Managing your time and structuring your day

Homeworking and Remote Management - Post 1

  

 

Learning Coach Bev Glider offers 9 tips on Managing your time

and structuring your day when working remotely

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you consciously structure your day or are you merely responding to what comes up? Is that approach working for you?.

What proportion of your role requires you to be reactive ? How much time do you devote to being proactive? When do you do your thinking  ? How much time do you spend working on your job as opposed to working in your job ? Does this work for you ?

Here are nine strategies to consider.

  • Your working day is highly likely to be different now for a variety of reasons, particularly if you are now working fully remotely or partially, making the assumption that your old working patterns can be transferred without any changes to the new working environment can put additional professional and personal pressure on you and those around you. If you happen to be working alone at home with no distractions, your day is likely to look and feel different. You won’t be commuting or be able to just say hello and casually check in with everyone as they come in to the office, so you will need to be ready to be flexible and perhaps even more structured than you used to be. Make a point of having regular check-ins with others both from a task basis and a wellbeing basis. Be clear about the purpose of any on line meets.

  • Make sure you have a clear start and end to the day. When your work and the other significant parts of your life are in the same space, it’s particularly important to have a clear start and end to your day. This means you get focused when you need to and check out of work when you should. It’s easy to work longer hours when you’re working from home, so make sure you are avoiding burnout. Use an app which will remind you to take a break, start or stop work, take the dog out or get some fresh air. You are not available during out of this pattern – on line or on the phone. If your team need you at that very minute ask them to instant message. Deal with it when you back in work mode. Encourage other team members to identify what is an emergency and what is something that will wait. If you respond to everything on a wheel spin basis you will have to then prioritise all of the urgent tasks into what is very urgent and there lies a big problem. If you are managing a team use delegation properly so that other know enough to manage more problems themselves. Avoid doing all the thinking for all the team . Who knows they may have a better solution !

  •  Get up and get dressed for work before you start to signal to yourself that the day has begun. Go for a quick walk outside for 10 mins and come back to your work space and start work, then. You may like to think about some clothes for work and some for not working. Formal dress or even semi formal dress can now be not right but having different things even if very comfy, to wear at the weekend helps anchor your head into work space.

  •  Have a different ‘space’ for work and non-work on line tasks even if it’s the other side of the same table. Make a clear break at the end of the day. Recent employer surveys indicate that  people already working remotely said that unplugging was their biggest challenge.

  • Challenge your assumptions. You will have fallen into a pattern of working that is perhaps now not going to serve you well. Get creative about when you work and when you undertake particular tasks. Although you will want to fulfil business needs, take some time to consciously challenge what has to be done and when. Know your own rhythm of when you do your routine work best and when you do your creative tasks best; schedule tasks for the best time. Some people are morning thinkers and some better later in the day. If you have a dip in energy at a particular point take a break and switch off and do something completely different for a short while. If you invest time in working ‘on your role’ and revise how and when you do things, you may find that you can be more productive. Always be prepared to think objectively about what you do and when. Be prepared to recognise some of the benefits of not sitting in traffic worrying about being late, not spending hours commuting every day. Depending on your role let your team know when is best to contact you and gently encourage meetings to be booked via an electronic diary, even if the same day. Remember other may be facing the same challenges and if you need a quick chat it can be a good idea to instant message to check it is OK with them, even if they are showing available.

 

 

  •  Make sure you communicate with your team so that they get what they need and you get what you need. Have an open discussion together about what’s going to work. Working from home can be a recipe for increased productivity as it avoids constant distractions in the office, but if your team are constantly phoning you, this may not transpire. Work with them to agree time set aside and the criteria under which they can disturb your blocked out time. Allowing the team to access each other’s calendars is useful as you can all check availability before calling.

  • Take regular breaks. Another thing that’s easy to do when working from home is to forget to take breaks. We know that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health and it’s also true that our focus can wane over time, so make sure you take regular breaks. 

 

  • Keep a task list; make it in the evening or before your weekend; if you do this you will be able to get going straight away without procrastinating on a Monday. If there are tasks you hate doing or are particularly worried about; break those tasks into manageable chunks. Reward yourself with small things when they get done. 

 

  • Not all days will be your best for getting what you wanted to, done; remember the next day is a new one. Make sure you manage expectations around deadlines and if it looks like the deadline will be tight, let others be aware when it will be completed or ask for help, earlier rather than at the last minute.

     If you have any questions, please contact Managing Director, John McMahon –      john.mcmahon@togethertraining.co.uk 07500126450.