Time is just as much of a resource as money is. For this reason, we need to be wise about how we allocate our tasks and how we prioritize things on our schedule, even while we’re working from home. Unfortunately, even though many of us are now working from home, not all of us have learned rhythms that can maximize our time and boost our productivity.
According to a study by Binghamton University, working from home can increase inefficiency and the proclivity for procrastination, so we need to combat this if remote working will continue to be in our foreseeable future. Here are some clever time-saving hacks to help you maximize productivity while working remotely.
Do meal planning.
There’s no denying that two of the daily tasks that take up most of our time are 1) planning meals and 2) cooking. This is why there’s so much wisdom in planning meals ahead of time or practicing a method called “meal planning,” which involves mapping out your meals for the week and preparing them in advance so you can whip them out of the refrigerator when you have to eat during the day.
There are different kinds of meal planning, and they can revolve around a strict diet or a schedule. There are plenty of calendars and recipes on the internet that you can adopt, depending on your dietary and lifestyle requirements. Aside from helping you save time, meal planning can also be easy on your wallet as it will stop you from having food delivered each time.
Use apps to help you limit social media time.
Some apps that can help you regulate or limit your social media time include:
- Offtime, which helps users unblock unnecessary and distracting apps like games and Facebook. There are tailor modes like Family, Me Time, and Work.
- Flipd is an app that helps users lock their phones for a set period, and once it’s locked, there’s no going back. It may be a bit more aggressive in its approach, but it’s a good option for those who really need help.
- AppDetox helps users set their own parameters on specific apps to only have access when they’re on breaks or when those apps won’t cause disruption on their productivity levels.
Try the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro technique is a productivity method invented by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. This is how it works:
- Focus on one task for 25 minutes. This is one increment, also known as “pomodoro.”
- Take a 5-minute break.
- Do the same task, or another one if you’ve finished the first one, for another 25 minutes.
- Take another 5-minute break.
- After four pomodoros, take a 15-minute or 30-minute break.
- Repeat the steps.
This method works because it encourages people to divide the tasks and break them down in regular, shorter increments. Thus, it helps people avoid being overwhelmed by heavy tasks, and it can also help avoid burnout. It may be difficult to force yourself to take a break when you’re already in the zone, but remember that taking 5-minute breaks is also in service of saving time and productivity.
Do the “touch it once” method for easy tasks.
Another productivity technique is the “touch it once” method, which is the principle of an item or a simple task only once, which means that once you touch it, you need to accomplish it. An example of this is receiving mail or a shipment. Once you’ve gotten your hands on it, you need to open it and accomplish whatever task having that item entails.
Another example is the laundry–once it’s finished drying, don’t just leave it on the dryer. Fold and file them immediately, so you don’t have to touch them again for the rest of the day. You’ll be surprised at how much time you can save by not procrastinating on easy tasks or those that can be done in a few minutes.
Outsource what you can.
In the age of DIY, it’s pretty easy to feel guilty about hiring professionals to do some maintenance work around the house. But when you’re working from home and barely have the time for anything else outside of your work responsibilities, there’s no shame in employing the help of professionals to take care of it. Especially for major upkeep like deep-cleaning or fixing something in your HVAC system or if you need specific residential kitchen plumbing fixtures, it’s so much more economical to hire an expert to work on it. Not only will you save time, but you will also be able to address minor issues that could potentially pose bigger problems in the long run.
At the heart of time-saving is fighting procrastination. Create habits and practice methods to help you stay on task, so you don’t have to sacrifice your resting and family time.