5 Ways to Take Control of Your Time While Working From Home

Jan 12 • 2021

Taking the leap to become your own boss (or just not working in an office setting) can sometimes feel a tad overwhelming. 

On the one hand, it’s exciting to finally be in charge of your own energy and time. On the other hand, it can also be a little scary to have to manage your own schedule. Even if you’re not working for yourself, you may be working from home due to the pandemic, and that causes a lot of the same challenges.

But don’t let that fear keep you from taking the plunge to take charge of your time and energy! That’s why we’re bringing you 5 tips to stay focused, happy, and productive while working from home.

1. Eliminate Distractions

Before getting down to business (literally), remove all distractions from your work area. I know, it’s tough!

Distractions will keep you from focusing on the important tasks at hand, and sometimes make everything take twice as long. Are you a serial Instagram scroller? Turn “do not disturb” on your phone or put it in a sock drawer, where you can’t see it! Always refreshing your email? Download a tool to block certain websites on your computer for a set number of hours per day so you can focus on the important stuff. 

2. Work with Music

I love a good lofi or classical music playlist to get me in the working mood. The background noise helps drown out the chatter going inside your head and helps take you to a meditative space. Search on Spotify, Apple Music, or Youtube for “study music” or “concentration music” and you’ll find all kinds of tunes to suit your style!

3. Create small, digestible goals

Big picture goals can be super useful — they help us think long term and get us excited about the future. But without smaller, digestible goals, it can be easy to lose track of your end objective. 

A great way to keep your momentum going is to set mini-goals. You can set mini-goals for the month, for the week, for the day, or even for just one hour! Every time you complete a mini-goal, you get a win, which also helps boost your enthusiasm. 

Bonus points for creating to-do lists! Crossing items off a list is SO satisfying. 

4. Take breaks…Often.

Breaks are absolutely essential to maintaining sanity while working from home. Our brains are not great at being pushed to constantly work. They need space to process information. 

A good rule of thumb is to work for about an hour and then take a 5-minute break to stretch, play with pets, make a cup of coffee, or eat a little snack. This will help keep your energy up through the day, and is much more sustainable!

5. Reward yourself!

It’s easy to get in a cycle of working without ever reflecting on the wins you’ve had so far. Working non-stop with no reward can quickly drain a person.

So every once in a while, pretend you’re your own really appreciative boss. Give yourself a pat on the back whenever you push through a particularly difficult task. 

Rewards are also a great motivator — if you’re having trouble focusing on something, tell yourself that if you finish it within the hour you’ll reward yourself with an episode of a TV show you love. And I gotta say, it works 11 times out of 10.

BONUS: Set a game plan for the day (the day BEFORE!)

Sometimes, a large part of why we feel unmotivated or unfocused is because we aren’t clear on what we should be working on. When we go through the day without a clear path, we have to stop regularly to reassess what the next best thing to work on is, and this takes away time and energy from the things we should be focusing on. 

A great way to stop this from happening is to make a game plan the day before. When your work day is over, make a list of all the things you plan on doing the next day, in order. This way, when you sit down to work you won’t have to think about what you need to do — you’ll just get right to it!

This helps switch your brain from “I’m at home” to “I’m at the office,” and you’ll be much more likely to stay on task throughout the day. 

Trash the idea that you can’t handle your own time  — you absolutely can! The trick is to put systems and habits in place so you can become the consistent boss I know you can be! And once you find the tricks that work for you, you’ll totally fall in love with working from home and getting the chance to create your own schedule.