How to Manage Time Effectively when Working from Home

Learning how to manage time effectively is crucial to getting anything done. This is true in any line of work. It’s even more true when working from home.

Here are some tips on how to manage time effectively when working from home.

Beware of Time Leeches

The biggest time management issue most of us face is social media and other distractions.

The second you turn that computer on in the morning, all geared up to work, your plans become derailed. Soon it’s noon and all you’ve done is watched cat videos or gotten sucked into some pointless political debate on Twitter.

I don’t know about you, but I’m much better with time management when the computer is off. 🙂 Unfortunately, as a web designer and writer, I have to turn the thing on from time to time to get work done.

My solution has been to use a Firefox plugin called Leechblock or Stay Focused on Google Chrome. Both of these extensions allow me to block time-wasting websites during certain hours of the day.

Idea Generation

Another productivity tool for me has been to keep good notes on ideas. I tend to get a little ADHD when it comes to an idea. I’ve had to learn not to drop the task at hand to pursue a new idea, but rather keep a running list on ideas to act upon.

These ideas are stored in my Evernote app in a notebook stack called “Someday”. I’ve written in another post about how I create Evernote notebooks and notes according to priority to keep me on task. I highly recommend taking these ideas for using Evernote and making it your own.

In fact, I’ve also written an entire ebook on the topic, available on, for just 99 cents. 

Time Management and Planner “Systems”

Speaking of the running to do list, you might be wondering what time management and planner system works best. In short, the one that works best is the one that works best for you.

After years of playing around with different kinds of planners, apps, software, and so forth, I finally realized that simple worked best. In fact, having a complicated paper planner system sitting on my desk didn’t do much for me. Instead, I either use a plain cheap notebook with checklists or better yet, I use a free app called Evernote to not only keep me on task but also cut out paper clutter. Otherwise, I wound up with stacks of notebooks and index cards cluttering up my workspace.

Simple works best.

You can read more about how this system works by reading my post on Getting More Done with Less Stress Using Evernote. 

Keep your End Goal in Mind

Another great idea in your time management toolbox is a list of goals and figuring out a mission statement.

Over the last few years, I’ve made a list of annual goals I want to accomplish. I have them written down on the chalkboard in front of my desk. Every time I look up, there they are.

At the very top, I’ve written a question:

Does what I’m doing RIGHT NOW fit my goals for this year?

I may not get each item done this year (though each year I’ve gotten better and better. Last year I had an 80% success rate), but I will move closer towards those goals.

Cluster Your Work

I love to make cute graphics in my posts so that my readers can pin them or share them as an encouragement on Facebook. However, if I were to stop what I was doing in the middle of writing, and start playing with Photoshop, well, I’d wind up being distracted again.

Knowing this is an issue for me :-), I cluster my work. One day a week, I plan out what I’m going to write about. Another day I do my actual writing. On yet another day, I create graphics, or I have my daughter do that.

I work optimally when I find my stride, so clustering works best for me.

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