Time management tips: know when to clock off
Social distancing and the need to avoid large gatherings means that most of us have a lot more time at home. And for remote workers, that potentially means more time to work. But balance and time management is key to working from home.
It’s about ensuring you’re working to your full potential, while still making time for other needs and responsibilities. You need time to refresh and recharge, and time to attend to other areas of your life – this might mean kids who are home from school – or friends and relatives who you might need to check in on.
Here are five tips on how to keep your days organised and stay on track so working from home doesn’t become overwhelming.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
Developed in the 1980s, the Pomodoro Technique breaks your day into 25-minute intervals, with around five minutes to take a break and refresh in between. Once you’ve completed four tasks, you take a longer 20-minute break. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo, and was named after the Italian word for tomato, as Cirillo used a timer in that shape while he was at university to stay focused. There are many Pomodoro applications available for every operating system and platform you can think of, so try a couple and choose the one which works best for you.
2. Track your time
There are several time tracking apps available to help you work out how long you’ve spent on a task or project, and to let you know when it’s time to clock off. One of the best – and it’s free to use individually or for any size team, is Clockify. This app has a stack of integrations with other team apps, including the popular Basecamp, and it’s simple to use. The better you understand how you’re spending your time, the more you’re able to manage your time effectively.
3. Assign expenses and billable hours
Harvest is a popular application for teams needing to track billable hours. It’s sold as a subscription, so you’ll need approval from a manager to use it, and to get your remote team on board. The advantage of tracking billable time is that it helps you know when you’ve hit your goals for the day, or for the week, and you can clock off – and spend some time on you!
4, Set a work routine
If you’re not used to working from home you can miss the structure of being in the office, with its rhythms and time flows. So, the best thing you can do when you’re remote is to set up a routine. Start work at the same time you normally would. Take breaks when you need them (or use the Pomodoro technique – see tip 1). And when it’s time to clock off, do just that.
5. Have a separate office
Having your office separate from your bedroom and living room is great for productivity. This not only creates a physical space between living and working – it makes it easier to step away. Having a dedicated office also means you can more easily switch between work mode, and having a break, because you’ve moved to another area and are truly disengaging from work.