Working from home is seriously one of the best things, but it can also become a slippery slope into never getting dressed or seeing another human for days. To avoid the pitfalls of working from home I knew I had to implement a schedule. While I’m not a very regimented person in general, having a schedule helps me stay on task, but also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I can consistently cross things off my list throughout the day. I’m also slightly obsessed with how routines and habits shape our every day lives. If you’re interested too, here’s some great insight into how that happens.
Making detailed lists accomplishes three things: it provides out an outline for what needs to be accomplished for the day, delivers satisfaction when a list item gets crossed off and helps me to not forget even the smallest tasks that need to get accomplished. Every morning I start my day with my to-do notepad and write out a very detailed list of everything I need to get done that day (including home tasks like laundry and taking out the trash). For me, this is the most effective strategy I use throughout the work day to stay on task and get things accomplished.
Assign Certain Tasks to Certain Parts of the Day
Example: The mornings are when I catch up on email and do all my social media networking, updates, replies, and a review of today’s posts. The afternoons are usually for projects, website updates, planning, copywriting, etc. And the evenings are again for catching up with email and checking up on the social posts of the day. Organizing my workflow and tasks into certain parts of the day keeps me focused on what I’m doing.
Keep A Detailed Calendar
In my calendar, you’ll find daily life tasks such as laundry, or unload the dishwasher, right alongside what I need to do for work. Planning out the balance between my workload and life chores helps me manage my time and minimize stress. In college, I loved using paper planners to write down assignments and keep track of my schedule. Today I use a combination of Gmail calendar alerts and this weekly planner I picked up at Target.
Track Your Hours
This goes along with making lists, staying on scheduled and keeping a detailed calendar. Since I work for several clients throughout the day it’s important that I’m on top of my hours so that I can bill accurately. I researched a lot of different websites and apps that help with tracking projects, billing and work hours and my favorite one is MyHours.com. You can organize by client, project, and task and assign rates to each project. At the end of the month, it exports into an easily customizable spreadsheet. It’s also helpful when learning how to quote future projects because it lines up exactly how many hours it takes to accomplish it. I use the free verision, but if you’re a part of a team and need to assign tasks to different people there’s also the pro version which is only $3 per month.
I know this post is all about creating a schedule, but remaining flexible throughout the day helps me stay less stressed. If something pops up with work that needs my immediate attention, or if the dogs get into something they shouldn’t have, knowing that I can rearrange my schedule to take care of what needs to get done and simply working a little later to make up for lost time isn’t a failure, but simply a balancing act to make sure everything is done properly.
Have Scheduled Breaks
Working from home still means you get to take a lunch break! My dogs are pretty great at reminding me to take breaks. They’re always ready for a walk to the park.
What works for you?
Do you work from home? How do you make sure to stay on task and be productive when there are plenty of distractions when working from home?