9 Time Management Tips for Working From Home

Time management when working from home.
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There’s nothing sweeter than rolling out of bed, enjoying a cup of coffee and strolling into your home office with your slippers. 

And even better, not being stuck in dreaded traffic with angry drivers. Do people really love starting their day and ending their day like that!? 

While working from home doesn’t require as much preparation as going to the office, you must remain hyper-focused and productive to maintain efficiency. 

For many remote workers, distractions can sometimes make remote setups more challenging. Fortunately, they can get back on track with adequate time management. Here’s why managing your time while working from home is important, plus strategies to enhance your skills.

The Importance of Time Management While Working From Home

In a survey conducted by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, 90% of remote workers said they felt equally or more productive working from home during the pandemic than the office. 

Of course, a big reason that this is possible is with robust time management skills.

Among the joys of being a remote worker is autonomy. 

You’re accountable for starting your workday, meeting deadlines and maintaining strong professional relationships from the comfort of your home. However, time management is paramount and ultimately decides whether you’re successful.

Honing in on these crucial skills benefits remote workers in the following ways:

  • Boosts productivity with a streamlined workflow
  • Allows you to create a healthy work-life balance
  • Engages you in deep work
  • Removes distractions, such as text messages, social media notifications and everyday chores
  • Helps you to prioritize tasks throughout the day 
  • Decreases stress and work from home burnout

Considering many companies claim remote work leads to declining productivity, you’ll want to change the narrative. By mastering time management, you can become laser-focused and complete more in less time.

9 Time Management Tips for Remote Workers

Juggling work and at-home responsibilities can be difficult, especially if you’re a caregiver. 

But there are other challenges impacting your time management when working from home like:

General house distractions and noises, difficulty separating work from personal life, lack of motivation since it’s on you to plan your day, and staying in the zone too long without breaks.

So what should you do? Try these simple nine practical time management tips to maximize your performance while working remotely.

1. Create a Schedule

Any remote worker will tell you their planner or calendar tool is their best friend. Listing your daily assignments and duties ensures you stay on track, but you could also use it for the less significant items.

Plan your week before every Monday so you can include spare time for household chores between meetings and deadlines. Allotting a few hours in your day for personal responsibilities should give you peace of mind that you’ll complete it all.

Keep track of your household members’ schedules, including your partner’s appointments and kids’ activities. It may be best to block off time in a physical calendar notebook, a digital calendar or on a whiteboard where you can refer to it easily.

2. Eliminate Distractions

Grow awareness of your distractions so you can correct them. 

For example, if you can’t help but check your texts or succumb to endless scrolling on TikTok, set your phone aside or put it on silent. If another household member works from home and you can hear them on calls, consider moving to a quieter part of the house.

The fewer distractions you have, the closer to your schedule you can stay. This is especially true when setting aside time for deep work.

3. Create Goals

Mastering time management requires practice, but you can improve your skills by setting targets. For example, start by scheduling an hour every Friday afternoon to reorganize your office space or limiting your time spent browsing social media.

SMART goals β€” specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely β€” can help you move toward a finish line. Likewise, your objectives should be a combination of short and long-term aims.

4. Download Time Management Apps

Numerous time management apps and widgets are available to assist you in time management. For instance, time-tracking apps keep you on schedule while programs like Pomodoro break up larger tasks into manageable, bite-size ones.

Other apps you might be interested in include:

  • HabitMinder: Enables you to set habits and goals, log when you’re working towards them, and check them off once you’ve completed them
  • Todoist: A simple tool allowing you to set and check off tasks while creating a streamlined workflow
  • Remember the Milk: A straightforward to-do list with the ability to create sub-tasks and tags
  • RescueTime: Helps you concentrate, informs you of how long it takes to complete tasks and blocks distracting websites

Some time management apps require a small fee, while others offer complimentary features or are entirely free to use. It’s a matter of deciding which is most effective for you while working from home.

5. Start Your Day Like an Office Worker

Just because you can stay in your pajamas all day doesn’t mean you should. Getting dressed like you’re going to the office sets your focus and builds confidence.

You should also approach your routine as you would if you were going to leave the house. Get up at the same time each morning and do what you normally would, whether taking a hot shower, eating a nourishing breakfast or even getting in a workout before clocking in.

Essentially, you want to find a simple routine you can stick to. 

6. Set Boundaries

Many remote workers struggle to establish solid boundaries with people in their household and employer. Yet, they are most important for juggling work and personal responsibilities, and maintaining relationships. 

Setting boundaries is more than just saying “no” to people β€” it’s setting limits to avoid overextending yourself.

Recognize what’s most important to you at work and home β€” now ask yourself where you’re willing to draw a line in the sand. Will you stand firm in clocking out at 5 p.m. each day? Perhaps you have a specific time bracket in which you take phone calls or are willing to have conversations outside your workflow.

Setting boundaries may also involve delegating tasks to free up time for other items. Ultimately, this act prioritizes your needs and allows you to focus.

7. Take Breaks

Although it may sound counterintuitive, the best way to manage your time and stay productive may be to give in to distractions.

Take frequent breaks throughout the day for yourself, whether to check your messages or catch up on a hobby. You can even schedule personal time in your daily planner or on your phone as reminders.

I know I can get caught up in work and forget to take a break, stretch, or change my scenery. Next thing I know it’s been 4 hours or more! Not good.

Breaks may include stretching, meditation, reading or even making yourself lunch. It’s easy to get caught up in your job and forget to eat.

8. Schedule Deep Work

When I started working from home, I became a big fan of the deep work concept. This was first shared by professor Cal Newport who wrote a book called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.

The goal of deep work is to help you focus on strenuous tasks without distraction. It’s a productivity booster and allows you to exert maximum effort on the given tasks because there is nothing interrupting your flow. 

During your workweek, you should block off 1-2 hours a day to just deep work. Ignore distractions (unless an emergency) to just focus your time and energy on a specific task or project.

9.  Stop Task Switching

One thing that can kill your time management and productivity working from home is constant task switching. Essentially, you are trying to simultaneously trying to multi task on various projects.

But instead, what happens is you tend to jump around too much which kills your flow and overall work schedule.

I’ve been guilty of this and still to do it today sometimes. But I recognize it quickly and will pivot back to batching similar tasks together and grouping them on my calendar. Say hello to better workflow and better use of your time.

Manage Your Time to Succeed in Working From Home

Establishing a work from home routine will take trial and error. However, adopting time management habits can help you remain productive in your professional and personal responsibilities. 

You probably won’t have it perfectly nailed down if you are new to working from home or switch to a new job. But establish your process early to get a nice rhythm going. 

You got this! 


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About Cora Gold

Cora Gold is a freelance writer and editor of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist, and is a remote work advocate. Connect with Cora on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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