Managing Your Time When You Work Remotely

Remote work has its share of benefits and challenges. Here are seven ways to boost your success when working from home.

Establish priorities

Determine which tasks are priorities, just as you would in the office, suggests Roy Maurer with the Society of Human Resources Managers. This will help eliminate procrastination and encourage you to manage your time efficiently so you can accomplish these goals.

Set strategic work hours

If you’re juggling remote work with parenting obligations, it’s especially important to be strategic when setting your schedule. A common method some parents use is to pencil in work hours around young ones’ naps, as The Balance contributor Laureen Brunelli shares. However, with older kids sometimes it’s more practical to work in the evenings after they go to bed.

Leverage peak concentration times

Energy management is another useful tool to help you stay successful when working from home. Simply put, this means recognizing when you tend to be most productive in the day, says Forbes contributor H.V. MacArthur.

Try to structure your work hours to include these time windows, if possible. And find out what your partner’s peak times are, so you can make smart decisions about core work hours and who does which parenting tasks during the day.

Cultivate boundaries

Working from home can make it challenging to keep your work and personal lives separate. With a bit of organization and communication, you can help increase your focus and productivity in both areas.

For starters, inform your family or roommates of your work hours so they’ll know when they should leave you alone to focus on work, Maurer advises. If you and your spouse are both working remotely, discuss how to share parenting duties and organize your work schedules so that both of you can thrive in your new routine.

Minimize distractions

Another key tool you can use to increase your work-from-home productivity is to eliminate distractions. Entrepreneur’s John Rampton recommends setting aside a designated area in your home as your office.

Keep the desk area clean and turn off any electronics you’re not using. It’s also a good idea to mute any app and messaging notifications on your smartphone during work hours.

Take charge of your work calendar

Be proactive about populating your work calendar with tasks you need to get done during the day. MacArthur suggests planning out your work calendar two weeks out.

This habit will help other coworkers respect your time more. It will also reduce the likelihood that others in the department will assume you’re free to attend certain meetings when you really need that time to work on a priority project or urgent deadline.

Prioritize self-care

Self-care goes a long way to ensuring your health, happiness and success when working from home, Maurer advises. Take time out of your work day to go outside for a walk or to play with your kids. This will help clear your head and burn some endorphins to help you feel less stressed about corporate concerns or global events.

He also recommends leveraging FaceTime and phone calls to stay in touch with friends and family. Staying connected to others will help you feel less isolated in your remote work environment.

By applying these seven strategies, you’ll find it a bit easier to stay organized and focused when balancing your personal and professional tasks in a work-from-home environment.

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