By April 16, 2013 Read More →

3 top time management tips for the home worker

It’s easy for a home worker to wear themselves out

Work from Home Wisdom - time management tips for the home worker, Sarah CruickshankFreelance writer and home worker Sarah Cruickshank recently wrote a guest post on the 7 Ways for Your Home Business to Get Its Message Out There. Today she’s back to talk about getting the best from your time as a home worker:

Being a home worker poses many challenges, but probably the greatest is time management. The tension between work and life seems to increase simply because your office is right there in your house.

The temptation to ‘just quickly check my emails’, or to put in a couple of hours in the evening or at the weekend is often really hard to resist. So what are my 3 top tips for managing your work time as a home worker?

1. Set some working hours. You may have become self-employed or started working from home to give you more flexibility due to childcare, health or other personal issues, so why am I advocating setting working hours?

Simply because when you know the time you have, you can work out how much work you can take on and how much you might be able to earn. I’m not suggesting you need to be working 9am to 5pm, you might be working the couple of hours when your child is at nursery, or school hours, or early mornings and late nights.

You could decide to work 25 hours every week, but vary the actual days and hours you’re working depending on what else in going on in your life. You might even be bootstrapping your venture onto a regular 9-5 job whilst you establish your own business.

The important thing is that having planned when you’re going to be working, you actually turn up and work! Make sure you family and friends appreciate that you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed, and then make sure you’re as productive as you can be during the time that you have.

Having turned up at your desk you need a plan to work to. Many business coaches advocate that you should spend six hours a week working on your business, so developing new services/products, networking, engaging with social media. That always sounds like a lot of time, but it really isn’t.

The rest of you time can be used for your clients (working in your business).

2. Make a plan to focus your mind. You can call it a Business Plan if you like, but really it’s an Operating Manual. To do this you need a calendar (paper or electronic), or a wall planner:

  • First gather all the holidays your family have for the year and mark those on your calendar. Also mark any times when you know you won’t want to be working.
  • Think about any products or services you want to launch over the year and mark those in (just the month you want it to happen is fine at this stage).
  • Think about any major events in your industry or niche (new hardware/software launches, conferences, awards ceremonies etc) and mark those in.
  • Are there any events that friends or joint venture partners are having that you might be involved in? Mark those on your calendar.

Once you have this sketch plan of the year done, you can work back from the “launch point” to work out when you need to do the stages to complete each job.

You’ll then begin to get an idea of how much time you have to do client work and you’ll also have a good idea of blog and social media posting you can do throughout the year.

3. Set a finish time and stick to it. Close the door at the end of the working day (or clear your kitchen table into a box and put it away). You’ll work harder than you ever have before as a home worker and you deserve time to spend with your family and to refresh your spirit.

Find out more about Sarah and her services at sarahcruickshank.co.uk.

Posted in: Routine

10 Comments on "3 top time management tips for the home worker"

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  1. Sharon says:

    Good idea about the calendar. I need to start thinking about my 5th birthday for instance, last year I left it quite late so wasn’t as prepared.

    Thanks Sarah

  2. Great article Sarah. I keep getting in a flap about working ‘on’ my business, so need to fix times when I’m doing this! It’ll be easier once the girl starts school later in the year!

  3. Diana Schneidman says:

    Sarah,

    Those are great tips. Here’s another that works for me:

    I work from a written to-do list since I get great pleasure from physically checking off each completion.

    However, that’s not my tip. My tip is to identify with colored pencil one or two top priorities for each day. Often the top priority is to work on a specific paying freelance writing assignment.

    There are many activities that have to be handled—make a doctor’s appointment, pull out overdue library books from under the bed and return them, marketing activities—but if I don’t select a meaty writing priority, I’ll spend hours taking care of lots of small things. Then I can enjoy lots of check marks but I’m avoiding focus on the one big task.

    -d

    • That’s the trouble with working from home, Diana – home tasks can get jumbled up with work tasks so that you feel you’re getting things done, but then at the end of the day realise your business is no further forward. Different coloured paper and Post It notes are also useful, I find.

  4. Sarah Cruickshank says:

    I like that tip Diana 🙂

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