Working from home has become the new normal for many people worldwide. There are many benefits, it can help with a better work-life balance, especially for those with caring responsibilities and allow workers to fit in medical appointments without having to take the afternoon off to commute back from the office.
Some employees also find it is easier to concentrate away from the hustle and bustle of a shared space.
But even for those who love home working, it can be difficult not to get distracted occasionally . So how can you help yourself remain focused when a deadline is looming but working in the garden is calling? We take a look at some top tips.
Use a focus timer
If you struggle to get tasks completed, consider using a focus timer to help you. This doesn’t need to be complicated – use the timer on your phone or computer, and commit to only looking at your work task for that time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this can also help you work with the time you have, rather than wasting it panicking.
The perfect amount of time will likely be a personal choice but start with an established method like the Pomodoro technique so that you have a baseline.
This method gets you to break up your time into 25-minute chunks, with five-minute breaks in between. After four of these sections, or Pomodoro, take a longer break, around 20 minutes.
Block out your calendar
Another time management method is blocking out your calendar, either on a piece of paper or in your digital diary. Write a list of tasks you need to complete today and schedule in some focused time. This will work particularly well for you if you work better with deadlines, as the calendar alerts will tell you when to move on to the next task, and you can see how long you have left.
It can also be beneficial if you don’t have enough time in the day. If you can successfully schedule your work, this may help you feel calmer, as you know you have dedicated time. When working on the first task, you can stop worrying about other items on your to-do list.
This doesn’t mean you should cram everything in – be realistic about how long tasks will take you and leave short breaks in between. You may need to colour code your to-do list to pull out your priority work.
Track your time
If you work best when you’re held accountable, you could try using a time tracking tool to help you see how long you spend on specific tasks. Over time, this data can also show you where you’re spending most of your working hours so that you can make changes if this isn’t right for your role.
For example, if you know you should spend around half an hour a day answering emails, seeing your tracker go above this time regularly might show you that you need to rework this estimate.
This can also help you if you’re feeling stressed, as you may be doing more work than you realise.
Time management tips are not about making you work flat out all day. Taking breaks to refresh your brain can make you more productive and help reduce your stress levels. Make sure to try out a few different methods, so you can find one that works for you.
To sum up
Time management tips are not about making you work flat out all day. Taking breaks to refresh your brain can actually make you more productive and help reduce your stress levels. Make sure to try out a few different methods, so you can find one that works for you.