Finding the best time saving tips for your home office can be even more important than saving time at one of those “regular” offices. After all, home offices can be filled with distractions. Kids, significant others, pets, flat screen TVs and the tempting call of your bed can all have a dampening impact on your productivity.  If you work from home, you need a special set of time saving tips to keep you on track throughout the day. Here are our top 9 life hacks for the home office.

9. Make your own “fast food”

If you love to cook, creating gourmet concoctions for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a great way to waste time during the day. Avoid the temptation of getting all ‘Top Chef’ about your meals by making them the night before. Throw breakfast ingredients into a blender and store it in the fridge overnight, make a salad or sandwich that’s easy to grab when you get hungry, and keep plenty of snacks on hand to eliminate trips to the store in the middle of your workday.

8. Set Boundaries

If others in your family are home while you’re working, set a “don’t interrupt me unless the world is ending” rule. Little interruptions throughout the day don’t just waste time – they also distract the mind and make it difficult to get back to what you were doing once the interruption is over.

7. Stick to a Schedule

If you’re self-employed and work from home, the temptation to wake up “whenever” and work until “whenever” can be great. Sticking to a consistent start and end time will help you get more done, and will also allow you some much-needed relaxation time at the end of every day.

6. Take Breaks

Times saving tips aren’t simply about creating more time so that you can get more done. They’re also about giving yourself some space and breathing room. Taking frequent breaks is important for your brain. Spending more than two hours straight staring at a computer screen squelches your creativity. So get up, do some stretching, or go for a walk. When you return to your task, you’ll be refreshed and more focused.

5. Smell your Way to Success

Keep some essential oils or scented candles on hand to provide energy and help you focus. Citrus scents like orange and lemon are known for their powers of revitalization, and are much better for you than chugging cup after cup of coffee.

4. Get an Exercise Ball

Swap your boring chair for a big exercise ball that fits underneath your desk. As you work, you’ll be engaging all sorts of muscles, increasing blood flow to the brain.

3. Move your Work Station

When you start to feel antsy or unfocused, change your work station. Saving time is all about putting yourself in the optimum work environment, so if you feel inspired on the couch – or even in bed – go there, and go there now! Not all masterpieces are created while sitting upright at a traditional desk.

2. Schedule your Calls

One of our favorite time savings tips is ensuring that the majority of your calls are scheduled in advance. Nothing wastes time like phone interruptions. Just as you were beginning to really get some work done– ring! Before you know it, you’re on a 45-minute call that results in 45 new things to do, and the task you were working on gets lost in the shuffle. Make it clear to your clients and partners that calls need to be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. This will let you clear your schedule and create some mental space for the call.

1. Beat your Client to the Punch

Prevent those time-consuming “Where is my _____?”-emails from clients by heading them off at the pass. Shoot them a quick email update, even if you have nothing to give them. Doing this creates trust, puts them at ease, and saves you time later when the actual due dates begin to loom.

Hey, work-from-homers, what are your favorite time saving tips?

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