Utilize these essential work-at-home time management strategies to make you feel less stressed, more organized and motivated each day.
If you’re feeling constantly harried and your schedule seems out of control, here are seven stress-freeing time management strategies for work-at-home folks that are sure to help keep your priorities (and family schedule) straight, once and for all.
It’s true many work-at-home folks are feeling harried and stressed out nowadays. In fact, it feels like there’s not even enough time in a day to complete one or even two critical tasks.
Believe me when I say, you aren’t alone.
The fact is, we are pulled in a 101 directions, sometimes all at once, and getting just the “basics” done in a day, especially when we work from home is quite the chore.
So how can you improve on the good you already do and not create added stress and strain to your day that is seeming being taxed more and more?
It’s a matter of getting down and dirty with time management.
Now I’m not talking about clocking yourself, although using a timer to help you compartmentalize your tasks isn’t a bad idea. But what I’m referring to is a frame of mind and reference to help you feel better while tackling those things that need to get done.
And, with the help of the following seven time management strategies, you’ll soon be back on track to taking control over your life and the lives of your family.
How to Manage Your Time Better While You Work-at-Home
Now, before I list these must-know tips and tricks, keep in mind that making changes to one’s daily structure is a process, not necessarily an endgame.
We’ve got a whole host of obligations pulling at our heartstrings, so it’s best if you make changes little by little so that you’ll feel more in control and less frenetic with trying to take on the whole world—so to speak.
Be happy and encouraged with what changes you do make on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and soon you will find yourself, less stressed out and more mindful of what really matters in your life.
So are you ready to dig in and take the time management plunge? Each day try to:
1. Break Your Day into Smaller Chunks of Time
You might have heard the expression from the Rolling Stones that “Time waits for No One.” Oh, so true. One second you are in the moment and whoosh! it’s gone.
But just because time moves quickly doesn’t mean you have to fight time day in and day out. You just have to manage it to your advantage.
The best way to slow things down is to break your day into smaller more palatable chunks.
So what this looks like is that you break out your day out into sections like: early morning, mid-morning, early afternoon, late-afternoon, etc.
And, within each timeframe, you make note of the tasks you must do on a regular basis; in other words, what you feel is necessary to carry out your responsibilities–whatever they may be–like making meals, going shopping, trekking off to the park and so on, working on the computer, etc.
Using this strategy will give you a clear sense of what “space” you do have left in your day for the “other important stuff” you want and need to do.
The fact is, you if you neglect what is truly important, then everything else will fall short.
Breaking your day into smaller chunks gives credence and validity to the important things in your life.
2. Use a Weekly Goal Setting Planner or Calendar
You will find that you’ll accomplish more when your tasks are “down on paper” so to speak.
Now I get it that you may have a smart phone and that there’s an app for scheduling everything from your babysitter to your date night, but that is written in a virtual world with virtual expectations–well, maybe endless expectations that you are superwoman. You aren’t, and neither am I.
The beauty of a physical weekly planner is that it offers a realistic view of your days and weeks ahead. And, there’s no arguing for what you will or will not be able to do. It’s all there in black and white. Period.
But what if you want to do tons of activities for yourself, your home and your kids. You’ll know firsthand if there’s time to sneak in that pedicure or if you ran out of time.
Tools4Wisdom Weekly Planner with Calendar (http://amzn.to/1woVjCF) – This is a great planner to start with and to keep all of your daily tasks, goals, and appointments in one place.
Using a Planner or Calendar gives you permission to not only list what needs to be done today but also a plan for tomorrow.
3. Learn to Say “No”
You’ve heard it said so many times: “Just say no!” but saying no means for many that you aren’t capable of doing something–not what it really means: you’ve made your life a priority and right now there’s no room for one more activity.
Sounds a bit more positive, doesn’t it? It should. The fact is you and your family are the first priority and everything else is icing on the cake. You may feel an obligation to be all to everyone all the time, but you are actually taking your family down the rung, so to speak. Don’t do it.
Besides, you can alway use the excuse: “There’s only so much time in a day!”
Be gentle and say “no” for the right reason and if others don’t like it, so be it.
4. Set Time Aside for “You”
You do so much for your family. That is why it is necessary to make time for you on a regular basis.
Use this time to rejuvenate your waning well of energy, even if it is just a brief five minutes to just breathe.
Or reset your internal clock and stretch, walk around, eat a snack or step out into the fresh air.
So what to do with your time off? Here are just a few ideas:
- set up a date night with your partner
- gather the troops (i.e. kids, husband, partner) and make it a family game night
- take a day’s excursion to your favorite childhood haunt
- visit a museum in person or remotely
- put on a favorite movie that you’ve been dying see
- reconnect with a visit or call to a long-lost friend
- set aside some spa time
Setting aside time for “you” on a regular basis is a great way to model to your family that everyone needs time off, now and again.
5. Organize Your Day with Grace
If you work from you, you know you need to keep your life, as well as your family’s under control. It’s easy if you know how. Check out these amazing tips from Ingrid Nilsen who works from home and knows a few things about staying organized and motivated.
6. Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Some tasks are easily done in a day, while others take longer.
When you use your weekly planner (see above) include both.
It’s kind of like making payment on a credit card. If you are unable to pay it in full, then you’ll need to do so in smaller increments.
Now, say you want to redo your basement or clean up all the junk and stuff that has collected over the years. Sure you could try to do it all in one weekend, or you could break it up into smaller bits and take it space by space, corner by corner.
Sounds more appealing? It should.
The important part to remember is that all of life is filled with long and short-term goals. And, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or in your face. Just snip, snip away at it–one goal (or project) at a time.
Setting short-term and long-term goals breaks the tasks we want or need to do into palatable chunks to digest into our daily lives.
7. Reward “You” the Effective Time Manager
When it is all said and done, you need an motivator or incentive as you proceed the windy road of time management.
So what motivates you?
Obviously, finishing a task is great, but what if it were something more?
Your kids get stars or certificates for jobs completed or homework that well-done. Well, you should do the same for yourself.
It could be something as simple as rewarding yourself for finishing the week not frazzled or completing projects that had been set by the wayside for years and never got done until today.
Even so, sure that your reward celebrates you for being true to your goals.
Rewarding yourself for a job well-done doesn’t have to cost a lot, just make it fun.
Need More Ideas to Help You Keep on Track?
Learn how you can be strengthened to reach your goals through reflection and more great time saving tips with this great resource: Time Management From the Inside Out.
And, for more great tips and tricks to make your life a life you love and love to share, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Healthy Living Section.