There is no question that if you’re new to working remotely, you’re probably managing your time between work and your children, which probably also means homeschooling.
Effectively managing your time working from home can be challenging at the best of times, never mind during a pandemic — especially if you live with others. To help you out, here are some tips to get you into a time-managing groove 😉
- Set up your workspace. It’s important to have a clear space to work within. Ideally, you would have your own office where you can close the door and have privacy, however, that may not be an option. It is important to designate a work area, especially if you live with others.
- Set some boundaries for work and family. Structure your space and work hours. If possible, discuss with your manager the best way to manage your work hours, i.e. what hours are best for focused time and when do you need to be available for meetings? Make a list of meeting rules of engagement for everyone to follow. It’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Before the start of the day, (preferably at the beginning of the week) decide how long your day will be and stick to it, even if you have to set an alarm to remind yourself. At the end of the day, turn your computer off or walk away from all devices for a while, to give yourself a break. Adding your work hours to your email signature block is another way to let people know when you will (and will not) be available. Be transparent with your manager and others you work with. If you have family obligations (who doesn’t?), you may find you’re more productive during non-traditional hours. Perhaps your best time for focus and concentrated work is before anyone else arises? Or perhaps you do your best work after dinner? Either way, communicate openly with your manager and your household so you’re on the same page about work hour expectations.
- Make managing your calendar a priority. Know when you are the most productive and focused. Schedule your calendar to align with those pockets of energy. Discuss with your team how to best coordinate those blocks of energy.
- You can get more work done if you set blocks of time for each project. At the beginning of the week, spend some time planning focused time in blocks of 90 minutes. Do not allow other priorities to encroach on this time. Take it seriously and lock it in. You will be astounded by how much you can achieve with focused time.
- Pay attention to where your time is fragmented. Fragmented time occurs when you have small blocks of time (10 or 15 minutes) between scheduled meetings. This is a great time to regroup, take a break, go for a stretch. Get intentional about the ratio of fragmented to focused time you allow in your day.
- Test drive one or two time management productivity apps, such as Evernote or Asana. There are plenty of apps to help you stay organized, keep track of your projects, meet your deadlines and alert you when it’s time to take a break.
- Dress for the day like you’re going to the office. No pajamas or sweats! How is this a time management tip? Well, having a routine will put you in the right frame of mind for productivity. Getting up and getting started at the same time of day, like you would if you were working outside of the home, and wearing clothes you would wear in public help you focus, therefore you will be able to manage your time more efficiently.
- Take breaks like you would if you were at the office. To ensure you take your breaks, schedule them into your calendar. By doing this, you will get a calendar notification and your colleagues will see you’re busy if you’re sharing your calendar.
- Minimize social media distractions or log out of your social media accounts completely during work hours.
- Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Our body, including our brain, requires sleep in order to function at our best. Pulling an all-nighter is less productive than working consistently.