5-minute Tasks to Make Working from Home Efficient


5-minute Tasks to Make Working from Home Efficient

So now you work from home part of the week and bounce into the office the rest of it. Unless you got highly skilled at making this work, you may have some stress and overwhelm with this dynamic. For some, the transition is challenging and for others a welcomed change of scenery. If you are the former, there are some ways to make the best use of your time while you are working at home.

I have been working from home for almost two decades and while the majority of my work hours are in meetings with clients, the rest of the time I utilize to the fullest. When you are at home you should make the best use of that time – so when (if) you go to an office you can avoid nagging reminders about stuff you wish you had gotten done when you were at home.

When you are at the home-based location, stay busy during the work day. Avoid situations where you can wind up wasting valuable time or creating distractions that could derail you (like starting something on your phone or laptop between meetings or projects you are engaged in).

If you find being self-motivated while at home a bit difficult, or you are not fully maximizing your time when not at the office consider this solution: Make a list of tasks you can do BETWEEN your work blocks and meetings. Most people have bits of time between meetings or while working on projects. So, what are you doing during those lulls Do you adopt an entitled attitude and start cruising though Facebook ‘for just a minute?’ Do you play a game on your phone? Or do you take a deserved break and close your eyes to recharge?

If you need some ideas of what you can do in those few minutes, I am giving you some starter suggestions of things you can do in 5 minutes or less — Good luck!

Things to do in 5 minutes or less!

  • Put a load of laundry into the washer
  • Move laundry from washer to dryer
  • Fold a load of laundry and put away
  • Make a cup of tea or coffee
  • Prep your next meal (take something out to defrost)
  • Start writing a packing list for an upcoming trip
  • Return one phone call
  • Return text messages
  • Put something away that has been sitting out
  • Wash dishes
  • Empty part of the dishwasher
  • Clean your eyeglasses
  • Clean your computer screen and phone screen
  • Tackle one piece of paper on your desk
  • Return an email.
  • Write a draft of an email.
  • Use the bathroom
  • Decide your wardrobe for an upcoming event.
  • Read one magazine/trade publication article.
  • Search for a needed object online.
  • Check the weather for an upcoming trip.
  • Make your bed.
  • Strip your bed linens.
  • Grab a snack.
  • Assess your to-do list
  • Stretch!
  • Listen to a new song.
  • Watch a 3-minute video.
  • Sweep the floor
  • Look something up online
  • Shred unneeded papers
  • Put a coat of nail polish on your nails
  • File your nails
  • Make a doctor appointment
  • Wipe down a counter top

Adjust this list to make it your own and put things on it that make sense for you and your life. Each day could be a different list based on tasks that need to get done that day. Here is the secret to making this work: Use a timer (set your watch, phone, or microwave if you don’t want to use a standard kitchen timer) so you don’t get distracted by the dozens of other things you discover you need to do when doing the task that you set out to accomplish. Be sure to complete the one task you start in the block of time you allocate to do the task. Cross it off your list afterwards as well. Later, you can see what you did, what still needs to be done, and have data to make your list for tomorrow with the items you didn’t get done today.

Keep in mind, that this is still your work day and you are essentially ‘on the clock.’ While you are entitled to short breaks and you most likely will have short periods of time when are you in a ‘holding pattern’ awaiting information or a return call – be effective as well as efficient with your time.