What scares people the most at the prospect of starting working from home are two things mostly: the lack of contact with colleagues, and lack of self-discipline. I must admit, being an introvert by nature, I have never missed the companionship of working alongside others. But yes, I have struggled, and still do, with self-discipline.
In a paradoxical way, I feel therefore I am an expert at advising how to organise your day when working at home. So, let me share with your best ways to organise your day and to organise your work.
How To Organise Your Day When Working From Home
I can with a degree of certainty say that one of my weakest flaws is the fact that I struggle now, more than when I was younger, with keeping focus. I am the typical multi-tasker, if you will – but without the positive connotations of the high achiever. And that’s because I am quick thinking. I do one thing whilst thinking of the next, which I then have to start exploring without completing my first task – in fact I quickly move onto task no. 3.
For instance, I am typing this article, but since starting it, I have already checked my emails, gone on Amazon to check on ebook opportunities, and checked on my Instagram account. And that’s without even having typed 300 words yet!!!
You can see what the outlook of my days was bound to be, when I decided to work part-time for my employer to start working from home.
The onset was already disastrous from the start. The purpose, to remain in character, was a multitude of things.
I wanted to start my online business career.
I wanted to dedicate tender loving care to my home.
I wanted to spend more time with my dog.
I wanted to be at home and fulfill my role of mother and wife more deeply.
… and more, and more, and more again.
What I kept forgetting is that the days still have the same 24 hours whether you spend them in an office or at home.
It soon became paramount that I should learn to structure my days, in order to achieve the most, and in order to complete my to do list, without starting too much to end up leaving each and every task unfinished.
I soon learned how to organise my days.
So, let me tell you how to organise your day when working from home. I have drawn some … which I am sure will help you too, if you are half as bad as me.
- Write your ‘to do’ list for the day – you can think of things to do, but your mind will start working in a whirlpool of ideas. Writing down will help you identify fewer tasks rather than a multitude, but it will also help you visualize how many you have already written down to do in one day only;
- Try to assess how long it will take you to do each task – in this way you will be able to work out smaller tasks that you can do in between longer tasks;
- Identify your priorities – of all the tasks you have jotted down to do in the day, write down what are the most pressing, and what you can do later;
- Leave yourself time to relax – for me this is walking the dog, but as I am a telly / social media / YouTube addict, I try to leave some time for either of these activities, so as to not overload my day with what may be deemed dutiful chores only;
- Write your list again, listing down your tasks in the order you want or have to perform them – now you have established which are the most important tasks that you cannot procrastinate, and how long each task is going to take, you can write your list again, also bearing in mind the times during the day when you know you are more active or more tired.
Importantly, I write my ‘to do’ list in the evening rather than the morning. I am more proactive first thing in the morning (even if I can no longer wake up at crack o’ dawn as I used to). I know that when I wake up is when my energies are higher. If I use those energies writing down my list, I feel I am wasting the best and most proactive part of my day by not working on bigger projects.
How To Organise Your Work
If you are a mind wanderer like me, you will feel the need to organise your work too, as well and as much as your day.
And before you say anything, no, this is not the same thing as organising your day. I am referring here to how to plan each task.
For instance, when organising my day, I will plan to wake up at a certain time, drop my son to school, come home and do some writing. Then I will take the dog out depending on what time he will want to go and what the weather is like (yes, he is an older boy and he rules the house!!). When I am back, I will try to do some house chores, and then have a bite to eat whilst watching one of my telly recordings. I dedicate the afternoon to my marketing campaigns normally, followed by some more house chores and a bit of cooking.
Now, I shall not bore you telling you how I organise my dusting around the house, or how I like to do my ironing.
Here I want to talk to you about how I organise my writing, or my marketing work when I have a social medial session.
- Again, physically drawing a list is the most helpful tool for the overactive thinkers like me – let’s admit it though, surely if you are into having your own business working from home, whether you are an online entrepreneur, or whether you are a freelancer, surely your mind must be travelling at light speed like mine!
- Try to identify which days are best for you to do your publishing, which days are good for campaigning and which days are for prep work, such as researching on your next blog or review;
- Set yourself a time scale for each activity you do, whether it is keyword search, or social media interaction;
- As you start drafting your task, start breaking down into smaller targets, which will keep you focused on discussing separate steps leading to an overall conclusion;
- Try to identify a space within your home where you can work undisturbed by the kids playing next to your desk or by the telly switched on next door;
- Work out best times during the day to dedicate to specific tasks – and that will very much depend on whether you are a ‘morning’ person or a ‘night owl’, and on which part of your job requires more of your attention and which other one is ‘easier’ for you;
- Be a proactive thinker – not overactive, but proactive, by which I mean start thinking of your next idea whilst marketing your last article;
- Write to your heart content, without worrying about spelling mistakes or punctuation – do not get overly caught in the worry of meeting up SEO targets, but use strong SEO-proof keywords;
- Set defined targets for each of your working days – if you decide to dedicate your morning to social media, set out whether you want to publish on all your social accounts or only on your Facebook, or if you are going to write in the afternoon, do not let the incoming electronic mail distract you from your main job of writing away.
A while back I published a training session on Wealthy Affiliate, where I talked more in details about how to organise your writing. Click on the image below to find out more:
All the above said, do I live a regimental life, set out by written schedules? Absolutely NOT!!!
If there is one thing I cannot stand is lack of imagination on my life. I do like unexpected – and yes, sometimes I have to deal with the unexpected bad news as much with the much more welcomed good news.
Not only that, but if we are working from home, one of the reasons is so that we could move away from the rigid environment of the public or corporate sector.
Nobody can take away from home-based entrepreneurs the flexibility that work from home gives us. Flexible approach to your work is in fact possibly the most appetising perk to working from home as far as I am concerned. Up to a year ago, I suffered with severe sleeping problems, and found that those long nights when I kept trying to fall asleep to no avail, I could employ to a much better cause such as working on my websites.
However, I am a mind wanderer after all, and so long as I make a conscious effort to stick to some basic roles, that’s when the job gets done.
If you start with jotting down your list, then you can work around it, should the plan change as a result of external factors, or simply because the weather is nice and sunny today and you’d rather take the dog for a walk now than later.
The important thing is that you approach your work with serenity. You might not agree with me on this, but either way it would be absolutely wonderful to hear from you in the Comment section below – tell me how you organise your working days and how you organise your work.
Keep loving the job you do. Be willing to go the extra mile. And do not be too demanding of yourself. After all, part of your success is going to be thanks to that mind of yours which so much loves to wander away 🙂