Do you feel like you’re always running around trying to juggle multiple things?
Or perhaps, you’re procrastinating a lot and would like to improve your productivity during working hours?
Well, you’re not alone!
Indeed, recent research on productivity and time management revealed that employees only spend on average 2.3 hours a day on productive tasks!
Now, whether you’re self-employed or work remotely for a company, managing your time in the most productive way is not always easy. As a remote worker or business owner, you become 100% accountable for how you allocate your time. And for better or worse, no one is around to help you stay focused. As a result, you have to structure your day efficiently, stick to a routine, and practice self-discipline.
The great news is that there are ways to manage your time better and work smarter.
Got you intrigued?
In this post, we’ve listed nine top time management tips to boost your productivity and achieve your goals.
Tip #1 Set Realistic Daily Goals
Ever heard of the adage,’’ there’s only so much you can do in a day?’’
There’s a lot of wisdom to it!
Sure, there’s probably a lot you want to achieve in a day or a week. Yet, to be able to manage your time properly and complete essential tasks within a specific timeframe, you’ll need to set realistic goals in the first place.
As a result, the first step to better managing your time is to break down your big goals (think weekly or monthly goals) into smaller daily goals that you think you can easily achieve. Once you’ve written down your two or three smaller daily goals, you should then break these down into tasks you need to perform to reach them. This will help turn overstretched goals into more manageable ones and keep you motivated and focused throughout the day.
Tip #2 Create a To-Do List to Help you Achieve Your Daily Goals
The second step is to create a daily to-do list. We’d recommend doing this at the end of each day, in preparation for the next day.
This list should include critical tasks you need to complete to reach your daily goals. However, it should also include personal tasks such as taking breaks, having lunch, or exercising. Your entire day from when you wake up to when you go to bed should be broken down into tasks and be noted on your to-do list. This will help you organize your day efficiently and ensure you stay focused as you go through each of them. It’ll also allow you to make sure you’re not missing any important tasks.
And of course, don’t forget to add ‘’preparing to-do list for tomorrow’’ to your daily to-do list 😉
Tip #3 Limit your Daily Tasks
Less is more when it comes to time management.
Indeed, multitasking is the enemy of productivity and success. In fact, a study revealed that multitasking can reduce your memory and hinder your productivity, as you feel overwhelmed and lose your focus.
As a result, the best way to manage your time is to objectively define how long you’re going to need to complete the tasks you’ve added to your to-do list. And when doing so, make sure not to underestimate the time and effort a task might take you.
For instance, don’t plan to answer 15 emails, do ten business development calls and create a newsletter for your business in one hour. Unless you have some hidden superpowers, it might be challenging to accomplish so many things in such little time! Trying to pack too many tasks in a short period will only put pressure on you and increase your stress levels. And unfortunately, it might also impact the quality of your work as you rush through each job.
So, instead, try to objectively assess the reasonable amount of time you’ll need to complete each task at a decent pace.
Not only will it help you perform each of them properly, but it will also allow you to avoid burning out altogether. What more, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and empowerment when you realize you’ve achieved your daily goals 😉
Tip #4 Prioritize your Tasks
Now that you’ve listed the tasks you need to complete to achieve your goals, time to prioritize them based on their importance.
Prioritizing important tasks is critical as it’ll enable you to stay focused throughout the day.
There are many methods to help you prioritize the tasks on your to-do list. One of them is called the Eisenhower matrix.
The Eisenhower matrix is a fantastic tool as it can help you quickly identify the activities you should focus on when you’re time-poor. And ultimately, it’ll allow you to allocate your time better, improve your productivity and achieve your goals.
The Eisenhower matrix is split between four categories: urgent, not urgent, important, and not important.
Urgent and Important
These are tasks that need to be done on the day. They have a fast-approaching deadline and can’t be delayed. You need to ensure you tackle these tasks at the beginning of your day.
Let’s say you’re supposed to send reporting to all of your clients on Friday afternoons. You usually work on the documents on Friday morning. However, this week Friday is a public holiday, and it’s already Thursday! In that scenario, ‘’reporting for clients’’ should be considered urgent and important and be a top priority on your list.
Not Urgent and Important
These tasks are important to help you achieve your goals, but they can be done after your urgent and important tasks. They include things such as following up with clients or reading your emails. You should schedule these tasks in your calendar and do them as soon as possible, but they’re not your highest priority.
Urgent and Not Important
These activities take your focus away from important tasks and don’t contribute to your overall goals. They include things like people interrupting you on the phone to talk about a problem they might have or impromptu meetings. In these different scenarios, it’s important to learn to say no, reschedule or delegate.
Not Urgent and Not Important
These activities include distractions such as scrolling through social media or watching TV. You should avoid them and focus on important tasks during your working hours 😉
Tip #5 Complete the Most Important Tasks in the Morning
Research has shown that most of us are more productive in the morning. Indeed, as we go about our day, our brains tend to experience more fatigue. That’s when we start running out of steam.
So, it’s a fact, if you want to get more done during the day and optimize your time, you need to focus on complex and high-value tasks in the morning.
And remember, the idea here is not to try and jam in ten complex tasks at once. Instead, focus on one or two complex assignments to complete in the morning and leave the more administrative or routine work for later in the afternoon.
Tip #6 Schedule Everything in an Online Calendar
Now that you’ve set your goals and broken them down into priority tasks, it’s time to schedule the tasks into your calendar!
Indeed, scheduling your day in your calendar is an excellent way for you to make sure you allocate your time efficiently. From meditating early in the morning, walking your dog, and having breakfast to doing your admin, reading through your emails, or working on a specific project, everything should be clearly scheduled ahead of time.
And one of the most efficient ways to schedule your days is to block time in your online calendar for each task on your to-do list. This will allow you to quickly visualize your day and week and easily spot whether something is missing. It will also enable you to set deadlines for each task, helping you stick to your plan and reach your daily goals, one task at a time.
Also, 29% of remote workers report struggling to achieve a work-life balance and effectively separate their work life from their personal life. As a result, scheduling your days is critical as you work from home because it will allow you to clearly separate your personal time from your working hours.
Note that you should sync your email calendar with your phone so that you can get reminders and stay on track even if you’re not at your desk.
Tip #7 Take Short Breaks
What if we told you that taking breaks can actually help you?
Now, this might seem counterintuitive, but taking regular microbreaks can boost your productivity and allow you to achieve your goals faster. That’s right, breaks can help you maximize your time! In fact, a recent study showed that the most productive 10% of employees are those who take regular microbreaks.
That’s because breaks allow you to stretch, relax, recharge and reset your focus.
The study also found that the highest productive people use the 57/12 rule. They work for 57 minutes before taking a 12-minute break, essentially completing tasks in a ‘’sprint’’ fashion. They’re able to get more done in a shorter period as their mind is 100% focused during these 57 minutes and get to rest before the next ‘’sprint’’.
However, not all breaks are created equal when it comes to improving your productivity and maximizing your time. Indeed, while mindlessly scrolling through your News Feed on Facebook might be tempting, this kind of break will most likely distract you from your work and prevent you from staying focused.
Some of the best activities to do when taking a break include:
- Going for a walk
- Having a healthy snack
- Taking a power nap (between 10 to 15 minutes) to boost your alertness and energy levels.
Tip#8 Track your Time
Implementing all the tips above is great, but you’ll also need to review your work routine to optimize it and maximize your time during the day.
Indeed, tracking your time will enable you to monitor how much time you spend on each task and better understand how you could spend your time more efficiently. It’s a powerful way to optimize your days to achieve your goals within your work hours.
Some of the key benefits of tracking your time include:
- Eliminate distractions: by monitoring your time, you’ll be able to identify how long you spend on non-related work activities and adapt your working routine by concentrating on high-value tasks and eliminating distractions.
- Improve your productivity: when tracking your time, you might very well discover that you spend way too long on menial tasks such as admin or going through emails. You might also be surprised at how little time you spend on high-value tasks! Therefore, tracking your time is an excellent way to prompt you to adjust your work routine and focus on the tasks that will help you achieve your goals.
The best thing to do is to automate your time tracking process using time tracking apps. These types of tools will prevent you from breaking your creative flow and having to log your time manually.
There are many time trackers available on the market. So, for the sake of helping you optimize your time, we’ve listed below some of the most popular ones.
Tip#9 Don’t forget to Have Fun!
Not everything should be about productivity, time management, and lists! Indeed, no matter what you do, you need to have fun while doing it. For instance, take time to celebrate wins, organize online events with your team, have fun with your clients, or listen to your favorite playlist while working. Anything to enhance your work week and boost your mood!
And at the end of the day, even if you haven’t completed all the daily tasks you listed and haven’t achieved your daily goals, it’s essential to set boundaries and learn to switch off. After all, spending some quality time with your loved ones, and doing the things you love will only help you re-energize and prepare you for whatever lies ahead tomorrow ;).
We hope this article provided you with valuable insights into how to best manage your time as a remote worker. Follow the nine tips above, and you’ll be on your way to a successful, productive, and happy life 😉 Do you use other techniques to manage your time better? If that’s the case, we’d love to read all about them in the comment section below!