More and more employees are making the transition from the traditional office setting to telecommuting. Advances in technology allow you to be just as productive at home as you were in the office. From email and text messages to VPN connectivity and secure communication, there are plenty of ways to ease the transition and maintain your productivity when working from home. Unfortunately, poor time management skills often stand in the way of being successful.
No matter what your job, learning better time management skills can be a real advantage for your career. It is never too late to improve your time management skills, and the added productivity you gain can help you advance your career and your standing in the company.
Don’t be scared to raise your hand and ask for help.
Take a few minutes to ask your supervisor for guidance. The move from office-bound employee to telecommuter can be a tough one—for you and your boss. Ask your supervisor for advice and guidance on how to manage your time most effectively. Being able to ask for help when it is needed is not a sign of weakness. It is quite the contrary in fact; knowing your own areas for opportunity will likely impress your boss.
Create a daily to-do list.
A written to-do list can be a big help when learning time management skills. As your time management skills improve, you may be able to move from a physical list to a mental one, but writing things down can still be helpful from time to time. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you are able to cross off the items one by one.
Keep the same schedule as your boss.
As tempting as it may seem, working from home does not mean working on your own schedule. The management team will need you to be available during the hours they work. Be sure to stay connected and able to communicate with management as needed.
Take regular breaks.
It can be very easy to get caught up in your work and not notice the hours ticking by. You may feel as though you are being more productive by staying nailed to your seat, but failing to take a break every few hours can cause you to get burned out and lose proper focus on the tasks at hand. Get up and stretch for a bit, get some fresh air, or have a little snack.
Identify your biggest time wasters.
Chances are there are little things that suck away an inordinate amount of time. Keep a diary for about a week to identify those time wasters and stop them from sabotaging your productivity.
Set a time to check and respond to email.
Constantly checking your email can be a real time waster, so set aside a few minutes each hour to check your inbox and respond to incoming messages.
Make it clear to your family that you are working.
When you work from home, there is a tendency for spouses and children to think you are available 24/7. Make it clear that you are working during office hours, and that they should not disturb you with anything less than a true emergency.
Manage your workload more effectively.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when working from home. Without coworkers to lean on or an in-person boss to go to, it can be hard just knowing where to start. Breaking your seemingly overwhelming workload up into smaller and more manageable chunks can make a real difference and give you a firm starting point. Prioritizing is key.
Working from home can be a real blessing to your work/life balance, but telecommuting presents its own set of challenges. Whether you are currently making the transition from office worker to home worker or have been doing the telecommuting dance for years, improving your time management skills can help you do a better job and be more productive!
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