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Remote Work Time Management Best Practices

Working from home can be really convenient and efficient — or it can be the opposite of that. It all comes down to how you organize your time. Distractions, whether you work at the office or from home, can be detrimental to your productivity as well as the overall quality of your work. Thus, no matter whether you work remotely or at the office, we believe that these time management practices can come in really handy and help you get the most out of your work day.

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Remote working tips during the quarantine

So, how to thrive as a remote worker? There are a few best practices on working remotely that you can try out. These are:

  • Creating a to-do list
  • Limiting multi-tasking
  • Avoiding spending time on personal tasks
  • Stop surfing the web
  • Using the “get things done” method
  • Determining the time when you are most productive
  • Taking lunch breaks
  • Act as if you are at the office
  • Creating a dedicated work space
  • Developing the right mindset.

So, let’s get started.

Tip one: create a to-do list

Making a to-do list is probably the best place to get started as it can set the tone for your entire working day. The best way to go about it would be to work on your to-do list the night before your working day so that you don’t  have to spend time on organizing things in the morning. Make sure to prioritize the tasks in your to-do list and, the next day, try to follow through all the tasks on your list. As you make your way through the list, note down how much time you spend on each task so as to have a better idea of how to organize your day tomorrow. It’s also important that you make your to-do list manageable: do not pile too many tasks on as this will only make you feel overwhelmed and actually hinder your productivity.

Tip two: limit multi-tasking

Multi-tasking often sounds like it saves time. But in a lot of cases, it is actually the opposite. The thing is, it takes your brain at least 15 minutes to re-focus on a task whenever you switch tasks. So, if you try working on two or more things at once, your mind will need to switch from task to task often — and this will actually lose you valuable focus time. So, instead of trying to take on several tasks at once, consider focusing on one task at a time and switch to a new activity only after you’ve finished the previous one. This way, you will be less distracted and will be able to move on from one task to another quicker. What’s more, this will also have a positive effect on the quality of your work.

Tip three: avoid spending time on personal tasks

One of the biggest problems with working at home is that you may often be distracted by personal tasks. From doing the dishes to cooking and dusting, the list of things that may need your attention at home can be quite long. If you tend to these tasks as they present themselves, you will be losing lots of working time. If you were at the office, you would not be able to do any of these things — so you should treat your work from home time the same. Make a list of the personal tasks that you have pending, but do not do them until you have completed all of your work assignments.

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Tip four: stop surfing the web!

Your work probably requires you to use the Internet. However, the Internet can also be a huge distraction. If you start spending a lot of time exploring the web during work time, this can become a big time waster — especially, if you often check for social media updates. Try turning off your phone or keeping it out of reach as you work. And if you feel like taking a break, do something else instead of browsing the web: stretch, take a walk, meditate, etc.

Tip five: use the “get things done” method

The Getting Things Done (GTD) method is an effective way of managing your personal and work productivity. The Getting Things Done method suggests going through five steps to achieve stress-free productivity. These are:

  • Capturing everything that catches your attention
  • Clarifying what each thing is and what you’re doing with it
  • Organizing the results
  • Reviewing the system
  • And doing the right thing at all times.

You can find more information about this method online — and if it works for you, it can be a useful addition to your set of time management techniques.

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Tip six: determine the time when you are most productive

If you are a morning person and feel that you have the most energy when you are awake, it’s probably best to schedule the most complicated and time-consuming tasks for the first half of the day. If, on the other hand, you are most energetic during the evening hours, you may schedule less demanding tasks like answering emails or making phone calls for the morning.

Tip seven: take lunch breaks

Some of us are in the habit of eating by our computers. Grabbing a quick sandwich as you continue to work on a project may seem like a good idea — as, technically, you keep working. However, this may not prove to be the best solution when it comes to productivity. Try having an actual lunch, away from your computer. Take a real break from work as you enjoy your meal. Maybe even take a walk after and give yourself some time to regain your energy, relax your eyes and simply unwind.

Tip eight: act as if you are at the office

One of the best things about working from home is the comfort. You don’t have to worry about dress code, you don’t have to pack your bag — you can spend the day in your pajamas sipping chamomile tea — and nobody will care. However, giving too much into the comfort may harm your productivity. In fact, it is strongly advised that you do keep to a routine while working from home — even if the routine is different from when you are actually at the office. Set an alarm, get that morning cup of coffee, sit at a desk — these seemingly little things may be very helpful in “convincing” your brain that you are at work now, which, in turn, will help you focus on the tasks at hand.

Tip nine: create a dedicated work space

Working in bed, on the floor, in front of a TV or in your garden may all be a nice change from the office cubicle. However, if you find that your productivity is suffering and you end up dealing with a lot of distractions, it is probably best to design a specific place in your home meant for remote working. Try to make this space work-oriented: make sure you have all the tools you need at hand and avoid areas that you associate with leisure rather than work: like your couch, for instance.

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Tip ten: develop the right mindset

Finally, efficiency at work starts with the right mindset. Set goals for yourself and commit to your to-do list. Limit distractions but give yourself the time to unwind and take regular needed breaks. Organize your time and space for efficiency — and focus on the task at hand. This will help you take control of your day and work and avoid getting stressed over the lack of time.

And this is pretty much it. We hope that the tips above have been helpful in planning your remote work day. Naturally, it will all depend on the specifics of the work from home policy that your company keeps to — but a lot of the recommendations above can be adjusted to fit any working scenario.

And just one more thing before you go. If you feel like you could use an extra tool in organizing your time, take a look at our Traqq time tracking app that will help you plan your working day and stick to set goals.