25 Best Practices to Manage Time While Working Remotely
Do you currently work remotely or plan on working from home soon? Doing so can provide a lot of benefits. And you’re definitely not alone. A growing number of people are currently working from home or a remote location, offering greater flexibility and control over their schedules.
But, let’s be honest: managing time effectively while working remotely can be a bit of a challenge, right?
Not to worry. We’ve got you covered with 25 best practices to help you manage your time like a pro while working remotely. Let’s get right to it!
1. Set up a routine and stick to it
It’s no secret that having a routine is essential for productivity. Establishing a consistent daily schedule will help you build good habits and ensure you’re making the most out of your workday. You’ll wanna create a routine that works for you and includes regular breaks. Try to start and end your workday at the same time each day, and don’t forget to schedule time for lunch!
2. Use a time tracking tool
Time tracking tools can be a game-changer for remote workers. They help you track your work hours and ensure you’re spending your time efficiently. Some popular time tracking tools include Toggl, Harvest, and Clockify. Pick one that suits your needs, and watch your productivity soar.
3. Prioritize your tasks
Not all tasks are created equal. When you’re working remotely, it’s easy to get caught up in a sea of to-dos. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your tasks using a method like the Eisenhower Matrix. This handy tool helps you identify the most important and urgent tasks so you can focus on what really matters.
4. Break tasks into smaller chunks
Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It’s a time management method that involves breaking your work into short, focused intervals (usually 25 minutes) called “Pomodoros,” followed by a 5-minute break. The idea is that these short bursts of focused work help you maintain productivity and stave off burnout. Give it a shot, and see if it works for you.
5. Set boundaries with friends and family
Working from home can blur the lines between work and personal life. It’s essential to set boundaries with your friends and family, so they know when you’re working and when you’re available for socializing. Communicate your work schedule clearly, and ask for their support in respecting your work hours. Trust us; it’ll make a big difference.
6. Create a dedicated workspace
Your environment plays a huge role in your productivity. It’s crucial to have a dedicated workspace that’s free from distractions and promotes focus. So, invest in a comfortable chair, a good desk, and all the tools you need to work efficiently.
7. Limit distractions
Distractions are the bane of remote work productivity. Whether it’s social media, a chatty neighbor, or your cute pets, distractions can easily eat into your work hours. To combat this, try using website blockers like Freedom or Cold Turkey to keep you off social media during work hours.
For other distractions, set boundaries with family members, neighbors, or roommates, and try using noise-canceling headphones or white noise machines to minimize background noise.
8. Use collaboration and communication tools effectively
Working remotely can make you feel isolated, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Collaboration and communication tools like Slack, Zoom, and Asana can help you stay connected with your team and stay on top of your work.
Make sure to use these tools effectively by scheduling regular check-ins, sharing updates on your work, and making time for virtual team building activities.
9. Learn to say “no”
As a remote worker, it’s important to protect your time and energy. If you’re constantly taking on extra tasks and attending unnecessary meetings, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and less productive. Learn to say “no” to non-essential tasks and prioritize your workload.
10. Make time for self-care
You need to remember to take care of yourself as well. Working remotely can lead to higher levels of stress and burnout if you’re not careful. Schedule regular breaks, get some exercise, and make sure to unplug from work during your off-hours. Practicing self-care will help you stay productive and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
11. Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) can help you stay focused and motivated. By breaking down your work into clear, achievable objectives, you’ll be able to track your progress and maintain a sense of accomplishment throughout the day.
12. Use a task management app
Task management apps like Todoist, Trello, and Notion can help you stay organized and prioritize your work. These apps allow you to create to-do lists, set deadlines, and track your progress, making it easier to manage your workload effectively.
13. Schedule regular check-ins with your team
Staying connected with your team is crucial for remote work success. Schedule regular check-ins with your team members to discuss progress, ask questions, and provide feedback. These check-ins can be done via video calls, phone calls, or messaging apps, depending on your team’s preferences.
14. Optimize your work hours
We all have different times of the day when we’re most productive. Some people are morning birds, while others are night owls. Identify when you’re most focused and energetic, and try to schedule your most demanding tasks during those hours. This will help you get more done in less time.
15. Batch similar tasks together
Batching similar tasks together can help you work more efficiently. For example, if you have several emails to respond to, set aside a specific block of time to tackle them all at once. This approach minimizes the mental energy required to switch between tasks and helps you maintain focus.
16. Take advantage of time zone differences
If you’re working with team members in different time zones, use this to your advantage! Use the time when your colleagues are offline to focus on deep work and tackle tasks that require concentration. Then, use the overlapping hours to collaborate, communicate, and attend meetings.
17. Avoid multitasking
While it might seem like a good idea to juggle multiple tasks at once, research from the American Psychological Association shows that multitasking can actually decrease productivity. Instead, focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention before moving on to the next item on your to-do list.
18. Set aside time for professional development
Working remotely can make it easy to neglect your professional growth. Make sure to set aside time for learning new skills, attending webinars, or participating in online courses. This will not only help you stay engaged with your work but also boost your productivity in the long run.
19. Keep a clean and organized workspace
A cluttered workspace can be distracting and make it difficult to focus. Take the time to organize your desk and work area, keeping only the essentials within reach. A clean, organized space can help you stay focused and reduce stress.
20. Celebrate your accomplishments
Don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments, big and small. Working remotely can sometimes make it difficult to recognize your own progress, so take the time to acknowledge your achievements and give yourself credit for a job well done.
21. Plan your day the night before
Take a few minutes each evening to plan your next workday. Make a list of your top priorities and set realistic goals for what you’d like to accomplish. This will help you start your day with a clear direction and focus, making it easier to jump right into work.
22. Utilize the two-minute rule
The two-minute rule suggests that if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, you should do it immediately. This helps you knock out small tasks quickly and prevents them from piling up or becoming distractions later on.
23. Establish an end-of-workday routine
Just as you have a morning routine to start your day, it’s essential to have an end-of-workday routine to help you wind down and transition to your personal time. This might include reviewing your accomplishments for the day, setting your priorities for the next day, or tidying up your workspace.
Creating this routine will help you mentally switch off from work and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
24. Use video calls strategically
While video calls can be essential for remote collaboration, they can also be time-consuming and disruptive. To minimize unnecessary video calls, consider setting criteria for when a video call is necessary, and try using asynchronous communication methods (like email or messaging apps) for less urgent discussions.
When scheduling video calls, set a clear agenda and timeframe to keep the meeting focused and efficient.
25. Set personal deadlines
Sometimes, projects or tasks may not have strict deadlines. In these cases, set your own personal deadlines to keep yourself accountable and maintain a sense of urgency. Breaking larger projects into smaller milestones with individual deadlines can help you stay on track and monitor your progress.
Better Manage Your Time as a Remote Worker and Boost Productivity
There you have it – 25 best practices to help you manage your time while working remotely. Remember, everyone’s remote work experience is different, so feel free to experiment and find the strategies that work best for you. Keep up the great work, and happy remote working!