By Breanna Gunn
Working remotely not only allows you to say goodbye to long commutes and cold offices. It also gives you total control over your working style and environment — which can be both a blessing and a curse.
Some days you’re uber productive and get everything done quicker than anticipated. And other days you succumb to the call of Netflix and barely check one item off of your to-do list.
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is limiting distractions and using your time effectively. To help you navigate the wild west of romate work, here are some proven time management tips that you can use to be more productive:
Perform A Time Audit
Do you really know how you’re using your time? It’s difficult to know where to trim or tighten up if you don’t have an accurate sense of how you spend each day. You may have a vague idea, but the only way to know for sure is to perform a time audit.
All you need to do is track in detail how you spend your time each day. You can use a timer and simply write down what you did and for how long. With a few weeks of data, you can clearly see how you’re spending your time and make the changes you want.
Set A Remote Work Routine
One of the biggest draws of remote work is that you no longer have to work on a set schedule, like the popular 9-5. However, this can also be one of the greatest pitfalls of remote working.
If you don’t have a schedule, it’s easy to lose track of time, spend your time ineffectively, or work far longer than you should. Making a schedule for your workday puts you in control of how you spend your time. You can decide when to perform certain tasks and for how long. Set the schedule that works for you and stick to it.
Schedule Regular Breaks
In addition to your work schedule, you should also set aside time for breaks. You’ll focus better if you take regular breaks throughout the day, including a lunch break in the middle.
Try to get away from your desk at least once an hour, even if it’s just to make a cup of coffee. Figure out how long you can focus and schedule tasks for that length of time (for example, hour-long blocks) with breaks in between each time chunk.
Plan Activities For Fragmented Time
You can create blocks of time to work on big projects and schedule them among your meetings and other scheduled events. You’ll also end up with some fragments of 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there. Plan some activities you can do during these times.
For example, you work an hour on a project but then have 10 minutes before your next meeting. Planned activities for this fragmented time might include regular social media tasks, daily organizing, or cleaning up files on your computer.
Multitasking seems like it saves time, but it takes your brain time to switch between tasks you’re doing simultaneously. It can also cause you to make mistakes you ordinarily wouldn’t since your attention is divided. Trust me, you’ll make better use of your time by focusing completely on one thing at a time.
Utilize Tools And Apps
You can manage your time effectively with nothing more than a kitchen timer. However, there are apps and software programs that can help if you want a little more structure. Apps like Toggl, Rescue Time, and Timecamp can take over some of the time management tasks for you and offer other features as well.
Time management is one of the biggest challenges people face when they start working remotely. By learning a few key techniques to manage your time better, you’ll see huge results in your energy and productivity levels.
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