The recent State of Remote Work report by Owl Labs revealed that 16% of companies have now become fully remote. If you include hybrid teams, freelancers, and independent contractors, a massive chunk of the population is working remotely.
In the United States alone, 4.3 million people are working from home.
Time management is one of the most common remote-work pitfalls people face.
Therefore, this article lists the five time management and organizational skills you need to acquire:
1. Use Time Tracking Software
Time always seems to be slipping away. It’s never enough, is it?
But even if humans had more than 24 hours a day, would it make a difference?
People can speculate and fantasize about what they would do with those extra hours, but the truth is bitter. How many people actually make the best use of those 24 hours every day? Out of those 24 hours, you can set aside 8-9 hours for work.
How many minutes are wasted on distractions like scrolling on social media?
It may not seem much, but the compound effect takes away valuable time when you should be focusing and working. Thankfully, technology can help.
Using time tracking software like Time Doctor, you can utilize every second of your work hours.
It helps you determine:
- which tasks took longer than necessary
- the amount of time spent on meetings
- which five-minute breaks turned into longer breaks
- the amount of time spent on emails
- the exact billable hours, which in turn, facilitates invoicing (crucial for freelancers)
- the analytics related to your overall productivity
To sum up, Time Doctor can help you identify your shortcomings to continue to achieve new levels of productivity. Achieve office-like productivity or perhaps even better!
2. Stay Away From Distractions
Working from home has tremendous benefits. Some of them save time for commute, location independence, and custom environment.
However, it’s not without drawbacks. Since the home is also where your family is, you risk getting easily distracted.
Kids running about, pets running around with them, or loud television noises hampering your concentration. People don’t face such a distraction when working in an office.
About 53% of respondents confessed that they no longer feel the separation between personal and professional lives in a survey. Finding ways to separate yourself from this chaos is crucial while working remotely.
The following tips may help:
- When not in use, switch off the television or other noisy appliances, especially when they’re just running in the background.
- Follow a disciplined schedule even at home. For example, if you work from 10 am to 6 pm, let your family know that your entire focus will be on work.
- Arrange your desk neatly. Visual clutter can add to the distraction.
- Take a five-minute break after every 60 minutes. Use that time to have brief conversations with your family.
3. Prepare a To-Do List
- Struggling to keep up with the deadlines?
- Feeling overwhelmed with the quantity of work?
- Forgetting to complete essential tasks?
You’re not alone in this. People face these issues every day. You may feel frustrated because earlier, you would complete the same tasks without missing deadlines, or perhaps, your workflow increased.
In either case, creating a to-do list every night could be a game-changer. Don’t spend your early morning hours trying to brainstorm the pending tasks while assigning them a random priority. Before you know it, you’ll be yawning after lunch.
Instead, prepare a to-do list a night prior. You can use the good old paper or software tools like OneNote and Keep to list the tasks in the order of their priority. Use the early morning hours (or the time when you’re most productive) to finish tasks with high priority.
Once you do that, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for getting the most important things done before lunch. And when you do feel sleepy after lunch, use that time for meetings or responding to emails. This way, you’ll make the best use of your time while working remotely.
4. Take Breaks
Taking breaks comes naturally while working in an office. There are restroom breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks, and a little chit-chat with colleagues here and there.
However, as mentioned before, the boundary between personal and professional life can diminish while working remotely. Many people, for instance, tend to have meals at their workstations. Others don’t feel the need to take separate coffee breaks.
It’s not uncommon for remote workers to give up on meal breaks altogether. A survey found that over 25% of employees were ‘chained to their desks’ except for lunchtime.
However, this is a big mistake when working from home. Without breaks, you can’t possibly rejuvenate yourself. Ideally, you should get off your chair (or bed) every 60 minutes for 5-10 minutes.
Besides, it’s not healthy for you to stick to your chair like glue for hours straight!
5. Set Deadlines For Tasks
Creating a to-do list a night prior and using time tracking software won’t work if you don’t set deadlines for your projects and tasks.
Deadlines keep you on your toes and help you:
- Prioritise tasks
- Achieve short-term and long-term goals
- Leverage the full creative potential, especially under tight deadlines
- Avoid over-analysing or spending too much time on one task
- Increase your confidence when the task is completed
Meeting deadlines is no less challenging. Setting unrealistically tight deadlines prevents you from meeting them. This, in turn, affects your morale. On the other hand, setting loose deadlines can result in procrastination or you being overly perfectionist. Both are harmful.
Hence, it’s essential to set reasonable timelines and suitable rewards and penalties depending on whether or not you met those timelines. However, you shouldn’t let anxiety take over you.
Setting and meeting deadlines is a great idea. Try everything in your power to stick to the timeframe. But, you may fail to do so over an extended period of time. Don’t let the anxiety of missing the deadline affect your work quality in that scenario.
By following the aforementioned time management and organisation skills, you can really enjoy the perks of working remotely. Without these strategies, you’ll find yourself wishing to work in an office.
Why give up your location independence and custom environment when you can easily fix productivity problems?
Remove distractions from your workspace, prepare a to-do list, take frequent breaks, use time tracking software like Time Doctor, and set realistic deadlines to achieve optimum productivity while working remotely.
Ashwini Dave works as a SEO expert at Time doctor. She is a free soul and adventurous scholar who enjoys spending time with her loved ones as well as listening to music and watching or playing sports. She loves the ocean and is a thrill-seeking traveler who looks at life as a work of art.