5 Ways to Manage Your Time When You Work at Home

Wake up early, get dressed, grab a quick breakfast and rush out the door to sit in traffic on your way to work. Blah. Nobody likes doing this. It’s a waste of gas, money and precious time. That’s why over 10 percent of the U.S. employees are now working from home. You probably think they’re living the dream right? No boss man, lots of pajama time, eat and take breaks whenever you want to… sounds like a fantasy. However, it isn’t always so easy and great for everyone. Many people tend to lose the structure they had when they worked outside of the home, making it harder to be successful in their endeavors. Let’s not keep focused on the negatives though, let’s take a look at how you can keep being that productive working person you were in the office, at home.

1. Set A Schedule and Stick To It

One of the best things about working from home is being able to define your own office hours. However, the worst thing you can do is neglect to set these hours and work randomly through the day or week. Of course, you don’t have to work from 9-5, that’s the beauty of being at home. If you are more of a night owl, you can set your hours at night. Whatever times work best for you, block it aside for work and stick to that routine. When you don’t have a work schedule set, you’ll find that you’re pulling a lot of “all nighters” trying to get things done at the last minute and you’ll quickly get burnt out.

2. Make Sure the interruptions are at a minimum

Interruptions happen a lot at home. It’s a big challenge for those who work at home. Having your home or home office space treated as a work place is very difficult. But if you worked in an office, you wouldn’t be interrupted by family and pets would you? Sit down and talk to everyone around you about how important it is for you not to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary during working hours so that you can get your work done. Make sure they understand so that you can do your job efficiently and be able to spend your off hours with them.

3. Have a set workspace and keep it clean

Having a set work space is incredibly important. You want to be in an area that is free of distractions, quiet and free of clutter. Maybe have a desk somewhere or set up a room as an office. Decorate the area with things that motivate you and make you feel at ease.

Maybe even have a plant in there. Several studies have shown that having a plant in your office space will increase productivity and make you feel more energetic. This happens because the plant essentially cleans the air in the room. Not to mention, plants look great in the way of décor.

Aside from decorating the area, make sure you keep it clean. You don’t want a bunch of mess and clutter getting in your way and distracting you. Keep everything organized for your own benefit. Not to mention, having a mess of food and old mugs isn’t great for your health. Your desk can collect 400 times more bacteria than your toilet seat, and you certainly wouldn’t want to use that as a desk!

4. Take breaks at regular intervals

It isn’t hard to get completely sucked in to your work every day. How often have you forgotten to get up and get some lunch? It isn’t uncommon to spend around 5 hours a day staring at the computer screen, this can make you feel drained and lethargic. It’s also not good for your eyes. Don’t forget to stop and take breaks at regular times through out the day. Get something to eat, stretch your legs, take a bathroom break. It’s good for you, so schedule it in your work day. These breaks will help you to avoid getting burned out.

5. When Office Hours are over, Stop working

Just because you can work everywhere, doesn’t mean you should. Once you’ve reached the end of your office hours, stop working. It’s okay to be done for the day. There may be times when you need to work a little longer to meet a deadline, but don’t make a habit out of it.

Having a balance between home and work life is very important. If you don’t have enough time outside of work, you can get burnt out. If you don’t spend enough time working, you get behind and productivity slows. Balance is everything when working from home.

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