We are all sailing through the same choppy waters amid the worldwide lockdown issued in the wake of COVID-19. The uncertainty and unrest caused by the pandemic wreaked havoc on personal and professional lives both. Mandated remote work has caused a paradigm shift in the business landscape.
Time management has been an issue for remote workers even under usual circumstances. Being at home, knowing you have a lot of time in hand leads to procrastination and then the inevitable scramble to meet deadlines makes it more challenging than ever.
Eliminating distractions, striking a perfect work-life balance and meeting deadlines are the major concerns. These can be addressed with the efficient deployment of tech tools that can act as potential catalysts to enhance productivity. Along with this, shifting to mindful habits will make a substantial difference.
Leverage these tips to efficiently manage your time and get things done:
Curate a To-Do List
Do you often feel overwhelmed by the workload and a never-ending task list? Or a very important task just slips off your mind? Or are you often missing deadlines? It’s all because your tasks are not written down in one place. After all, your mind can only remember so much!
Hence, curating a bulleted list of tasks to be done in a day cements them in your brain and lets you prioritize. Creating it before you begin working sets the tone for the day and lets you finish off tasks that need your immediate attention first. Not only that, but a daily assessment at the end of the day also informs you of your work rate and you can take a call if your pace needs improvement. There’s more to it! When you wrap up your work, you know which task took more or less time.
You can then rearrange your list accordingly and focus your energy and time on high-value activities. Also, what’s more, satisfying than crossing off tasks from your list?
Schedule Work Proactively
You don’t want your focused time to be wasted on BAU or non-essential meetings. Because this is when you are most productive and can accomplish the majority of your task list. To ensure that your managers are aware of your schedule and availability down the line, you can make use of Gantt charts that are integrable with your organization’s resource management software.
You can log your tasks before the week begins instead of leaving your timesheet as an open slate left unfilled for your manager to misjudge. Stay proactive and book your hours to finish major responsibilities in hand. The remaining hours can then be used for additional work. Besides giving a birds-eye view of your schedules, timesheets also enable managers to receive real-time information of your progress and how far you are from reaching your targets. When you are in charge of your work, the responsibility and its execution rest on your self-discipline which keeps you from wasting logged hours.
Energy Management is the Key
The ongoing crisis has surely given an opportunity to learn and hone certain skills. For instance, leaders are understanding the need to be compassionate and empathetic towards their employees during work from home.
Helping them cope with anxiety and stress to understanding their energy levels, leaders have a lot to be considerate about. Assess yourself first to know when you are most energetic..
Energy levels vary from person to person. Maybe you are prolific at the crack of dawn or post-lunch hours when the clock is ticking. Schedule your work keeping this in mind and keep your team members in the loop.
Coordinate your energy windows with your team members’ energy windows to avoid any hindrance at work. This ensures that everyone is attentive and focused to get things done on time.
Balance Fragmented v/s Focused Time
Multiple scheduled meetings can spare small pockets of 15-30 minutes of time in between adding on to fragmented hours. Even though this time can be used to complete small tasks, it is usually sucked up in doing unproductive activities that include scrolling mindlessly through social media, playing online games and the list is endless.
To make the most of your working hours, it’s essential to strike a balance between fragmented and focused time. If your fragmented hours are exceeding your focused hours, then you need to revisit your schedule and ensure that you allow more focused hours. Or else, it’s an invitation to unproductivity and delays in meeting deadlines.
Stay Mindful of Your Progress
At the end of the day, how much you accomplish keeping the clients’ expectations in mind is what matters. Consider you have 5 tasks to complete in 8 hours and you are just able to check 3 of those off the list. What would you do? Contemplate what went wrong? Maybe you ended up spending more time and effort on a menial task or maybe you had a tough task at hand and you put in most of your time to understand it instead of asking for help.
To refrain from doing so, staying mindful of your progress and knowing when to seek help to get a different perspective and understand what weighed your task down is crucial.
You have tools and to-do lists at your disposal to gauge your progress. They direct you to stay aware of how much time you spend on what task. You can calculate the time you should be spending on each task before you begin to stay on track. Mindfulness keeps distractions at bay and lets you focus to meet your daily targets.
Over To You
Everyone is anxious and stressed due to the crisis and tackling this grim time with more than just workplace transformation concerns. How the remote team respects each members’ time will have a huge impact on how everyone sails through this and functions together on the other side. The bottom line is time is as much a constraint as it is a valuable resource, meaning it mustn’t be mismanaged, intentionally or unintentionally.
If you allow these tough times to let you waste hours on things that are not important, it will just add on to your stress level, lowering your productivity. Hence, efficiently managing your time and giving in your 100% and contributing to keep your organization afloat will add more meaning to your professional growth. It’s for you to decide- either run the day or the day runs you!