Time Management Tips For Telecommuters, Especially First-Timers
Are you starting off as a telecommuter in your job? Working from the comfort of your home, or sipping some margarita while you wait for your team to join your conference call- sounds heavenly! As fantastic as it sounds, telecommuting has the potential to cause a lot of trouble in your work schedule if done the wrong way. With that being said, I bring to you some simple yet super effective time management tips for telecommuters.
So, if you are new to telecommuting, here is what you need to know.
What are the 4 D’s of time management?
The first D of time management is DROP. That means when a new task is assigned to you, you need to check if the task is actually worth your time. If not, delete the task from your list. Remember the Pareto principle (80/20 rule): “for many events, people often spend 80% of their time on activities that are a waste of time.”
The next D is for DELEGATE. If you’re unsure about any task’s importance or think it’s not necessary for you to do the task, the best way to go is delegation. Trust me! Many of the tasks and activities that people get involved in can be delegated. So, focus on tasks that are a must for you to get done and delegate the rest.
The next D of time management refers to the set of tasks that come across your desk but you are just not able to deal with them straight away. These tasks are the ones that are not too important, but important enough to get done. So what you do in this case is defer it and do it later in your free time.
The last D i.e. DO refers to the set of tasks that can be completed there and then in a few minutes and says just do it. In simple words, if it is important for you to do and you have the time to do it, then just get it done and move on. Postponing such small, important tasks often leads to procrastination – and that isn’t something you would want, right?
How do I get better at time management?
One aspect many of us go wrong with whether telecommuting or not, is time management. From giving too much time to not being able to meet deadlines, the consequences are many. Here are some time management tips for telecommuters to have fun while working from home but also managing tasks on time.
Create a manual task list
Smartphones have undoubtedly taken over our lives. However, don’t underestimate the power of the written word. Starting your work for the day with a manual list of all the tasks- work-related or not- can help you set your pace. Try prioritizing your tasks according to their level of importance. You will then have a good idea as to which ones you need to finish off by when. This will help you allocate more time to the high-priority ones. Another tip is assigning a time limit to each task so you are able to get more done in a single day.
Start with the tough ones
Whether you prefer to start your day early in the morning or like to ease into your day, try to finish off the difficult bit first. Again, don’t pick something that you have been struggling with. Instead, choose something that is tough but can be completed if you focus hard. Ticking this off your list will give you a boost and keep you energized to do the rest of the tasks which could be the easier tasks.
Cut down on email time
As a telecommuter, you have a higher number of emails than usual to respond to. While it is great to be able to reply on time, sometimes it can get out of hand. Make sure that you have access to the right set of telecommuting tools that make communication faster and eliminate the need to entertain unnecessary email threads. Here at Telebu, we have a team communication suite designed for the very same purpose. The suite includes 3 essential telecommunication tools—grptalk, Join, Ping.
Have some screen-free time
This is a must for those who spend way too much time working and forget to balance their tasks out with other work. Try not to stay stuck to your screen for hours on end. Instead, allow yourself a five to ten-minute break every hour in order to increase your productivity and avoid burnout. Take a longer snack break. If you don’t feel the need to snack, you could do some household work. Do the dishes, or water the plants in the garden. There is a lot to do if you look.
Do whatever is necessary
Some of us are highly productive when we work from home. Let your productivity not lead you to work too much. You might be tempted to increase your work volume but you must also take care to produce high-quality results.
Keep distractions at bay
Among all the time management tips for remote workers and others, this is the most important one. When your phone is lying right next to you and there is nobody to watch over you, you’re obviously going to want to keep looking at it. But, demarcate certain hours of the day for browsing on your phone. If you find that difficult try apps like Temptation Blocker and Focus Me which will help you keep away from your phone.
Let your timing overlap that of your superiors
To make the most of your relationship with your superiors, work when they work. If they’re in another country, this could be tricky but try to have some common work time with them. With this, you will make sure to work efficiently and you also will have visibility. You can also use this common work time to forge a good bond with your manager.
Delegate and monitor
Share your workload with the team. This is especially true on days when you have a lot of time-sensitive tasks. Ensure that you continue to follow up with your team rather well on those days. You must pick workers who are responsive, quick and can work well under pressure.
Set expectations with the family
If you’re new to telecommuting, rest assured that your family is going to be equally excited. Who isn’t going to enjoy having you around more often? Just to make sure that they don’t end up coming in the way of your work, have the ‘talk’ and set expectations.
Ask for help
The move from being a full-time office going employee to full-time work from home employees is not easy. The dynamics differ and you may end up doing more harm than good to yourself. If you’re unsure about certain things, ask for help and guidance on how, what, why, when and where. Remember that working from home means more autonomy than usual so you are free to decide whether you need that help.
Movement is essential
Now that your work has come home, you may have very little reason to step out. Don’t allow yourself to fall for that trap. Ensure you start the day with an exercise regime- elaborate or short- depending on how you like it. It’s crucial to take care of your mental health and exercise helps you achieve that!
Working from home or telecommuting is a boon. But only for those who have the personal discipline and consistency to use it to their advantage. It is very easy to lose focus and waste time or burn oneself out in extreme cases. So, be wise, follow the above time management tips for telecommuters and have fun with telecommuting!