As remote workers, we are entirely responsible for how we manage our time to attain peak productivity. Take away the physical boundaries that exist in a physical workplace and your team lead hovering over you to meet deadlines and you will find yourself slipping into a more relaxed, less productive pace.

If you notice that you are easily losing track of time and struggling to stay focused while working remotely, you should try these tested time management techniques.  

Make a to-do list: 

A to-do list is an organized plan for the day. It helps you maintain focus and sets the tone for the day. Think of it as a guide helping you to keep a tunnel vision on the tasks you need to accomplish. It is recommended that one sets it the night before and to put the estimated time of completion beside each item in order to avoid dallying on one. It could range from making breakfast to working on a project. Remember to cross an item off the list when it has been done.

Avoid piling up personal tasks: 

“I should do my laundry too”, “Let me quickly buy noodles”. These random insertions of personal tasks can drastically affect your working progress. Once a specified time has been allocated to work, it is important to avoid doing things you wouldn’t do while in the office. 

Figure out whether you are a morning bird or a night owl: 

What this simply means is that you should be able to determine when you are most productive. If your body is attuned to working at night, do not push yourself to work during the day. It would be the literal definition of one step forward and two steps back. An exception should be made if an assignment is due during those hours.

Change your environment:  

You are entirely responsible for your time and therefore, are accountable to the progress level for the day. Maybe the problem isn’t time allocation but rather, the scenery. If the home is a little bit too comfortable, it is recommended you change up your workspace. A co-working space might be a better alternative.

Block distractions: 

It is a common misconception that remote workers slack off and binge-watch their favorite series all day. In actuality, the challenge is trying not to get lost in the rabbit hole that is social media. One can only resist hearing notifications blow up the phone for so long. The best option to remain focused? Setting your notifications to mute. For an added guarantee, turn them off completely so you are not tempted to reply to “only one text”.

Take a break: 

Recognize your limits and take well-deserved breaks before you burnout. Even at work, you get lunch breaks so it’s completely fine not to stretch yourself beyond your capacity trying to fit as much work as you can into your day. Remember that protecting your physical and mental health are major keys for increasing your productivity. So, plan your working hours and remember to take breaks!  

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