In the last blog titled “Time Management: Time Robbers,” we discussed that time management in simple terms is the ability to use time effectively and productively, and time robbers steal small moments of your productive time. Small things like having your spouse tell you what they just saw on social media, your kids asking you questions, or your dog just wanted to be petted can take up to a large portion of your day. As a virtual employee, you have to proactively manage your time, so your productivity does not suffer.
This blog is focused on time management tips for virtual employees. Working from home can be a challenge if you do not set yourself up for success. Your time is something you can never get back once it is gone, so you have to use it wisely as it is a precious resource.
Here are 7 Time Management Tips for Virtual Employees:
- Get your virtual “office” in order. Set up your virtual office where you can feel comfortable. If possible, in a room with a lock on the door so that you can focus on work and not be interrupted when participating in virtual meetings. Organize the workspace, so it allows you to be productive.
- Remove distractions. When working virtually, you should unplug from social media, news, or other distractions that will pull your attention from work. If you are sharing your virtual office with family, set ground rules so they know when it is OK to “drop-in” for a social visit.
- Keep a shared online calendar. Keeping a shared calendar online lets others that may need your time view your availability. This limits the number of phone calls just to ask “are you available on…” If someone needs your time, they can send you a calendar invitation. You can also use this calendar to plan your day around major meetings and deadlines that need to be met.
- Don’t overcommit. Sometimes you just have to say no. When you are working virtually, your boss and/or team may not realize everything you are tasked to do. If your workload is at maximum capacity, then be honest and see if someone else on the team can help or handle extra tasks.
- Prioritize and post your to-do list. There are several online project list/priority list applications that can help you organize your day. It is important to plan your day if you want to feel like you were successful at the end of the day. Put your to-do list together and then prioritize it, so you get the most important things done first. You can then fill in small gaps of time in your day with small items from your to-do list.
- Build in block time. When planning out your day, set “blocks” of time on your online calendar so you can focus on specific tasks. This will help keep people from scheduling meetings during what could be your most productive time. As a virtual employee, this is when that “lock” on your door would also come in handy. If you don’t have a lock, then a simple “Do not disturb” sign could let your family know that you are blocked out for an hour or two.
- Plan breaks to reenergize. Everyone needs a break now and then to recharge. Plan when you will take your lunch and have a morning and afternoon break, so your family will know when you are typically available for social visits. Make sure to use a timer or set the alarm on your cell phone, so you don’t lose track of time.
Working virtually can feel like a great benefit or a great burden. While it saves on commute time, if you are not disciplined to stay on task, it can cause you to work longer hours and accomplish less. Use the tips above to use your time effectively and productively. This will help you to enjoy the benefits of being a virtual employee.
Interested in learning more, join us for a complimentary 1-hour webinar, Time Management in a Virtual World, on November 11, 2020, at 9:00 AM.