Working from home and being smart with your time
In my corner of the world, Spring has sprung! Hooray! But, no matter where you are in the world, a change of season is always a good time to for a spring clean.
While we tend to think of spring cleaning our wardrobes, our houses, gardens, life (yep), sometimes we forget one really important area:
Say what? Spring clean my time? Yup You heard right. Time is the great equalizer when it comes to resources, but 98% of people I meet don’t really have a good handle on what they do with their time, especially when they work from home. I hear the term “time poor” a lot, yet it really is about being time effective.
I thought I’d share four areas that you can spring clean your time, to help you to work from home more effectively and have a better chance at getting after your goals,
WORK FROM HOME TIP: BE PRODUCTIVE WITH TIME ON YOUR PHONE
Now we all love a bit of social media scrolly scrolly- google-y time – but have you ever looked at how much time you spend on your phone? This time can translate straight into other goals, like fitness, decluttering, working on your biz, spending time with your loved ones, having sufficient sleep or learning a new skill that you can turn into a business.
How to get a grip on your phone use (Ahh too funny)
1/ Track your App Usage. On your phone, go to settings, click battery. Scroll down to battery usage. Click on the clock to the left, and voila – how much time are you spending on apps? You might be surprised! Check out the pro tip below.
2/ Work out if phone time is driving sales. If you use your phone for social media to drive sales, can you work out if the amount of time on instagram is actually translating to a good dollar return on time? Try recording the usage over a month. Which one is helping you reach customer goals?
2/ Use airplane mode to work distraction free. No pings, rings, or dings to break your focus so that you won’t be tempted to just check that snap chat from your friend, or see what comment has happened in a Facebook group…
3/ Set a timer for social media usage (or set a timer for anything, really – phone calls with friends and with customers). Make sure you don’t go over any limits and can move onto the next task to complete.
You can even set up Moment for your whole family and track their phone habits, or force everyone off at the same time… I wonder if it would work for team meetings???
WORK FROM HOME TIP: BEING PRODUCTIVE ON YOUR COMPUTER, LAPTOP OR TABLET
1/ Use time batching
This helps to get similar tasks done in a block. For example, structure your week so that all customer proposals are done on a Friday, research is done at a certain time, or responding and participating in Facebook groups is done at a set time. I find timers really helpful to stay on task, so for example I will allow myself 1 hour for research & response each morning.
2/ Turn off notifications
Facebook likes to let you know that things are a happenin’. On a Mac (sorry PC users, I can’t help you), you can manage when and how you receive notifications in the notification center. This includes emails, reminders etc so that you can work uninterrupted for a good chunk of time.
3/ Shut down all non essential apps
This includes website windows, except the one or two that you need to work on at a particular point in time. This will stop the temptation to do a bit of budget, a bit of marketing, and end up with lots of “bits” done at the end of the day, but nothing 100% complete (see using time batching to get tasks done in a block).
4/ Unsubscribe from inbox clutter
(especially – the ooh I might need it for a rainy day things) that are not adding value to your current goals. Setting up email rules can help to manage this, so that if there are certain news feeds that you subscribe to for research purposes, you can do all your reading at once. I personally like to have one master research folder, and a few sub folders set up on relevant topics.
5/ Respond to emails three times a day – MAXIMUM.
As tempting as it can be to respond immediately, try sticking to set times. Depending on how you structure your business, having set times to respond to your emails is better than becoming a slave to your responses. You may even want to have an auto reply set up so customers know when you will respond to help manage expectations.
WORK FROM HOME TIP: CHOOSING TIME EFFECTIVE CUSTOMERS
This is my personal fave. I’ve done many a CUSTOMER TIME CRUSH study to uncover opportunities for big and small companies. It doesn’t matter if it’s an internal customer or external one. Customers all take time, and sometimes you can be doing things that don’t add value – to you or to your customer. I recommend going through the following activity to help you understand what your return on energy, or what return on time is.
Example: What would you do if you found out that you spent 40 hours to generate $100.00 vs. spending 4 hours to generate $1000.00? Would you change which income stream you focus on?
When you have limited time working from home, you really need to be effective with your time.
The truth is, most people don’t know how much time goes into a product, service or project. They commit to it, they don’t track it, and they don’t know what adds value.
How to do a Customer Time Crush:
2/ Set up categories like business development, delivery, meetings, sales delivery plus a category for each of your customer segments or projects.
3/ Hit start and stop each time you are working on something for someone, and compare it to the total revenue that it generates. You can do this whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur.
4/ Make some productive decisions. – are you investing your skills in the right area. Can you redirect, reschedule or reduce any of the tasks to someone who can do it faster and cheaper than you?
5/ Ask your customers if they really value that added thing you do. They might say no!
WORK FROM HOME TIP: MAKE TIME FOR “ME” TIME
If you really want to get fit/build a business/complete your study, you have got to take on some tough self love and be an ass kicking time ninja! These tips helped me get a post grad done and start a biz while working full time with two kids.
How to create “me” time and run a business
1/ Tune out from TV.
Put the TV time towards tomorrow’s prep for a stress free morning. You can get breakfast out, make lunches, organise the “what to wears” for everyone for the next day.
As a single mother who runs a business, being organised the night before saves me at least an hour of morning school run stress -and helps me to fit in exercise. Winning!
2/ Batch like a boss.
You can double up on cooking and save left overs for dinner another day, or trade with a family member or friend so you still get variety. Get some extra evening time to put toward a personal goal – like reading a book, or doing something fun.
3/ Double down on exercise.
You can do this by listening to an educational podcast, include the family or invite a friend to get the social connections sorted too. You can even have a walking or running meeting with a colleague.
4/ Delegate to the darlings
if you have kids, be sure to delegate tasks that they can manage. It teaches them responsibility & to be a good contributor to house goals. They can be little things like feeding pets, putting away their clothes, or setting things up for breakfast the next day.
I’d love to know, which of these work from home tips do you think can help you the most?
Feel free to leave me a comment, and why not save time for someone else and share the post!
Catch you later!