written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 1/23/2012
Working in a home office atmosphere often provides unwanted distractions, making it difficult to manage your time well. Here are five tips to improve time management skills; follow some of these suggestions, you'll be much more organized.
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Everyone that works in a home office wants to be more productive and use their time wisely. Life is hectic, as we all know, and with the combination of work and home life, it's even busier than we imagine. When faced with working in a home office, these things not only converge together but can also create larger problems than if you worked in a regular office in a big corporation. Working from a home office means being able to handle your work schedule, along with your daily life schedule, which even in a corporate environment is hard to do.
Many experts will tell you that improving your time management skills goes a long way in making sure that deadlines are met, projects are completed and turned in, and that your general work gets done so that you have more time for the extras.
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1. Keep Organized
This is a major facet in time management and organization. This can mean everything from keeping your schedule updated with important tasks and appointments to keeping your desk clear of unnecessary clutter. This is also one of the different things within in time management; life goes by quickly and sometimes it may be hard to keep up. Set a time once a week to go through your appointments and to clean your office area (usually the weekends are the best).
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2. Keep a List
To do lists are a good way to track what you have planned for the day or even the hour. Try and make a list during the weekend before the new week begins of projects and work that needs to be done. If you have a calendar, mark the tasks within it. Software like Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar are great for not only keeping multiple appointments on the same day, but will also send you alerts when that task is about to come up.
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3. Concentrate on One Task
While multitasking may seem to be a great way of getting a lot done at the same time, there have been some reports that say this isn't always the case. It's much better to concentrate on one task at a particular time. Smaller tasks that can be done quickly, should be done first to get them out of the way. Longer tasks should be broken into smaller ones, so that the larger content doesn't overwhelm you.
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4. Delegate Work in a Team
If your home office environment consists of more than one employee, allow them to help with projects. If you are working on a large project, allow a team member to work on something smaller. This relieves the pressure of trying to do everything at once or doing something by yourself. If you are not fortunate to have extra employees, consider having a friend help or even hiring a temporary employee.
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5. Reward Yourself
Often times, when a project is finished, many will jump right into the next project. While this is not a bad thing, it can lead to burnout which can severely hurt your work and your mood. Don't be afraid or reluctant to give yourself a reward for all the hard work you have done. If a project was done successfully, treat yourself to something like a special dinner or a movie. And if the project is not successful? Take the time to see where things could have gone better, but don't beat yourself up about it. Taking a day to relax and shake off the disappointment may be the thing to get recharged for the next assignment.
There are plenty of things to help in time management and the above 5 tips should be useful in maintaining your overall balance.
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Mayo Clinic - Tips to Reduce Stress, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/time-management/wl00048
Images via - Clock (Morgue File); Screenshot Google Calendar (author) - http://www.google.com/calendar; Steak Dinner (Morgue File)