When it comes to figuring out how to create a work from home schedule, we may not know where to begin. The best practice is to keep things as simple as possible.
Today at the Desired Desk, we will show you some practical solutions to help you stay organized and on track.
Plan Your Day in Advance
First things first, you want to start and maintain a daily “to-do” list the day before. As you think of a task that needs to be done for today or tomorrow, write it down right away. Regularly do this throughout the day. It will help you prioritize and be balanced with your time.
Make your list as detailed as you can so that nothing is overlooked. A great app that assists with this is Microsoft To-Do. You can edit and move tasks around, which helps you prioritize.
Another great app you can try is Todoist. It’s a convenient digital planner that travels with you wherever you go. You can easily access it via your phone or smart device.
Regardless of the app or method you use, the significant thing to remember is: be consistent. Efficiency at home is just as important as it is in the corporate office.
Create a Dynamic Work From Home Schedule
Having a regular schedule that guides your day can help you stay on target. Either in a spreadsheet or on paper, delegate certain tasks for their corresponding part of the day. Set times for meetings, calls, and specialized work. Plan out what should be achieved for each day and even each hour.
Setting a realistic agenda and putting things down on paper, can help you achieve and even surpass your goals. The main idea is to train yourself to do certain tasks regularly so that they become habitual. Positive habits help us meet our goals much sooner.
Optimize your productivity by doing the following:
- Look at your weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals daily
- Prioritize your goals in order of greatest to least
- Set deadlines and mark them on your calendar
Consider the 80/20 Principle
The 80/20 principle, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a guideline that describes how allocating our time is essential to our success.
This method has the potential to fine-tune your efficiency because it disciplines you to focus on the most essential tasks first before delving into the rest. Here is a quote from Brian Tracey International, explaining this further:
“The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together.
The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important, the “vital few,” and busy themselves instead with the least important 80 percent, the “trivial many,” that contribute very little to their success.”
Applying this to your daily schedule is pretty straightforward. Write down ten goals you’d like to accomplish, then circle the most pressing two.
Next, set aside a few hours where you can really concentrate on and accomplish those two goals.
You can even let family and/or coworkers know you are unavailable during those hours. Blocking distractions in our work environment can be the biggest challenge.
The 80/20 principle, if used habitually, will help you with time management and efficiency.
Understand Your Wake-Sleep Cycle
Our wake-sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm, is largely determined by mother nature. The rising and falling of the sun dictates to our body when we should rise and when we should sleep. It’s essential to know how to create a work from home schedule that allows for good sleep.
With the advent of modern technology, like electricity, we often want to stretch the natural boundaries in our wake cycle. We tend to rise before sunrise, and we stay up late, well past sunset. Unfortunately, this can wreck havoc on our health, our energy, and our sleeping habits.
It is best to rise with the sun and sleep at night as much as this is possible. This is because blue light, from electronics, can affect the way we sleep.
When we are on our phones, tablets, and computers after dark, we are telling our body that it is still daylight outside. As a result, when it comes time to go to bed, we may have a hard time sleeping. Over time, being out of sync with the sun can damage our well-being.
A great read on this subject is a book called Lights Out by Teresa S. Wiley.
Working from home is a wonderful opportunity to embrace the signals your body gives you and to set a work schedule that delivers the best results for you.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
Another productivity aid is utilizing the Pomodoro Technique. Many people swear by it as the best way to maximize their yield, capacity, and effectiveness.
Essentially, the Pomodoro technique helps you split your work into 30-minute segments. To break it down further, you work for 25 minutes, and then you take a 5-minute break.
Dividing up the workday this way has been demonstrated to increase productivity by keeping the body more active and awake. Indeed, it can break up the monotony of the workday. This translates to you being more motivated and able to hone in on essential work.
In our regular workday marathon, sometimes slow and steady wins the race. Use these small breaks to refresh your coffee, do some light cardio, or step outside and enjoy some fresh air.
Bringing It All Together
Choose from these principles and techniques to streamline what works best for you. Working from home is new for a lot of us. It may take some time to adapt. Yet, adding these simple and positive habits will help you transition seamlessly into a productive work from home environment.
Let us know how these methods facilitate your work from home endeavors. In the comment section, tell us your success story.