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Working From Home – how to manage your time effectively

Working from home requires discipline, planning and organisation. How you do this will depend on your personal circumstances and what factors you have to take into consideration.


It is all too easy when working from home to allow distractions to encroach into the day’s work plan. Let the answer phone respond to your calls. Don’t check your emails every ten minutes. Program into the day the time when you will respond to those phone messages and emails. Discipline yourself to finish the task in hand before you do anything else.

The best tip I was ever given to make me avoid distractions was: ‘Imagine you have just been offered a free holiday in a five star hotel in Venice (one of my favourite places!), luxury travel and all expenses paid – would you take it? The answer of course is ‘Yes’. The next part of the offer is ‘The only challenge is that you must leave in 24 hours’. So would you get everything you needed to get done in that next 24 hours? My answer would still be ‘Yes!’ Somehow you would find the time and discipline to get everything done. So apply that discipline to your every day tasks.

Organise your work space

Organise your files and paperwork so that you do not waste time searching for everything. Working from home can allow you to be more creative with your surroundings. Maybe you like music in the background when you are working – you can do that when you work at home!


Plan your day/week/month. Give yourself goals and deadlines. Make a list of your tasks for the next day the night before. Prioritise them. Start with the task you know you are least looking forward to – get it over with and then the day suddenly gets better! Tick off all the tasks completed – that is really satisfying. Anything not completed put forward for the next day.

Give yourself ‘time off’

I think one of the dangers in working from home is that you might never ‘switch off’. It is important, therefore, that you program time for yourself into the day. Go out and get some fresh air – maybe go out for a sandwich at lunch time and interact with other people. Leave time during the day or evening to have some fun. That way you will feel revitalised and your time spent working from home will be more productive.

And program into the year time for that trip to Venice!

Published Date: 31st January 2012
Category: Working From Home UK

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