Create a productive workspace
When it comes to managing time while working from home, your workspace is a powerful tool. It’s the physical and the mental boundary that you create between work and your personal life. As much as possible, you want to keep work in your workspace. Your workspace is the home for work and the home for everything else is, well, everything outside of that workspace. Each person reading this is going to have a diverse set of budgets and available space. So, the best way to approach this is to first start with the ideal and then we’ll work backwards from the ideal, helping you find adaptations that work best for you.
The ideal workspace is a designated room with doors that’s relatively soundproof and removed from the rest of the house. This means it’s not in an open traffic area. It’s not close to the front door of your house or apartment. It’s a space where you can close the door and shut everything out. You also have enough space for any other resources or tools that you need to perform the kind of work that you’re doing at home. In summary, the ideal workspace is a home office. Set aside only for work.
Try to adapt this as best you can to your situation.
But what if there’s no way to find extra room in your house? Then designate a space for work and nothing else.
The stronger the visual divider you can create, the better. You’re probably not comfortable with marking the floor with tape to designate the workspace but at least mentally, create a boundary line around this desk. This communicates to you and others, when I’m in this space, I am only doing work. When I’m outside of this space, I’m only doing other things. Create a clean separation in your mind.
Now, what if you don’t have a desk and you’re in the habit of sitting on a couch or in your bed. I believe it’s important to change that habit. Certainly, do not work in bed. This creates all sorts of sleep issues, which could hurt your performance in the long run. Doing work on a couch is usually going to create poor posture and makes it harder to make a transition mentally between work and your personal life. Get a simple desk and a comfortable chair instead.
By clearly creating this workspace, you establish a boundary of stability. It gives you your headquarters. From this foundation, we will build all the other strategies of effective time management when working from home.