Updated: May 21, 2020
We've all had to adjust to a different lifestyle the past few months and so many of us are now working from home. While so rewarding in so many ways, it can also be really tough. It's hard to stick to a schedule when you know you have the freedom to get up and finish the laundry or randomly decide to organize your closet (my go-to procrastination tool). So, having a game plan set up, whether you work from home or find that you're just having trouble even being super productive in your office, is crucial.
Here's a list of my top tips and tools for crushing your to-do list every single day.
1. TIME BLOCKING This is listed as #1 for a reason. It is the single most important thing you can do to manage your time effectively. Block out time for specific tasks and stick to that time frame. For example.. If I know I have 3 hours to work in the morning before I’m on toddler duty or have to run a million errands, then I might set up my time like this:
35 minutes: Respond to emails and follow up with prospects or current clients
25 minutes: Edit photos and create graphics for upcoming ads
1 1/2 hours: Work on web design project
20 minutes: Film tutorial for client on plugging in their blog posts
10 minutes: Create to-do list tasks in Asana for evening work and priority list for tomorrow
I would set my timer for each allotted time period. Once timer buzzes, that’s it - I move on to the next task. Because you know you’re on a specific time limit, it is such a good help for prioritizing your projects and leaving little to no room for procrastination.
I talk about Asana to anyone who will listen because it really is such an amazing tool. It’s a free task manager that you can either use on your own to plan out to-do lists, create projects and calendars, set reminders OR you can use it with a team to send tasks, create deadlines, and keep everything super organized. It is my built in (free) personal assistant. Set up your account HERE.
3. STOP SCROLLING
Easier said than done, right? Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are great tools for growing your business..but they can also be the black holes that hinder you from moving forward. The best thing you can do is set specific times to use them. Try just going on in the morning to catch up on things while you have your coffee, or better yet, give yourself a specific time block for fun, mindless scrolling if you prefer to have it as part of your routine. Whatever works for you - just don’t fall victim to the 'Where did the time go? Have I really been looking at DIY dog beds for 2 hours?!’ Your business will not thank you (but your dog might).
4. GET YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING DONE FIRST
There’s a super popular book called Eat That Frog (terrible name, I know) that talks a lot about the importance of doing the task that you tend to procrastinate the MOST on, very first. It’s annoying and it’s effective. If you knock that project out in the morning, you only go up from there. Otherwise, we tend to spend a lot of wasted time throughout the day just looking for other things to do to avoid that specific task. Get it done early!
5. PLAN YOUR BREAKS
I can turn into a total zombie when I get in the zone. It’s easy for me to stare at my computer screen for 8 hours straight and not even get up to use the bathroom. This is obviously not ideal. Not good for your mental health, for your body, or for your brain power. When you schedule out your day, be sure to schedule in your breaks. One for movement or exercise, one for lunch, and one to just do whatever you feel like in the moment. Taking care of YOU is ultimately the best thing you can do for your business and for those around you.
6. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE (WHEN THINGS OPEN BACK UP!)
If you continue to work from home and getting an office space or co-working membership is out of the question - get creative! Coffee shops are fun and full of creativity, but can also get pricey if you’re like me and feel the need to order the fancy expensive latte + the fancy expensive water bottle + the organic overpriced pastry every time you go. Another option might be to pack your lunch and go to a local park. If you have a smart phone, connect to your personal hot spot for Wifi and you have a built in office anywhere. One of my favorite places to work? The library. I love the smells, I love the history, and most importantly, I love the silence. The best part? It’s totally free and you never feel pressured to leave after a few hours. What are some of your top time management tips for keeping your sanity while working from home?