Time Management Tips for Remote Workers
Updated: May 13, 2020
There is a perception that remote workers have an easy work life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remote workers actually tend to work longer than regular office workers. To juggle a heavy schedule one has to be able to manage one’s time effectively.
Smart remote workers negotiate a set number of daily working hours with their employers. If you're hired on a project basis then your hours are your own to determine. Either way, you need to manage your time effectively so that you can find a healthy balance between your work and personal life.
This is usually the most difficult thing for any remote worker to accomplish.
Finding a balance means making the time for family, exercise and getting out into the sunshine whenever possible, networking & socialising and pursuing a hobby or passion project. These are the things that bring balance into your life.
If you find yourself working around the clock and neglecting your personal life, it's time to create a better balance. If you're chasing the dollars but burning out, it's time to seriously re-evaluate your job and what it's taking out of you.
Effective time management requires that you structure your life in a way that allows you to pursue the things that bring balance. That means following a set routine where possible. Below are some essential points that will help you manage your time more effectively:
1. Set goals and ensure your time management supports those goals
As a remote worker, you may have daily responsibilities in the home like taking care of a young family, running errands or studying part-time. This makes it important to set clear goals and do what needs to be done to help you reach those goals. Setting goals helps you focus on your work in a more constructive manner. For example, if you want to brush up on your career skills, doing an online course may mean you have to set aside a few hours a day for studying. If you want to remain fit and healthy then making the time for exercise should become part of your daily or weekly schedule.
2. Do the important stuff first
Learning how to prioritise your day is one of the biggest challenges in time management. Determining what is most important will allow you to focus on the things that also align with your ultimate goals. Set aside time each morning to have a healthy breakfast before starting your day. Then get started by attending to your most urgent emails or correspondences so that those issues can get dealt with first. Other matters that don't require your immediate attention can be attended to later in the day.
3. Find ways to help motivate yourself on your off-days
Working remotely means you need to have a lot of self-motivation. You are going to experience days where you feel flat, bored, demotivated or just plain worn out. If you are self-aware and able to identify the source of your lack of motivation, you can take appropriate action.
Of course, there are times when it is necessary to work overtime. A looming deadline that requires extra hours at your desk may result in fatigue. If you are sensitive to your physical and emotional needs you'll be inclined to take some time off to recharge your batteries and balance the scales appropriately. Some find activities such as being outdoors, sport or creative activities helpful in increasing motivation.
4. Focus on your work by switching off all distractions
Social media can be a huge source of distraction. Ensure that you close all tabs not directly related to the project at hand and put your phone on silent. If noise distracts you, you may want to wear earplugs so you are less affected by noise. Working alone can sometimes bore one to tears so step outside for some stimulation once in a while. Find what works for you and try to get rid of anything that distracts you from focusing all your attention on your tasks at hand.
5. Make a to-do list or use an app
Setting “To-Do” lists for each day will help you to both manage your time effectively and help you stick to a schedule. There is also an enormous sense of satisfaction that comes with ending a workday having completed your entire list. Keeping track of what needs doing does not need to be tedious or limited to random post-it notes. There are loads of smart apps around that help you increase productivity.
6. Rest well so you have enough energy to work effectively
The average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. Researchers found that cutting sleep down to five or six hours per night reduced productivity by a 19 percent loss during the following workday. Resting is not just limited to getting a good night's sleep either. Make sure to set a few hours for yourself each day to enjoy relaxing activities such as a hot bath, reading or going for a leisurely walk.
If you pace yourself properly, manage your time effectively and schedule out your tasks each day you will be able to achieve more.
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