be already doing in your life anyway but can’t or won’t.” Scheduling or creating a to-do list is one of the most important habits to develop for your life, not just work. It’s the only way to keep track of to-dos and has been done, cause let’s face it there are way too many things to keep track of in life. Everyone needs a system especially with the world becoming more complicated.

I find apps like Todoist and Trello to be helpful in doing this. Personally, I would be lost without Todoist. It just simply works! There is no other way to explain it.

If you are more detailed or work in teams and want to track projects across organizations then Trello is the perfect platform for you. I would also highly recommend Yousuite’s Decks which is very much like Trello but a little bit more visual.

Minimize Distractions

This is a no brainer. Distractions are the antithesis of focus. It doesn’t matter how disciplined you think you are; you should avoid all temptations to do anything but work at your home office. This means putting away all non-work electronics like TV and your personal phone.

Friends and family should also stay away from your workplace. Staying close to your connection is part of the perks that come with working remotely but it has its time. Work and family should be kept separate at all times.

Manage Your Energy

I used to be the type of person who wanted to put in 10-hour straight work shifts at once. But I quickly realized this is impractical, the human body is not designed to work this much for that long, especially when it involves brain work.

Breaks are essential, in fact, I would go on to say they are vital. There is simply no other way to consistently deliver quality work and stay productive throughout the day.

But you have to plan these breaks. I personally recommend the Pomodoro Technique. This is a popular technique used by remote workers globally to stay productive through long working hours. It involves 25-30 minute working sessions with 5 or 10-minute breaks in between. And after about 3 gruelling working hours you get to have a long break of about 15 to 20 minutes.

Ultimately working from home involves creating a balance between work and family. You need a structure that will enable you to manage your time and energy so that you stay productive while also catering for your family.

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