There’s never enough of it. We all wish we had more of it. Yet when we have it, truthfully we waste it. I’m talking about time management.
Working from home, whether you are an entrepreneur or working remotely for a company, this year has challenged us to learn how to manage our time better. Having time management steps are the key to productivity, creating systems and ultimately reaching your goals.
Going on my 4th year working from home as a mompreneur, I’ve mastered a few tricks that not only have helped me get more done with the little time I have to work, but also have helped me enjoy working while raising my toddlers with less mom guilt and more fun.
Here’s a step by step way to better time management.
Step 1: Prepare your schedule for the week: Do a brain dump of everything you want to get accomplished this week. Then create 2 separate lists, God’s list and then your list. Everything that stresses you out, you aren’t sure how it will get done, or just the thought of it overwhelms you and goes on God’s list. Everything else goes on your list.
Step 2: Prioritize and Strategize: Take all the tasks from your list and organize them based on priority. There are 2 ways to do this. First prioritize them by the tasks that will make you money. This is important because if you work for yourself or are juggling a side hustle, it’s easy to get distracted by the easy tasks just to get it done, but those tasks may not be income producing tasks. If you want to continue to earn money, you need to do the money making tasks first. If you work for a boss, this is also important because you also can get distracted. How many times have you seen a pile of laundry and have wanted to fold clothes instead of doing your job? I’m guilty too! So prioritize. Make money first.
The second way to do this is to ask yourself 3 questions. 1) Does it need to be done right now? 2) Does it need to be done by me? 3) Can I delegate this task to someone else?
By addressing these questions, you will be able to identify what tasks only you can do and what tasks you can help with. Notice I said get help. We all know moms are amazing and we can do anything, but we can’t do everything. Get help. Delegate tasks.
Step 3: Make a smaller to-do list with only 3 things on it. 3 is a realistic number of the amount of things you can really get done while working from home with kids.
Step 4: Use a planner and schedule everything. Without vision the people will perish. Same goes for not having a plan. Use a planner with 30 minute time slots to write everything you must do for the week down. Include time for working out, self care, play time with the kids, and household chores. Allow yourself 15-30 minutes per task depending on the task. This will force you to focus on one task at a time, instead of trying to multitask. It has been proven that multitasking is very ineffective and you waste more time trying to do all the things at once instead of focusing on just one. Work for 90 minutes then stop, take a break, drink water, eat a snack, stand up and stretch before diving back into your work. Do these time management steps and you will see great improvements on your productivity.
Step 5: Stay off social media. You knew this one was coming! Social media was literally designed to make you addicted and keep you wanting to scroll. Have you watched the Social Dilemma? Crazy as that is, being a social media marketer and blogger, I’ve learned to strategically use my social media for business and business alone. I do not scroll. I do not look at memes. How?
- Decide what your goal is before you touch your phone or log online. Is it to add 100 new Twitter followers? Or create a fun Insta story? Is it to do research? Why are you going online to begin with? Once you know the why, stick with your plan! Log on, do what you have to do and log off.
- Set a timer and assign each task a specific time. For ex. 10 minutes to add new followers. 10 minutes to answer comments and messages. If you set a timer, you will take your time more seriously and get more done. When the timer goes off, then you can move on to the next task.
- Lastly, I get real with myself. I ask myself, is this scrolling earning me money or costing me money? Sometimes you can justify scrolling if you are doing research or looking for inspiration or ideas. But if you find yourself scrolling aimlessly then you know it wasn’t time well spent. So ask, is this costing me?
Here are some additional steps.
- Designate a workspace to help you focus. If you have to light candles, use a white noise machine, whatever gets you in the mood. Do that.
- Explore productivity apps. There are so many apps created that help you work smarter not harder. Whether you need quick design, automated scheduling, etc. Research the apps that will make your work day flow more easily.
- Be transparent with your manager and yourself. Be honest with what you can do realistically with the time you have. Be honest with how you feel that week and how your family feels if you are also doing childcare duty. Easier said than done if your job isn’t understanding, but something to consider.
- Set boundaries that work for you.
- Determine When You’re Most Productive. If you are an early bird
Which of the five time management steps listed above, is the most challenging for you? Which one seems very doable?