The Importance of Time Management When Working Remotely
By Carson Tate on July 20, 2021
As the recent COVID-19 pandemic slowly subsides, allowing many people to return to their workplaces and offices, many plan to continue working remotely from home. Companies invested in tools and resources to enhance virtual work, and many plan to continue to employ a remote or hybrid workforce. If you’re someone who now works remotely and may do so permanently, you may need to evaluate how you manage your time to ensure that you stay productive and maintain a positive work-life balance. Here, we’ll explore some ways to keep your time management on track so you can make your remote-work experience a success.
Home Office Time Management Strategies
Time management is an important concern for employees and employers no matter where work occurs–in the office or at the employee’s home. However, at home, employees are essentially on their own for a substantial part of the day unless they connect to their office via a virtual platform. That means that with no supervisor or executives looking over their shoulder, they have to exercise some self-discipline to manage their schedule to get their workload done effectively. The following are some time management tips that are ideal for remote work-from-home jobs.
Create Your Workspace
Setting a home office allows you to create a dedicated space for work. This will enable you to establish a boundary between your professional tasks and your personal life. If you have a spare room, you can transform it into your ideal workspace; however, even a small corner of a room will suffice, provided you can set it up in a way that’s conducive to performing productive work. You can outfit this space with items such as:
- Connective devices (i.e. laptop, second monitor, tablet, etc…)
- Ergonomic desk chair
- Desk or counter dedicated to your work
- Good lighting
When you have a comfortable place to work, you can more effectively perform your work, which is crucial for optimum time management.
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Use a Calendar
When you work remotely, you may find that the number of meetings you need to attend doubles or even triples. It’s easy to understand why as the only way to connect is via a virtual conference on a platform like Zoom. Naturally, you don’t want to forget to attend a meeting, so be sure that you check your calendar daily and set alarms so that you’re always on time. Once your calendar is filled in with meeting dates for the week, you can use it to plan the rest of your time so that you can schedule appropriate chunks of time for specific work tasks.
Rely on Time Management Tools
The clock and your calendar are traditional tools you can rely on to help you stay on track, but there are also many new apps that you can try to improve your time management practices. There are apps designed to help you track your progress on work tasks, apps designed to boost your motivation, and apps that track how much time you’re spending on individual tasks. Take some time to research the digital tools and try one or two out to see if it enhances your time management skills.
Although your employer may expect work tasks to be completed by deadlines, you can set your own deadlines for all sorts of tasks. You can create a workday plan with deadlines to ensure that you’re accomplishing your tasks following your preferred schedule. When working remotely, you are your boss for a considerable part of the day, so it’s up to you to police your schedule and work routine. Setting deadlines and sticking to them helps you develop positive, disciplined habits that support your productivity.
Evaluate and Measure
To ensure that you’re managing your time and remote work effectively, you should take it upon yourself to evaluate and measure where you may be wasting time or not using time as effectively as you could be. When you work from home, it’s easy to take a moment here and there to answer a text or check your social media account. However, you don’t want these activities to cut into your workday because they can undermine your productivity, forcing you to have to work after hours when you should be enjoying your evening.
By evaluating where you’re squandering your time, you can take steps to make changes so that you keep your work on track. You might also shift some of the activities you might do without much thought, like texting your partner or friends to your office break times.
As you refine your time management practices, listen for feedback on your remote work performance from your employer or colleagues. It’s important for everyone involved with your work to feel like the process is going smoothly. If you’re well-organized, meeting your deadlines, and always prepared for meetings, it’s likely going to show–even across the digital spectrum. By prioritizing your time management strategies, you can continue to improve them and help your colleagues improve theirs.
Keep these time management tips in mind as you develop your best practices for working remotely. You’ll know that they are working based on the productivity you measure in yourself and how great you feel about the job you’re doing. If you’re new to working from home and could use more advice, consider consulting with business and life coach Carson Tate. She can help you find actionable strategies to meet your professional and personal goals.
Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that partners with organizations, business leaders and employees to enhance workplace productivity, foster employee engagement, and build personal and professional legacies.
She is the author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, and just released, Own It. Love It. Make It Work.: How To Make Any Job Your Dream Job. Order your copy HERE! For more information, please visit www.carsontate.com.