10 Essential Time Management Tips for Successful Remote Workers

Time management remains one of the most valuable skills in a professional. The ability to maximize time as a finite resource to produce the best results is always lauded in the workplace. However, the normalization of remote work and work-from-home set-ups comes with new challenges in this department.


Remote workers have different time management problems.


Working outside the office has many benefits – flexibility in schedule, reduced micromanagement from supervisors, and more space for work-life balance. The ironic thing is that these same benefits produce their corresponding dilemmas.


1. A flexible work schedule can lead to underperformance.
The best talents don’t necessarily always have the best time management skills. Having a flexible work schedule means more professional freedom which can very easily slip into employee underperformance.

Suddenly, a star worker starts missing deadlines, turning in poor quality work, and becoming unresponsive in meetings. The loss of structure in the workdays can encourage disorganization and overwhelm.



2. Lax management is just as bad as micromanagement.
No one likes having their supervisor hovering over the shoulders when they work. With remote working, employees have the luxury of completing tasks without the pressure of prying eyes and constant check-ins.

But sometimes the knowledge that a manager won’t mind a few missed tasks can discourage good output. Remote work can easily feel more like a hobby than a responsibility without connection to a team and leader.



3. There are no boundaries between the professional and personal.
Living and working in the same place is a double-edged sword. There’s no commute but then a bedroom is now an office. There’s less time for unnecessary meetings but the working hours seem longer. There’s more time to do personal errands but the work tasks keep piling up.

Remote working blurs the line between professional and personal spaces, times, task, and energies. Employees eventually find it harder to concentrate and complete assignments because they start always feeling overwhelmed and “on-call”.



Effective time management is all about careful planning.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

This quote summarizes the overarching solution to the abovementioned, if not all, time management issues. Planning the workday makes it easier for remote workers to see what’s ahead of them and how to tackle each task with a calm and focused mind.

Having an outlined plan of action for every workday, every task, and every project can significantly boost an employee’s time management skills and productivity. By creating a realistic and doable strategy, workers can breakdown steps to complete an assignment and allocate enough time and energy for each.

A concrete plan also increases discipline and motivation in people because they have designed the system to fit their own schedule, strengths, and internal processes. They, themselves, feel more accountability for their progress as they finish off items and more self-fulfillment from managing and executing their time and work plans.

Careful planning also reduces the chances of burnout from unknowingly overcommitting to too many projects. A well-managed workload provides more quality personal time and a sense of pride in how effective one is on a professional level. An employee who feels such accomplishment is more likely to integrate this consistency every day.



10 Tips for Better Time Management

Create a fool-proof workday and project plan with these helpful and actionable time management tips.

1. Stick to predetermined work hours.
Find out which times during the day are most effective for productive work. Whether that’s a typical 9-5 or a more unconventional 2-10, make sure it’s designed around your specific energy levels, work preferences, and personal schedule. Keep to this designated schedule every day to train your brain to focus on work and nothing else during the allotted time.



2. Make a weekly and daily to-do list.
To-do lists make it easy to follow a plan and break down big projects into smaller tasks. Plotting out what needs to be done every day of every week frees your brain up to fully focus on each item of the list. It also helps in keeping track of what’s done and what needs to be completed next in order of priority.


3. Time block for similar tasks.
It can be distracting and unproductive to flit from administrative tasks to meetings to heavy-thinking outputs then back to emails. Tick off items on your lists by grouping tasks and steps into similar categories and blocking chunks of time specifically for a one group. It’s less mentally taxing and lets you complete multiple tasks consecutively.



4. Remove and reduce distractions.
Turn off your phone and computer notifications. Invest in apps that block social media sites during your designated work times. Switch to white noise or classical music when working. Let people in your space know you are working and are not to be disturbed. Do everything you can to make your space more conducive to intensive work.

5. Use productivity apps.
Invest in time trackers, collaboration tools, and assistive AI software to increase your work efficiency and cut down the time necessary to complete tasks. Some apps can even be programmed to remind you when it’s time to switch to a different task or to take a break.



6. Finish one task at a time.
Multitasking is a skill very few people can effectively wield. The reality is that most workers produce better outputs when they are focused on completing one thing before moving on to the next. Deep concentration on one task is much better than dividing attention among 10 items.

7. Communicate with your team.
Remove the anxiety you feel thinking about whether your team or manager thinks you’re working or not. Communicate early on what you’re doing, if you’ll be available for quick chats, and when they can expect you to be finished. Doing this shifts your attention to the tasks at hand and reduces requests for “quick calls” and unnecessary online chatting.



8. Take regular breaks.
Your brain works best when it has regular breaks to refresh. Try the Pomodoro techinique or your own break schedule during the work day. Make sure to account for lunch and midday snacks to keep you fueled. Stretch, walk around, or listen to music to reset your focus.

9. Completely log off during the workday.
It can be tempting to keep working beyond your official schedule. But try to resist! Once you’ve finished your entire to-do list, pat yourself on the back, and turn off your work devices and notifications. They can wait until tomorrow while you indulge in well-deserved rest and relaxation.



10. Make time for self-care and socialization.
Part of time management is setting aside time for yourself and your well-being. Taking care of yourself makes you a more productive worker and happier human. See friends, talk to family, turn to your hobbies. You earned your personal time!

Like any skill, time management takes a lot of practice to improve. Take baby steps and don’t get discouraged if you don’t follow every tip on this list. The important thing is to keep trying and keep improving little by little.

 If you’re a remote employee or are looking to make the jump to the virtual work world, let Engage help! From sourcing candidates for any position in any industry, to interviewing, hiring, and training, we’ll help find the perfect team where you can shine. 


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