After years of struggling with long commute hours, you’ve got your dream job where you could work remotely from home. The flexibility of being able to work without leaving your comfortable home sounds enticing, and with lesser commuting stress, you should be more productive. However, working from home can backfire if you allow the countless distractions and comfort to lull you into complacency. Here are some useful time management tips to supercharge productivity when you’re working remotely.
1. Start With A Plan
“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”.
This quote by Benjamin Franklin couldn’t sound truer when you’re working from home. As there might be no team lead who’s constantly pressuring you to finish up tasks in time. Or lengthy meetings to talk about plans and goals. But having the flexibility to set your time doesn’t mean planning is secondary. If you don’t start your day or week with a solid plan, you’ll risk spending most of your time unproductively. Before you even start checking emails in the morning, list down the task that you expect to accomplish in a journal or a planning app like Evernote. Ensure that you’re not only listing what you intend to do but also how long it takes to execute each task. It helps you to stay on your toes during the day.
2. Track Time
It’s easy to be deceived by thoughts that you have ample time when you’re working from home. Without a bustling workspace, you may lower your guard and start relaxing the tempo. Being accused of slacking from home is the last thing you wanted. Instead, measure the time taken for every task that you’re working on. Ensure that you finish crafting a sales letter within its estimated duration. Using a time tracker tool like Toggl helps in maintaining focus on your job. It gives you a good idea of the time spent or wasted on the tasks.
3. Minimize Distraction
Did you feel the urge to respond to every single notification on your mobile? Or think that catching a few trending clips on Youtube wouldn’t hurt your work? That’s what most remote employees thought until they spent hours browsing social media feeds and videos without realizing so. Distractions are your greatest enemies when working remotely and self-discipline is vital to get the most out of your time. It helps to put your phone on silence or keep it away from your workstation. Stay away from Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and other online platforms that would drain precious time away.
4. Maintain A Decent Working Environment
It is unlikely that you have a similar modern workspace design in your home as in physical offices. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t create a working environment that promotes focus and productivity. No, we’re not talking about an expensive coffee machine or fancy decors. It’s about having a proper workspace that is separated from the rest of your home. At the very least, your workspace should be uncluttered even if you’re not particularly known for tidiness. Having a proper working table and chair helps you to remain focused at work. You wouldn’t want to struggle with backache while you’re attempting to fix bugs in the code.
5. Take Small Breaks
Some individuals have no issues with working long hours without physical, social interaction. Others may struggle to work from home without the usual chats and banters. To prevent your job from being reduced to a monotonous routine, you ought to take small breaks in between. Allow yourself a breather of 5-10 minutes every couple of hours. Drop a message to your teammate on Slack or take a couple of bites of your favorite snacks. Having these breaks help you keep your mind focused, and creative throughout the day. And you won’t be feeling guilty if you’re checking on your social media during the breaks.
6. Have Quality Lunch
Having spent hours troubleshooting codes that gone awry in the comfort of your home, you would have thought that making express pizza for lunch is the best option. You’re wrong. Instead, we strongly suggest that our team take a physical break from home and had lunch at an actual eatery. You’ll find that stepping away from home to grab a decent meal a rejuvenating experience. If it takes up too much time to commute to an eatery, make lunch and have it on your dining table. Stop munching pasta while you’re browsing through dozens of emails.
7. Stay Organized
Not every one of us is meticulous when it comes to organizing our work desk or virtual files. But it’s an important skill to pick up if you want to remain productive when working remotely. We strongly suggest that you develop a system to track files and folders on your computer. You wouldn’t want to spend 30 minutes searching for a project document. You can also make use of technology to keep track of invoicing, project progress or manage tasks effectively. For instance, Trello is an essential tool that we strongly recommend our remote team to use. It helps everyone to stay on track with the project in general.
8. Maintain A Routine
Working remotely is about having flexibility, but that doesn’t mean things have to turn chaotic. You’ll find that productivity increases when you’re sticking to a routine. It could be as simple as starting your day with a cup of coffee while digesting what’s happening on the news. Then you spend 20 minutes replying to essential emails before you start handling more demanding tasks. Practicing a routine allows you to have a great picture of your capacity and workload. This ensures that you’re not taking more responsibilities than you can chew. After all, it’s about spending quality time at work rather than slogging the hours away unproductively.
It’s inevitable that an increasing number of modern companies are adopting the remote working lifestyle. Naturally, such an arrangement will require a tremendous level of self-discipline to ensure that you are delivering quality results consistently. Embracing the methods mentioned above help you to thrive in a remote working environment. Have more time management tips for working remotely? Share with our team in the comment below. Read more about how to "turn off" your work mode and squeeze in some after work activities after a busy day.