There is an illusion that employees can get more done when working from home. This isn’t always the case and oftentimes, working from home can lead to overload and overwhelm. Employees often note that it is easy for them to spend more hours working from home than they did at the office. Learning the art of time management is part of the key to successfully working from home.  Here are 7 tips to help you manage time and maintain your sanity!

Plan ahead: It is never a good idea just to get to your work area without a plan in mind. Always plan in advance. With advanced planning, you know what tasks and responsibilities you will be focusing on your energies. If you go with the notion that you will figure things out when you get to work, you will find that the hours will slip away from you because you are working without a guide and a goal of what you hope to accomplish at the end of your workday. No planning limits your ability to focus and it becomes very easy for you to get caught up with distractions and find yourself procrastinating.

2. Prioritize: Now that you understand the importance of prior planning, you’ve decided to plan your workload in advance. Now it’s time to decide what gets your priority. A tip I like to recommend is that you list or number the things on your to-do list. Don’t just make a mental note. Commit it to pen and paper, or type it up in your computer. You will want to give top priorities to the most pressing tasks, and secondary priority to tasks that could wait for another day in the event you’re not able to complete the list.

3. Be realistic with your expectations: Allot a reasonable amount of time for each project. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a long list that will require super-human strength to complete. By being realistic, you maintain balance, a balance between your professional and personal time. You don’t want to frustrate yourself because you feel the need to finish every item on the list. You’re only one person and Rome was not built in a day. Break larger projects into smaller tasks so that they can be planned well and progress is seen. Be realistic in what you can and cannot accomplish in a given workday.

4. Avoid over-scheduling: Leave some wiggle-room between tasks. Take a little break, no matter how intense a project is or how full your schedule may be. A coffee break or a call quick call to a friend is not a bad thing, once you don’t let it take up too much of your time. Leave room in your schedule between tasks, and avoid going back to back on items on your list.

5. Don’t multitask: Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not a time-saver. It is best to focus your energies and attention on one thing at a time and then move on. Multitasking is a time thief. Don’t fall victim to the idea that you’re getting more done.

6. Keep focused on the task at hand: With so many things competing for your time and attention, it’s easy to lose focus. Resist the temptation to check your email, make calls, and all the address everything as they come up.

7. Delegate: No one can do it all. Be brave enough to outsource tasks to someone else that is skilled and knowledgeable. Remember, your time is best spent on the tasks you excel at and are most passionate about. Enlist the help you need so you can focus on the areas that deserve your time and attention.