During this crazy time, you may be someone who hasn’t ever worked from home and has found it as a new reality, or maybe you have always worked from home but realized over the years you have been less and less efficient. As a 3 on the enneagram, efficiency is my middle name, and I am here to give you 5 ways to be more efficient working from home. This list isn’t the end all be all, but it should give you a good start and get you back a couple of hours of your day!
1.) Stop checking email obsessively:
It happens to the best of us, obsessively checking every few minutes “just in case” something important comes through. The first thing I would do is turn off any notifications that ping you every time you get an email. Take it a step further and on a mass unsubscribing binge. Show no mercy. Unsubscribe from anything you know you aren’t going to open. Even the things you want to open that you think “maybe one day i will read that.” No you won’t. Get rid of it. it’s a distraction.
A lot of times I compulsively check my email in an effort to avoid doing some other task or project I really don’t feel like doing. It has become a “habit” of procrastination just to avoid the inevitable work I know I will have to do. Instead, spend a few minutes in the morning after businesses have opened reading and responding to emails. Make sure when you respond to any emails that you try and head off “the next question” you know the receiver will ask. This will cut down on a lot of back and forth. If you answer a yes or no question but know your employee will come back with a follow up question, try to anticipate that and go ahead and answer it.
Check your email a second time mid afternoon, this will give you a chance to respond to important matters before the close of business day. If this just absolutely makes you twitch, I get it. Shoot for 3 times (morning, noon, and afternoon) and then slowly back away. It’s highly unlikely you will miss something by not checking every five minutes.
2.) Check social media twice a day:
Along the same lines as email, I know that I personally use social media scrolling as a means of procrastinating, when I am bored, or avoiding something else. It’s so easy to get sucked in mindlessly for hours! So i suggest checking twice a day and on top of that, setting a timer. Of course depending on what you do for a living you may need to tweak this, but there is a difference in being online for pleasure and for work. Everyone knows when they have crossed that individual “line”, so try and be honest with yourself!
3.) Batch batch batch:
Batching projects saves so much time! What do I mean by this? instead of doing something every day or several times a day, do it all at once for a weeks worth. If you are a blogger, write several blog posts in one sitting. Schedule a bunch of pins to be pinned on Pinterest. This is what you are doing by only checking email twice a day as well. I try to batch everything from cooking to shopping to Instagram photo shoots. Yes you heard me! I hate putting on makeup, so when the weather is good and I have several photo shoots to do, I will change outfits 2-3 times and get in shots for several brands all at one time. It saves me so much time. Try it in your profession!
4.) Make a to do list:
On the surface, this one seems like a no brainer, but often people go about this in the wrong way. I have seen people create a to-do list a mile long, and then have heart palpitations when they look at it, or get depressed because they know they can never do it in a day. Instead, try this: Write TWO “must accomplish” bigger tasks for the day that are non-negotiable. Them under that, write 3-4 “would be nice to accomplish, not not a big deal if I don’t” tasks. This makes things much more manageable, and you won’t feel stressed or bad about yourself if you don’t get to the items that are less important. This will save you time because instead of procrastinating looking at the daunting list you will more than likely see the one or two things and just get after them! No more putting it off by checking email either! Remember, we are trying to be more efficient working from home!
I personally prefer to actually write out my list because I love scratching items off, but you can also keep a list on your phone. There is a great app called ANylist that Bobby and I have used for years. It also lets you sync grocery lists. I will often text Bobby and tell him to add anything to the shared list that he needs from the store, and it pops up on my app when I go. This cuts down on a wasted phone call or wandering around the house looking for a list.
5) Schedule everything in your calendar:
I have gotten to where if I don’t schedule every little thing in my calendar, I either forget or will put things off. I write in Bible study, workouts, appointments, days I plan to clean the house, etc. This saves time because I know exactly what my day is going to look like and don’t waste time piddling from one chore to the next feeling aimless and unsure of what really needs to be done first and take top priority. Try tow rite everything in the night before. Knowing your day is planned and ready will probably make you sleep better too, which in turn will make you more efficient! See how that works?
I hope you have enjoyed these 5 ways to be more efficient working from home!