The ongoing global health crisis has pushed many people to work from home. According to a survey done by Stanford University, nearly half of Americans aged 20-64 are working remotely full time.
One of the challenges when working from home is time management. Many employees may be tempted to spend their work time on non-work related stuff, such as social media and reading the news, and low-value tasks like reacting to emails to keep you busy.
If your employer has allowed you to follow a remote work arrangement, make sure that you manage your time wisely. Here are ten suggestions to set you up for success during this unique and trying time:
1. Manage Your Calendar Proactively
Rather than leave your calendar blank for your boss or your co-workers to populate, arrange your timetable to support getting your tasks completed. Every Friday, for instance, allocate chunks of focused time to responsibilities or projects you’ll be managing for the next week or two. View this time as a locked meeting.
2. Discuss Your Work Schedule with Your Manager
The typical office day may not be realistic if you have household obligations or errands vying for your time. You may also notice that you’re more productive or efficient during non-traditional working hours, such as after dinner or before the sun rises. If you’re in this situation, reach out to your manager and bring up your work hour expectations and availability.
3. Use Productivity Apps
Download and install software or mobile apps designed to give your overall productivity a boost. A couple of free options you could try are Focus Booster and Evernote. These platforms go beyond helping you keep track of your deliverables. They also notify you when you need to take a break or conclude your workday. This can be helpful during days when you would lose track of time and unconsciously work beyond standard business hours.
4. Designate Spaces Around Your Home
Pick separate areas or rooms in your house and assign expectations for each. Examples include designating the living room for leisure, the kitchen table for lunch and the table in your bedroom for work. Search for the best spots in your home to play and work, and keep this arrangement as consistent as possible.
5. Dress Like You’re Going to Work in the Office
You may be wondering how dressing up is relevant to managing your time effectively. When you get into the routine of putting on work clothes to start your day, this helps you get into a frame of mind to zero in on your deliverables. When you’re focused like this, you can manage your time better.
6. Stay Connected with People
Working remotely can make you feel more isolated, especially if you’re living by yourself. Human interaction is essential for your mental well-being, so arrange video calls with your co-workers. Get in touch with your boss or your colleagues if you need assistance. You could also set up a call to see how others in your organization are faring during these times of uncertainty.
7. Check If Every Scheduled Meeting on Your Calendar is Necessary
Video meetings are crucial to stay connected, but not all of them are important. If you’re in charge of arranging meetings, consider if they’re critical to the completion of your deliverables.
Also, if you’re invited to a meeting that doesn’t have an agenda, check with the organizer for details. Never attend video calls that have no topic or subject for discussion.
8. Make Sleep Hygiene a Priority
Working from home could tempt you to burn the midnight oil or work long hours just to get your projects or deliverables completed in one sitting. Good sleep hygiene, however, is vital for your overall health and to practicing time management the following workday. Create a bedtime routine that signals your body that you need to slow down and retire for the day.
9. Reward Yourself
Mini-rewards for finishing a major deliverable or a certain amount of work can serve as an excellent motivator. Just make sure that you choose healthy rewards. Instead of bingeing on Netflix shows or eating candies or chocolates, listen to a few of your favorite songs or treat yourself to a nice cup of soothing tea.
10. Eliminate Time-Consuming Distractions
Getting rid of game or entertainment apps on your mobile phone and keeping your TV set far away from your work area are a couple of ways to reduce distractions that can eat up your productive time. If you find that your home is too noisy, invest in noise-canceling headphones.
Take note of these ten strategies to stay efficient while telecommuting. Time management is no longer just a productivity tool. It’s now a way to create more stability and meaning through all the chaos you face at work.