Remote Work Time Management (10 Crucial Rules to Implement)

By: Rafal Reyzer
Updated: Oct 5th, 2023

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Remote work: It’s more than pajamas and coffee mugs; it’s mastering the art of time.

Navigating the waters of working remotely? It’s not just about dodging household distractions, but also mastering time management. From crafting a solid daily plan to championing the underrated power of frequent breaks, the path to productivity is paved with intention. Pro tip: Designate chunks of time for emails and calls; it’s a game-changer. Eager to amplify your efficiency even further? Dive in to uncover strategies that could skyrocket your productivity.

The Benefits of Remote Work Time Management

It’s no secret that the traditional 9-5 work day is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past for many workers today. More and more companies are offering their employees the option to work remotely or in a hybrid mode, and many workers are taking advantage of this trend. Ditching the daily commute and working from home seems to be the most sensible choice. There are plenty of benefits to working remotely, including increased productivity, decreased stress levels, and improved work-life balance. One benefit that’s often overlooked is the fact that remote workers can better manage their time. When you’re not tied to a specific location or office hours, it’s easier to create a schedule that works for you. You can take breaks when you need them, make time for personal errands without having to ask for permission from your boss, and have more control over how you spend your time each day. Of course, remote work time management isn’t always easy. That’s why we’ve put together a practical guide on the subject.

10 Rules for Better Remote Work Time Management

Taking control of your time can lead to increased productivity and more peace of mind. Here are some rules you need to follow:

1. Set Regular Working Hours (And Respect Your Circadian Rhythm)

One of the biggest dangers in remote working is blurring the line between work and personal time. Some people work longer hours than necessary and eventually burn out. It’s also tempting to start your day later or work into the night when there are no set office hours. However, this type of irregular schedule will quickly lead to fatigue and a decrease in productivity levels. Having set hours for work will help you stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked. Base your work hours on your circadian rhythm and productivity patterns. Most people are at the peak of their productivity levels early in the morning, but there are a few night owls among us as well. Most people also experience and productivity slump around 2 PM, so perhaps this is the perfect time to schedule other activities that don’t require high mental focus.

set up regular work hours - remote work time management

2. Find the Right Balance Between Work and Personal Life

The key to being successful with remote work time management is finding a balance that works for you specifically. This means setting regular business hours and sticking to them as much as possible, even if it’s just for 4-5 days a week. Using a time-tracking app like Toggl or Clockify is also a great idea because he will know exactly where your time is going. Dedicate specific times of day for breaks, eating meals, personal errands, and spending quality time with your family so you can maintain a productive workflow. Make sure that everybody in your household respects your work schedule so you have enough time to focus on your crucial projects. The more time you put into planning every detail of your schedule and then measuring the results, the more productive you will become.

3. Use Time Blocking Instead of a Traditional To-Do List

Time blocking enables you to visualize how you want to spend each hour of your workday ahead of time and so all of your crucial projects receive adequate attention. It also adds more urgency to your workday because now you will try your best to get the right chunk of the project completed within the allotted time slot. It takes a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the blocking technique, but once you get used to it, there’s no turning back. Key takeaway: Working remotely gives you more control of your time, but it’s important to find a balance that works for you to avoid burning out.

maintaining a daily routine - remote work time management

4. Maintain a Healthy Daily Routine

From distractions to isolation, plenty of things can make working from home difficult. But there are some strategies you can use to overcome these challenges and be highly productive. One challenge many people face when working remotely is maintaining a daily routine. It’s easy to let hours slip through your fingers when you don’t have set office hours or commute time. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t set aside time each day for specific tasks. For example, if you want to get started on your workday at 8 AM sharp, wake up at the same time every morning, take care of showering and getting dressed, as well as taking time for breakfast and maybe even some exercise before starting work. I start my day with meditation, then I perform mobility exercises, followed by a 10-minute HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session on a stationary bike, and finish it with a cold shower. The whole routine takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes, but each time I do it, my day is so much more productive.

5. Take Advantage of Time Tracking Apps

Automatic time-tracking apps, such as RescueTime or Rize, let you check whether you’re sticking to your schedule. They can also help you figure out what times of day you are most productive and when you slack off. You can use that information to your advantage by protecting the hours when you are most likely to get arduous work done. Using an app and starting a formal working session also signals to your brain that it’s time to be productive.

6. List Tasks According to Priority and Urgency Level

Another common issue you may run into when trying to manage your time is setting priorities. If possible, try listing out everything that needs to be done in order of importance with deadlines on the right-hand side. This will enable you to recognize what urgent items on the list require more immediate attention. You can also mark projects with different colors or give them special symbols. It’s also great to include tasks from different categories in your schedule (work, health, learning, errands, finance, etc…)

taking a break - remote work time management

7. Take Regular Breaks (And Stop Staring at Screens all the Time)

Dedicate breaks throughout the day where you step away from work and do something non-work related like breathing exercises, stretching, playing with your kid or pet (if you have one), or going outside for fresh air. Ginny Mineo advised that “Breaks, like making and eating lunch, can recharge you to do better work. Don’t assume you need to be working 100% of the time while you’re home to be more productive.” Even 5 to 10-minute breaks after each couple of hours help freshen your mind and enable you to refocus. There are apps, such as Time Out for Mac and Smart Break for Windows, that let you set a schedule for brief periods wherein you are locked out of your computer.

8. Set Boundaries To Avoid Burnout

Usually, the shift between work and home signals the beginning and end of work. But when you work from home, there are no clear breakpoints such as the commute to and from the office. Without a set boundary, it’s easy for work time to blend with your home routines, which is not good. Members of your household should respect your work hours, and vice versa, your boss and colleagues should do the same when you’re off the clock. Also, learn how to say no to attending unnecessary meetings at work, if agreeing to them might jeopardize professional goals and home-life balance. You can also set an alarm that will signal to you it’s time to stop working. When it rings, let’s say at 5:30 PM, close things for the day. There’s no glory in working for much longer than you should, as it will lead to burnout in the long term. Keep it regular, keep it steady. That’s how you win.

9. Get Dressed for Work

Getting ready for your workday as if you’re going into an office can help put you in the right mindset for being productive. The mere act of changing clothes to something more office-appropriate will signal you to get work done throughout the day. When you dress up, you give your brain a reason for doing so, and it can keep you pumped throughout your work hours.

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10. Set Up a Dedicated Remote Workspace That Has Everything You Need

Working from your bed or couch might seem comfortable, but it can make it more difficult to focus on your tasks at hand. Having a dedicated space for work can help you stay organized and better able to focus. CEO Sam Mallikarjunan says, “Have a place you go specifically to work. It could be a certain table, chair, local coffee shop — someplace that’s consistently your ‘workspace.’ It helps you get into the right frame of mind.” Designate an area of your home exclusively for work and stay committed to it throughout the day. Try to make that space conducive to work, meaning you can have hours of peace to get your work done. Invest in proper lighting, a standing desk, a good microphone, and a webcam. These things will make a huge difference in your productivity levels.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Forget to Take Time for Yourself

Make sure you’re taking care of yourself both physically and mentally while working remotely. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and making time for relaxation. Devote the hours you saved every day from not commuting anymore to your family. One precious benefit of working at home is having extra quality time to spend with the people you love. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to being a more productive remote worker! Key Takeaway: It’s important to have a good time management strategy when working remotely. This includes making a schedule, setting up a dedicated workspace, and taking breaks throughout the day.

FAQs on Remote Work Time Management:

1. How can I manage my time when working remotely?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as everyone has different time management needs and preferences. However, some general tips can help you stay on track when working remotely. First, it’s helpful to establish a routine for your workday. This might mean setting regular work hours or dividing your day into set blocks of time dedicated to specific tasks. Having a set schedule will help keep you focused and prevent distractions from creeping in. Second, try to create a designated workspace in your home where you can focus on work. This doesn’t have to be an entire room. Even just clearing off a corner of the kitchen table can do the trick. Making sure you have a comfortable place to sit and all the supplies you need nearby will make it easier to get down to business. Finally, don’t forget to take breaks. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should be chained to your desk all day long. Get up and move around regularly. Take a few minutes to step outside for some fresh air and schedule time for lunch or a snack. Taking care of yourself will help you stay focused and productive in the long run.

2. What are the best ways to manage remote workers?

The best way to manage remote workers varies depending on the company, team, and individual preferences.

However, some tips for managing remote workers effectively include:

  • Setting clear expectations
  • Maintaining open communication channels
  • Providing feedback regularly
  • Being flexible with schedules and time zones
  • Using technology tools to stay organized and connected
  • Scheduling regular team meetings
  • Being transparent
  • Being flexible with your expectations
  • Offering encouragement and emotional support

It’s important to build trust with remote employees by demonstrating that you have confidence in their abilities and are invested in their success.

managing remote workers

3. How do I track the hours of a remote worker?

There are many ways to track the hours of a remote worker. One option is to use time-tracking software, such as RescueTime or Toggl (my favorite). These programs can automatically track how much time a person spends on various activities. They make it easy for you to see how your team members are progressing and performing (and if they’re sticking to agreed-upon tasks). Another option is simply using an online timesheet system like Harvest or ClickTime. These allow employees to log in and record the start and end of their workday and any break periods taken. You can easily export the gathered data into reports so that managers can review it at their convenience. Finally, some companies opt for more informal methods, like asking employees to send daily or weekly email updates with an overview of what they accomplished during that period. While this doesn’t provide hard data on exactly how long something took, it gives an insight into the progress made and could serve as a starting point for further discussion if needed. Whichever method you choose, the most important thing is to be clear about your expectations and communicate those with your team. With a bit of planning and effort, it’s easy to keep track of hours worked remotely, even if everyone isn’t in the same office.

4. How do you maintain productivity while working remotely?

You can do a few key things to maintain productivity even if you’re a location-independent worker. First, set clear boundaries between work and personal time. This will help you avoid distractions and stay focused when it’s time to work. Second, create a daily routine and stick to it as much as possible. This will help your mind know when it’s time to focus on work tasks. Finally, take breaks throughout the day and allow yourself mental and physical flexibility. By doing these things, you’ll be able to stay productive no matter where you’re working from.

5. Why is time management important in remote teams?

There are several key reasons time management is so important in remote teams. First, since team members are not all physically present in the same place, it can be more difficult to stay on track and communicate effectively without a rational plan to do it. Second, working remotely often means having greater flexibility in work hours, which can lead to increased opportunities for procrastination and decreased productivity if not managed carefully. Finally, without remote work time management practices in place, it can be easy for deadlines or other important dates to slip through the cracks because of conflicting schedules or mere forgetfulness. Overall, time management is critical in remote teams because it helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals. By having a clear plan for communication and collaboration, as well as setting expectations around work hours and deadlines, team members can avoid getting bogged down by distractions or falling behind on important tasks.

Conclusion

By following these tips, you can learn how to better manage your time while working from home. With a bit of effort and planning, you can make sure that your workday is productive and efficient. So, don’t wait any longer. Put these tips into action and see the results for yourself! There are a lot of different ways to approach time management when you work from home. What works for one person might not work for another, so it’s important to find what strategies work best for you and your lifestyle. Next up, you may want to explore a guide to performance management for remote workers.

Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building three small companies, an educator, digital marketer, freelance writer, editor, and content manager with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for writers, digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here, and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.