6 Ways to Maximize Your Time While Working From Home

COVID-19 is stretching people thin, especially if they have kids at home. We asked six entrepreneurs: How are you managing your day...and your sanity?
6 Ways to Maximize Your Time While Working From Home
Image credit: Pete Ryan
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the October 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

1. Make three lists.

“I have three to-do lists instead of one, organized by category. The first list is COVID-related tasks (PPP, EIDL, grants, etc.). The second is pre-COVID business. The last is new business — ­pursuing opportunities with people who may not have used our services before but now are interested. I set a goal to work on one thing from each category per day and cross off two things from each list per week.” — Kim Kaupe, cofounder, The Superfan Company

2. Create transitions. 

“I realized I actually miss my commute; it provided a mental break and preparation time for the day. So now I re-create the feeling by starting and ending my day with a mock commute, by walking or biking around my neighborhood.” — Christine Schindler, CEO, PathSpot 

Related: 101 Time Management Tips to Boost Productivity Every Day

3. Set two deadlines.

“I’ve instituted a soft-stop, hard-stop process. I set an alarm to go off at 3 p.m. every weekday, which is my soft deadline. If I can stop working then, I do. If not, the alarm puts my brain into wrap-up mode and I’m sure to make my hard deadline — which is 5 p.m. I want to make sure work doesn’t consume me so that I live a life of great memories, activities, and people.” — Laticia Austin, founder, The Mobile Sophisticate

4. Make new spaces.

“I’ve created artificial divides in my home to better manage my time. I’ve converted my living room to a gym and my dining room to an office, and I use my patio for conference calls. Leaving doors closed between rooms and following this system gives me a much-needed change of scenery and adds structure to an easily blurred schedule.” — Matthias Metternich, CEO, Art of Sport

5. Say no when necessary.

“I’m normally very available to my staff and employees, and I get dozens of emails and calls a day from people wanting assistance and advice. But now that I’m also juggling two kids, I’ve learned to say no and to rely on my great team more. Our executive leadership team now manages key meetings that I used to be more involved in, for example, and I’m no longer as directly engaged in hiring and recruiting.” — Charles Zhong, founder and CEO, Azazie

Related: 6 Ways to Build a Bond With Customers

6. Prioritize narrowly.

“Between running an online business and being a full-time mom, things can get crazy. Before, I used to have a long daily to-do list — and when things would come up, I’d add them to that list. Now I manage my time by picking the top three things I must get done that day, and I don’t worry about anything else.” — Tiffany Williams, CEO, Rich Girl Collective

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