Time. What an irreplaceable and absolutely essential resource. Yet, it’s the most underrated aspect that most of us – especially remote workers – take for granted. We get it, there are so many distractions that you need to overcome. Laundry, cooking, children and the crib, to name a few. But that’s why time management is so important. In this blog, we’ll spell out twelve ways you can do all of that and more while working remotely. So, let’s get started!
Why Is Remote Work Time Management Important?
Effectively managing time remains the most challenging part of remote work. When executed skillfully, remote work opens doors to heightened flexibility and productivity. Nevertheless, inadequate time management can instead transform the remote setting into a source of stress and occasional seclusion. The juggling act between professional duties and personal life will be tiring.
Hence, taking control over your workday within the confines of your home office becomes absolutely vital. Consider the following to manage your time well as a remote worker.
1. Specific Workplace at Home
One challenge seen in remote work is the difficulty of stopping it once the usual workday ends. This trend occurs because of numerous factors: no well-defined work boundary and imbalance between work and personal life make it to the top of the list. But there are solutions to this problem:
- Establish a dedicated home office space within your room.
- If possible, maintain a clear demarcation between your workspace and sleeping area.
- Embrace work attire, even when working from home.
- Consider coworking spaces to introduce a physical separation between work and home.
These steps can help maintain a healthier work-life balance while minimizing the tendency to overextend work hours.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Although it’s unrealistic to entirely avoid distractions, there are measures you can adopt to reduce the overall impact. For example, maintaining a clear and orderly workspace, prioritizing tasks, and determining breaks ahead of time. While these might not completely eliminate the desire to step away from work, they can help minimize it throughout long workdays.
3. Try To-Do Lists
Even if compiling lists isn’t your innate inclination, utilizing to-do lists can act as a valuable tool in establishing order. At the start of each day, try to prepare a catalog listing all the important tasks, those of secondary importance, and those of a more long-term nature.
Throughout the day, periodically consult the list. That way, at the end of the day, you can reflect upon the list and re-strategize priorities for the upcoming day. By nurturing this practice you’ll discover enhanced aptitude in directing your attention to truly important tasks.
4. Set Deadlines and Timelines
Time limits are generally a useful instrument for proper time allocation, helping individuals to maintain focus. Thus, when drafting to-do lists, ensure there are approximate time allocations included for each task.
5. Play to Your Strengths
Each person is different, so prepare for the day according to your convenience. Only you will know how to do it right. For example, if you tend to be a morning person and feel sharpest in the early hours, think about beginning your day with tougher tasks. Dealing with challenging assignments when your mind is at its peak can lead to faster progress, leaving you more time for other tasks as the day unfolds.
On the flipside, if your mornings tend to be a bit slower to start, and it takes time for your energy to kick in, diving right into the toughest tasks might not give you the boost you need. In fact, it could drain your energy. Completing an easier task early on might give you a positive momentum that carries over to the more challenging tasks that follow.
6. Set Work Hours and Stick to Them
Find out the hours you’re most productive, and share them openly with everyone involved. This makes it easier to collaborate with your remote colleagues and also sets clear boundaries with friends and family. By defining your work hours, like from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, you’re less likely to be caught off guard by unexpected requests, overly long breaks, or unplanned visits during these times.
Once you have your core hours established, feel free to set aside specific chunks of time for tasks that require your full attention or for scheduled meetings. These set time blocks are a helpful way to manage your time effectively by specifying when you’re open to interruptions and when you need focused work.
7. Know Your Rabbit Holes
We all know those tempting online distractions – the links we can’t resist clicking, even if we plan for just a quick peek.
Save these bits for your scheduled breaks or as a little reward for wrapping up a tough task.
8. Take Breaks
Remember, taking breaks isn’t just a luxury – it’s necessary for managing your time well. Sitting at your desk for too long can actually make it harder to stay focused, not to mention the body aches and joint pains you’ll attract in the long run.
So, be sure to make break planning a key part of your time management process. You might even want to set an alarm to remind you to step away for a short while or do some stretching. These breaks are like a reset button for your mind and a chance to reenergize.
9. Time Blocking
An important skill for remote workers to master is called time blocking. Imagine dividing your day into chunks of time, each dedicated to a specific task. This approach boosts your productivity by preventing multitasking, which can actually make you less efficient.
But time blocking is more than just making a to-do list and checking things off. It involves deciding which tasks are most important and understanding how long each task really takes in the real world. By getting the hang of this technique, remote workers can make their day-to-day schedules work better, without feeling rushed to finish things.
10. Learn How to Disconnect
Never forget about the essential practice of stepping away from work in remote setups. This is a must-do for time management. Because remote work can sometimes mix up the lines between work and personal life, which isn’t good for anyone.
Learning how to truly disconnect gives remote workers the power to create the separation that’s needed. It’s all about setting boundaries that keep things balanced and healthy for both your job and personal life.
The reason we’re considering this a strategy is that everyone has their own way of stepping back from work. Some people might need to physically leave their workspace, while others might just put a cover over their desk. What’s important for remote workers is to create a way to disconnect that feels right for them and fits into their daily routine. This is how you can avoid getting too worn out, which is something a lot of remote workers worry about.
11. Set a Work Routine
Even within the realm of flexible work arrangements, a certain degree of structure is essential. Establishing routines introduces a salutary sense of stability and organization to our daily lives. For remote workers, these routines also facilitate clear communication of availability to colleagues. While certain specifics may be adaptable to accommodate other commitments, the general framework of your day should remain fairly consistent throughout the week.
Revisiting the fundamentals is key: delineate when you’ll rise in the morning, commence work, take breaks, enjoy your lunch, and wrap up your work each day. Frame your days with activities – such as exercising or reading – that serve as markers delineating the shift between work-related hours and personal time. For some, incorporating a “pretend commute” helps immensely with effective time management.
Final Word: Understanding Personal Productivity
One important thing for remote workers to consider is their own productivity patterns. By figuring out when you work best during the day, you can plan your schedule around those times. This helps you get important tasks done every day.
Research shows that a lot of people are most productive between 9 AM and 11 AM. But the best way to really know when you’re at your best is to keep track of how long it takes you to finish tasks for a couple of weeks or more. Doing this will help you spot when you’re most on top of your game each day.
Article written by Ramitha Ramesh. Ramitha serves as the editor at Karbon Business, a fintech company specializing in offering corporate credit card solutions. She is renowned for her expertise in SEO content marketing strategy for a diverse clientele across the US, UK, and India. With a penchant for exploring the fast-paced realm of finance, business, and marketing, her blog is a treasure trove of insights that offer unique perspectives on the latest trends and developments in the industry. Finding nirvana in food, fun, and travel, she is on a mission to counter the infodemic amidst digital chaos.
Last updated September 1, 2023