Remote work has been a game-changer for the modern employee.
The ability to work from anywhere and still provide high-quality output has given many professionals a newfound sense of freedom and flexibility.
Not only that, but working remotely allows companies to expand their talent pool and choose candidates from anywhere around the world.
This suggests a win-win situation in the global market, especially with the rise of more work from home jobs that allow qualified professionals to pursue a meaningful career while still having a fulfilling personal life.
Nevertheless, remote work comes with its own set of challenges, including honing your time management skills.
If you’ve been struggling with finding the right balance between working remotely and your other responsibilities, this article can help you get started.
Why Do I Need Remote Work Time Management?
It is a misconception that remote work does not require time management skills. In fact, it can be argued that time management is even more necessary when you work from home.
When done correctly, working remotely can give you incredible flexibility and make you feel more productive. However, having poor time management skills can make you feel overwhelmed—so much so that you may experience difficulty setting healthy boundaries between your professional life and your personal one.
Create a Designated Office Space
One of the first and most important steps in strengthening your time management skills when working remotely is creating a designated office space.
This can be as simple as allocating a portion of your room for work (if you live in a studio) or having a completely different area for your office (if you live in a multi-room space).
The goal is to train your mind to consider one area of your home as your “office.”
This has multiple benefits, not the least of which is better work-life balance. A common complaint among remote workers is that they can no longer separate their work from their personal lives.
This usually happens when there is no clear delineation in your home. As much as possible, avoid working in your bedroom or any place where you rest. You need to have a space where your mind can relax, and this can become difficult if you rest and work in the same area.
It’s also a good idea to set up your workplace in an area that has little to no distractions. If you have little children, try teaching them not to disturb you during set hours.
Make Daily To-Do Lists
The key to successful remote work is self-management. Even if you don’t normally make lists, having a daily to-do list can help you stay organized and on top of tasks.
At the start of each day, create a list of must-do tasks, followed by other work that would be nice to complete for the day but is not time-bound.
Refer to this list continuously as you work so that you know which tasks to prioritize. At the end of your work day, review the list and set priorities for the next day.
Developing this habit prevents you from becoming overwhelmed and can help you stay motivated and productive while focusing on the right things at the right time.
Set Realistic Deadlines
Deadlines can be powerful motivating tools that help you stay on track with your workload. Nevertheless, it’s important that you set realistic deadlines, especially if you have several high-priority tasks.
As you create your daily to-do list, it’s a good idea to include estimates of how long each task will take and when you can realistically deliver it.
If you have a larger project to complete, break it down into several smaller tasks and set specific deadlines for each of them.
By creating bite-sized tasks, you improve your chances of completing them on time instead of becoming overwhelmed by the scope of work you need to deliver.
Some people are more productive during the first half of the workday, whereas others get their groove only after lunch. Play to your strengths and consider the order of your tasks as you go about your day.
If you are more productive in the afternoon, try setting more high-priority work for the second half of the day. Accomplishing harder tasks during your peak hours can help you finish work faster and with better efficiency.
If possible, try speaking with your superiors about your daily KPIs (key performance indicators). Some companies allocate tasks in halves, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
However, you can request that management give you the complete workload instead so that you can schedule them properly.
The best advice you can follow is to treat remote work as you would office work. Even if you have a flexible schedule, it’s best to set fixed work hours and stick to them.
Not only does this allow for easier collaboration with your teammates, but it also helps set clear boundaries for yourself and your family. When you have set times for your professional engagements, you’ll be more effective at managing your time as you work from home.