One of the most common problems working from home is how to manage our time effectively. What most fail to do is to manage their time well, so they can become more productive and achieve more in less time. BUT, if you put a time management system in place you can get more accomplished in a day and can also help to reduce personal stress and feeling overwhelmed, where instead you will have better focus and can be in control.
There are many people that start their home business while they are working a job outside of the home….I was one of them. And while it may seem like you don’t have “time”, you really do. No matter what your schedule is, whether you’re a single mom with kids, going to college at night, working two jobs…you can MAKE time for your home business. We tend to MAKE time for what’s important to us. It’s all about prioritizing and creating a plan and schedule. Instead of watching TV in the evening, make that small sacrifice to turn the TV OFF and do something that will help improve the quality of your life and your future…which is working your business.
When I was at my job, I literally worked my business in the cracks of my life. If I had a spare 15 minutes in the morning, I would make a prospecting call. If I was sitting at my desk, I would listen to recorded training calls on my headphones, If I was sitting in traffic, I would pop in a personal development CD. If I was waiting anywhere, doctors office, getting oil changed, I would read books on personal development. I would get up and hour early and stay up an hour late to place ads, respond to emails. Whatever it took to GET IT DONE! I knew that making sacrifices would eventually payoff and I would be able to come home full time to my kids! I knew it was only temporary!
There are also many who are already home full time when they start their journey of working at home. And while we all LOVE the freedom and flexibility of working from home, sometimes the distractions can drive us crazy! Between the kids, the dog, the neighbors, the garbage truck and the TV, we can sometimes find ourselves putting our business on the back burner!
First of all, relax! You’re not the only one to face this problem. Especially for people accustomed to working for a big company with bosses, meetings and deadlines, it can be difficult to adjust to an environment where you have complete and total freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it. In reality, of course, that freedom is only an illusion. The truth is that you still need to feed your family and pay your bills. That’s why it’s essential to find a way to minimize the distractions that keep you from accomplishing these important goals.
So, here are five of my favorite ways to stay focused in my home office:
1. Create a to-do list. It’s important to jot down your goals for the day, week and month. Not only will you get more done, but you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment every time you check off a task on your to-do list. Prioritize your to do list. Put the in number order, or put stars next to the most important things, highlight, whatever works for you. You can list the “have to get dones” and the “like to get dones”.When you’re working on to do list, do one thing at a time. It will increase your concentration and you will be more effective. Your value will increase and your checks will grow! So focus on what you’re doing. Don’t think about everything else you need to be doing. God knows I’ve been guilty of that. When I’m doing chores, I’m thinking I should be working, when I’m working, I’m thinking about the chores that need to get done. Schedule your time, create blocks of time that are dedicated to only completing the task at hand. So that you don’t feel guilty.
2. Schedule your time. By the time you’ve made yourself a cup of coffee, checked your e-mail, returned some calls and socialized on Facebook, it’s often time for lunch. That’s why it’s important to develop a daily schedule to organize your time. If you’re a morning person, for example, you may want to hit the phones first thing in the morning and start calling potential business. For me, I do my personal development before the kids get up for school, always starts the day off in a positive way. After I take them to school, I return emails and calls to my team members and from 12:00 -2:00 I make prospecting calls no matter what. And I stick to that schedule always! How you structure your schedule doesn’t matter as long as it works for you!When you are setting this schedule you want to account for time you’ll spend speaking to potential business, for training calls, for your team members, family and personal time. When you don’t have a schedule, it is easy to get overwhelmed. What do I need to do? What do I do first? It’s very easy to get to the end of the day and not truly get anything done. The fact is, you cannot be productive when you are overwhelmed. It’s hard to implement your passion when you are in that state of mind.
3. Shut the door. This may sound obvious, but it’s hard to screen out distractions when your spouse, kids, pets and neighbors can walk into your home office any time and strike up a conversation. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up shop in a den or spare bedroom that has a door that you can close when you need to make an important phone call or concentrate on your work. If that’s not possible, explain to your family that there are certain hours during the day when you will be working and ask them to respect your boundaries. (Of course, that’s easier said than done and make take them a little time to adjust to it and take you seriously but keep telling them!) One problem I have faced is my family and friends thinking that since I “work from home” that I am just sitting at home and have tons of spare time to “hang out.” I would remind them over and over again that “yes, i do have flexibility to do things here and there WITH notice.” However, for the majority of the time, I am working and building a business just like someone who works outside of the home and I take this very seriously. It took them a while to respect it and take me seriously but now they do.
4. Ask your Spouse or family member to watch your kids. This is GREAT when you schedule your spouse or a family member to watch the kids so you can get some work done without distractions. You can also talk with some of the other moms at the school to see if they want to swap out some play days!You can have her kids over and then on another day send your kids over there so you can get some REAL good work in.
5. Multi -Task. Understand that when you are working from home and you are speaking to someone else who wants to work from home it’s good that you can walk around your home while you are picking up toys and things.
I’ve cleaned my whole house while talking to prospects!When my mentor called me to enroll me, she mentioned that she was at home walking around picking up toys and making the kids mac and cheese! I loved that! It’s okay to say and do that because THEY want to work from home and IF they hear your kids in the background you can use that to your advantage. I love to incorporate my kids into my presentation if they are around. And, some people like to purchase a headset to help with this or some are comfortable just carrying the phone around the old fashioned way like me.
Take time every morning to decide how you want to spend your day. Make your to-do list, prioritize and most importantly, stick to the plan.
We know this is what works, yet we don’t always implement it, why? Because we’re overwhelmed and we haven’t taken the time to plan our day. If you can’t plan your day, how can you plan your life?