I absolutely had to highlight this one first because my most productive days have one thing in common - I use my time management app to avoid getting stuck on one task for too long without a break. The key to productivity for me is to take breaks to stretch my legs, grab a snack, or maybe to do absolutely nothing but close my eyes and give my brain a break.
There are tons of time management apps, but I discovered ClearFocus last year and absolutely love it. It follows the Pomodoro Technique which suggests 25 minutes of work followed by a short break of 3-5 minutes. It’s fairly simple, yet extremely effective for me. I don’t know if there is an iOS version for the ClearFocus app, but I’m sure you can find something comparable. As a matter-of-fact, go ahead and share your favorite time-management app in the Comment section below if you already have one.
2.A GOOD planner (digital and/or paper)
I remember purchasing my first Franklin Covey Classic Planner many, many years ago with all of the bells and whistles. While I still have it and it is in excellent shape, I have downsized a bit to Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner for 2016 with a plan to try something a little different for 2017. In addition to using this paper planner to stay on top of my life responsibilities, I also use my Outlook AND Google calendars.
Let me be clear about one thing - the usage of multiple calendar systems is NOT for everyone and could potentially create more frustration for some. Find the system that works for you and use it consistently. Keeping track of the many work and mommy appointments, events, and meetings, is not only important when it comes to time management, but also the key to maintaining your sanity as a busy mom.
I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning this week and they gave me an appointment card for my next cleaning in October. I added it to my Google Calendar while I was there AND to the mobile version of my work calendar. I then went home and added it to my daily planner.
Why the paper planner?
There is something about writing it down and the actual view of a paper planner that is critical for me to keep track of everything.
I can’t imagine working on anything other than an L-shaped desk placed right by the window for maximum natural light. I am considering one of those standing desks, but haven’t heard much about them to date. Of course, if you have experience with them, please share in the Comment section below.
Do I need to talk about the connection between a clutter-free workspace and time-management? Mine is a work in progress, but I have come a long way from where I used to be. My next desk will include sufficient storage/drawer space.
Would it also be helpful for me to talk about the down side of thinking you can work in your bed? Not a good idea! Your bed was not designed to serve as your office unless you are terribly ill and can’t move, in which case, you may want to take the day off and get some rest. It’s pretty difficult to manage your time effectively if you’re dozing off because your bed is just that comfy. I tried it years ago so trust me on this one.
This one took a little time, but I finally figured out that receiving notifications on my cell phone of new text messages, Facebook posts, or incoming emails was counter-productive. I gave all of those communication options the power to control my day and disrupt my flow at any given moment. The ONLY time my cell phone makes noise during normal business hours is when I receive an incoming call and that’s a gentle vibration. This is where the Pomodoro Technique can be helpful as it gives you that designated time to catch up on missed conversations and chit-chat.
No, you are not available to hang out at the mall during normal business hours unless it’s your lunch break.
No, you are not free to babysit the neighborhood children because you are home presumably doing nothing but working.
No, you aren’t free just because you are not on a conference call.
This was a major challenge for me not too long ago, so please trust me when I say you will be more effective at managing your time as a WFH employee if you are mindful of whom you lend your time to during normal business hours.
Now that I have portrayed myself as a time-management expert (just kidding), how would you like to receive tips like these delivered straight to your inbox on a weekly basis PLUS non-direct-sales opportunities to work from home? Go ahead and click HERE and we can make that happen!