How to make your time count when working from home

Make your time count when working from home

Every day we make thousands of different choices; from deciding when to get up, what to wear and have for breakfast, to which news channel to watch before settling down to work.

Human behaviour is guided by actions that provide us with a positive result. When this happens, you strengthen that response mechanism like a muscle. This reinforces your behavior, meaning you’re more likely to respond in a similar way in the future.

But when you’re working from home and faced with a range of choices, how can you ensure that you respond in the most productive way?

The matching law

Behavioural science shows that we choose to complete one action instead of another based on four elements (a theory known as the matching law). The influencing factors are; reward, effort, delay and quality.

We are more likely to do something productive when

  1. It consistently achieves positive results = high rate of reward
  2. You don’t have to put much effort in (life’s busy!) = low effort response
  3. There is no waiting around, you can see the positive impact instantly = no delay reward
  4. You get a big payoff for boosting your productivity (e.g. it saves you a ton of time) = high quality reward

Make your time count

One way you can improve productivity while working from home is through the practice of time tracking. This involves recording the amount of time you spend on tasks throughout the day. Time tracking helps you understand where you are draining your time, and the insights can help you put priorities in place to direct your efforts to the really important stuff. With Timeular, you even track your time as a team across multiple locations, increasing overall efficiency, transparency and collaboration.

Despite the benefits, not everyone tracks their time.

The matching law can explain

Some time tracking tools can be difficult to use. They don’t always record your tracked behaviours accurately (low rate of reward). They can require long daily sessions of inputting data and are not fun to use (high effort).

Apps can be slow to load results, meaning you have to wait longer to see your progress (long delay) and those results might be poorly detailed (low quality reward).

All of these factors can combine to make time tracking seem more effortful than efficient.

When I came across Timeular, it changed my perspective on time tracking. I quickly realised that the Timeular Tracker includes all of the qualities which behavioural science shows is necessary to strengthen time tracking behaviour.

  • It reliably records each task you have been working on to-the-minute
  • The unique and customisable design makes it easy to use (just flip the Tracker to record a new task)
  • Results are available to view quickly via your smartphone or the desktop app
  • The graphs and information are rich in detail, showing you exactly how you have managed your time. The ultimate reward for your time tracking ambitions

Achieving the ideal work-life balance is always going to be a challenge. But now I have the knowledge and the tools to start tracking my time and make every minute count. For anyone working from home and struggling to maintain focus or stay productive, introducing time tracking is a gamechanger that will help you reap long-term benefits.

Learn more about using Timeular for your team
About the authorBethany Marie
Bethany Marie is the founder of Behaviour Babble, a blog that aims to make psychology simple and show how you can apply it to enhance all aspects of your life.