As a blogger, it's important that you have time management tools to help you stay focused.
When you work from home, making the most of your time is a must. It’s easy to get distracted by all the different things you have to do, from writing to marketing to working with clients to keeping the home fires burning.
It’s also easy to let work bleed over into your whole life when you work from home. Wouldn’t you rather stay focused when you are in "work" mode so that you have plenty of time left over for family, friends, and life?
Fortunately, there are many time management tools to help you stay focused so that you actually get your work done. Here's a list of seven of my favorite apps and tools that help me get organized, stay focused, and make the most of the time I have available.
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1. Time Blocking
My absolute favorite time management technique is time blocking. Time blocking encourages you to focus and more importantly, it helps you be realistic about what you can actually accomplish.
The basic concept is that you assign your tasks to specific blocks of time during the day. You can use a calendar, a daily planner, or a spreadsheet to block out the time for your tasks and projects. Then you focus on the assigned tasks – and only on those tasks – in their specified block of time.
The second must-have tool in my time management toolbox is Toggl. It’s an easy-to-use time tracking app. By tracking the time you spend on tasks, you become much better at estimating how much time you need to block off.
The reports make it easy to analyze how you are spending your time. Are you focusing on your highest ROI activities? Are there pockets of time that are being wasted? When you know the answers to these questions, it’s much easier to improve your productivity.
Toggl integrates with many other tools, like Asana and Trello, which makes it simple and easy to use for time tracking. In addition to the desktop app, there are also mobile apps so that you can track your time on the go.
3. Rescue Time
If you want to get a handle on your productive computer time vs. time wasted, then Rescue Time is a great tool. It runs in the background on your computer and tracks the time you spend using different apps and on websites.
Rescue Time has useful (and fun) reports that show you how much time you are spending on productive vs. distracting tasks. When I first started using it, I was appalled to see how much time I wasted on Facebook and other social networking sites.
Rescue Time will also tell you if you are improving, which is super-motivating.
How did I work before I found Asana? Much less efficiently!
Asana is project management software that keeps up with everything you have to do. You can organize all your projects and break them down into individual tasks with due dates so that nothing gets missed.
A few of my favorite features include:
- Repeating tasks – for tasks that need to occur at regular intervals
- Syncs across all my devices.
- Ability to export projects and tasks to a spreadsheet.
- Clean, intuitive interface.
- Ability to duplicate projects & tasks, which makes it super-easy to set up workflows.
- Multiple views – from projects to list to calendar – let you see the big picture or the details.
- Ability to search across the entire workspace.
StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that limits how much time you spend on time-wasting websites.
You can set a certain amount of time each day and specify the websites that you want to monitor. StayFocusd runs in the background, tracking your time.
When you approach your daily time limit, you get a warning. And once you reach your time limit, access to those websites is blocked for the rest of the day.
This is an excellent tool to help you limit the time you waste online.
Forest is another app to help prevent you from wasting time on your phone, social media and distracting websites. It’s available as a mobile app and Chrome extension.
Forest visually encourages you to focus in 30-minute blocks. When you open the app on your phone, a virtual tree is planted. If you stay focused, the tree will grow to full-size in 30 minutes. But if you leave the app, then the tree withers and dies.
The chrome extension works similarly, but it runs in the background while you are working. When you start a focus session, a tree is planted. But if you visit a website on your blacklist, then the tree will be killed.
A simple timer can be one of the best tools to help you stay focused. You can use a timer app on your phone or buy an inexpensive timer. Simply set a specific amount of time that you will devote to a task; when the timer goes off, stop and take a break.
This method does require some discipline in order to avoid going off task. However, once you train yourself to work when the timer is running, you’ll find it easy to stay focused.
I like to set my timer for 45 minutes of work and then I take a 15-minute break. Knowing that I have the break time coming up helps me avoid the temptation to check other things just for a minute.
Time is one of the few things we can’t make more of. Time wasted is time gone. You can’t get it back. If you want to stay focused and get more accomplished in the time you have available, then try one or more of these time management tools. You will see a boost in your productivity.
About the Author:
Tonia Kendrick is an entrepreneur at SolopreneurDiaries.com, where she helps solopreneurs grow their side-hustle and startup businesses by teaching them how to create & execute strategies, hone their marketing skills, and level up their productivity.
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