Remote working is a global trend that has become increasingly popular over the years. The prevailing situation suggests working from home has become the new norm.
Many people are facing several challenges, as they try to efficiently work from remote locations. Time management is one such major challenge, addressed in this article. People are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their time, while working from home.
Time management is a skill every working individual needs to master. It is a life-long hack, everyone should include in their daily routines. A few great tips are mentioned below, that can be implemented by anyone working remotely.
Maintain a weekly planner
Planning in advance is a prerequisite for ideal time management. One should brainstorm beforehand and note down all the tasks to be done for a particular time period.
Planning can be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. In order to easily forecast the upcoming situation and accurately jot down all tasks to be conducted, weekly planning is a good option.
Week Plan is a highly recommended software for planning, scheduling and task management. It is a priority planner for highly effective people and contains lots of beneficial features. Such software can be used to plan activities and manage time efficiently.
By having a weekly planner at hand, you can always have clarity as to what needs to be done this week and the best approach to complete all activities within the weekly time period. Without prior planning, lots of valuable time will be lost in deciding what to do and how to do it.
Maintaining a weekly planner is also effective in reducing stress and anxiety. When you know you have all tasks organized in a planning software and are aware of all things to be done, you are relieved. You can also instantly share your schedule with other people & make commitments accordingly.
Updating an online planner is also a better way of tracking work tasks and home chores, than remembering things in your mind or noting them in a physical diary. There are lower chances of error or information loss. Everything is organized and stored in a single platform, easily accessible to you whenever you want to see or update it.
Practice time tracking
Time tracking is a great way to manage your time. You need to track how much time you have spent working productively and how much time was consumed by unproductive activities. The classification of focused tasks and rest periods can also be a good way to analyze the overall time spent doing an activity.
Week Plan provides a great time tracking feature, with a pomodoro timer and a daily summary. The pomodoro technique is a popular way of time management, developed by Francesco Cirillo. It uses a timer to break down the whole task into 25 minutes of focused working and short 5 minute intervals for rest.
A further approach to time tracking is calculating the average time spent for doing a particular task. If that task is recurring in nature, this approach can help to forecast the total time requirement for getting such tasks done. It is important however, to note that, the more you do something, the better you become at it and the lesser time you require to complete it in future.
You should also keep track of your break times and rest periods, in order to ensure that you are not wasting a lot of time, without realizing it. Try to take short, but frequent breaks, so that you remain fresh throughout the day. Taking time off is also important as it prevents you from burning out and over exhausting yourself.
Time should be allocated for planning, brainstorming, creative thinking, working productively, completing tasks and taking breaks. Some time should be allocated towards focused working, while some time should be spent imagining, being creative and finding ideas.
A further part in time tracking is setting and adhering to deadlines. A deadline should be set for each task to be conducted, so there is a sense of responsibility. Tasks that are not time bound are more likely to be delayed or not completed within an ideal time frame. Deadlines also help to improve overall time management.
When there are multiple jobs to be done & juggling of roles is part of the remote working scenario, there is no need to panic. You need to breathe deeply & prioritize. In order to manage time efficiently, tasks should be prioritized according to urgency and importance.
A list of tasks should be made, which should then be categorized into high importance and low importance tasks. High impact tasks should naturally be given high priority. You should know where to focus more time and efforts, and where quick fixes can be considered as an option.
A time frame for the desired completion of each task should also be decided beforehand. This practice will highlight tasks that are urgent and need to be completed at the earliest. Other tasks can be done later, or whenever you find adequate time for them.
If all tasks are prioritized well, much time can be saved. Prioritization helps take a faster approach to complete tasks. It also ensures nothing important is missed and no time is wasted on low priority activities.
While working remotely, it is especially important to prioritize your tasks. If you are working from home, there might be several distractions around you all the time. You may have to do home chores, look after family members or pets, cook food or water the plants. In order to maintain a smooth work-life balance while working remotely, prioritizing tasks is a necessary step in time management.
Prioritizing tasks also helps lower stress levels as you are aware of what needs to be done at any cost and what can be done later. Moreover, you have room to check tasks that are set to high priority and ensure they are done properly.
Group similar tasks together
A simple and interesting time management tip for remote workers is to make task categories. Chores can then be added in one of the defined categories and all similar tasks can be completed together.
Some common task categories can include Planning, Research, Team Collaboration, Creatives, Writings, Promotions, Administration, and Reporting. Each task category will have sub tasks, according to jobs roles and work types.
In planning, all kinds of short, medium and long term plans can be devised and the way forward can be determined. Further activities to be done, recurring tasks to be continued (or those to be discontinued) and the plan of action should be decided. If the entire strategy is made together, it will be well in sync and work towards the same overall goals.
Under research, the market changes and dynamic situation can be analyzed. Industry trends and customer feedback will also be part of this topic. All such tasks will require one to be updated and gather information, so it is best to sit and do it all at once.
Team collaboration activities include making phone calls, video meetings and working with other remote team members on various projects. These require everyone’s availability, so a specific time can be set when you are online and connected. As everyone is present at a particular time, waiting times and delay in coordination can smoothly be overcome.
For the creative category of work, brainstorming, idea generation and strategic thinking is required. Imagination is at play for such tasks, so it is better they are performed together. For creative tasks, a light mood, fresh air and open mind are required. It will be best if all such tasks are done together, in a similar stress-free state of mind.
Writing tasks such as designing communication pieces, articles or blogs also need a fresh and open mind. The same goes for promotional tasks such as brand building and promotional activities shaping consumer perception. A strong cup of coffee may work well while conducting such activities.
Administrative tasks can include all kinds of paperwork, updating data in software/files used by the company, signing documents and responding to emails. Reporting includes checking the tasks done by subordinates, delegating further tasks and reporting performance to higher management. This can be done at day ends, as they do not require much focus.
The benefit of creating job clusters and working on similar tasks together can help you manage time very effectively. It keeps you on the right track, helps maintain focus and provides a good direction.
All these tips will help save valuable time, reduce wasting time setting up tasks and help you work in a better flow. Time management will empower you to take charge of your day and encourage you to perform better.
Implementing these tips will enable you to do more in less time, while feeling more fresh and comfortable than ever before! If you follow any other time management hacks, that help you efficiently work from remote locations, share them with us.