16 September 2009

Time Management: Tips for Working from Home

Working from home sounds really glamorous. The luxury of working in your pajamas, in front of the TV, without a manager to shut down your work habits.

Well, it's not as easy as it's cracked up to be, unless you are really disciplined. Working from home and getting actual work completed requires copious amounts of discipline and self-control. At least if you are me.

I've learned from a number of sources how to keep yourself in check, while still knocking out that to-do list, catching your favorite TV shows, cooking dinner, and spending time with loved ones -- away from working.

I've started setting up a schedule for myself. If I don't I'd turn into a 400lb sloth. Seriously.

8:30 - wake up (at least try to)
8:30 - 9:00 - breakfast and check e-mail
9:15 - leave for the gym
9:30-10:30 - Gym time
11:00 - 12:00 -  check and answer e-mail
12:00 - lunch
12:30 - 3:30 - complete set project (freelance, photo projects, blogging)
3:45 - 5:00 - errands
5:30 - start dinner
6:00 - 10:00 - time with hubby
10:00 - 10:45 - plan to-do list

I'd say my block of time between 12:30 and 5 is interchangeable. For example, I might do errands earlier in the day, while I my complete projects later. Either way, between those hours, I try to knock out my to-do list.

Another great tip for getting things done (I have yet to read that book, but it's been highly recommended), is writing down the list of things to do. And being specific. With steps. It really does help. And keeping that list in front of your face, or at least accessible for the duration of the day. For me, written to-do lists do wonders.

I admit that I watch TV most of the day while I'm at home. I use it mostly for background noise, since I'm home all day by myself. I usually tune it to something I won't pay attention to like Lifetime movies. Unless it's sucks me in. Well, then you start over. Or, if you are me, head to Starbucks.

My schedule is definitely not cut and dry. It's more fluid. But if I stay within these loosely placed bounds, I'm able to get more work done.

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