How to Manage Your Time Working Online
During the height of the pandemic, a lot of us had to learn how to work online. Now that, for many, the pandemic has slowed, in-person work has resumed for a large number of jobs. However, not all jobs decided to return to the usual day-to-day of pre-pandemic life.
More than ever before, workplaces have taken this opportunity to switch to both hybrid or completely virtual workplace settings. Knowing that this sort of workplace setting is becoming more common in job opportunities across the globe, it becomes incredibly important that everyone learns a skill that many struggled with during the pandemic: managing your time in the online workplace.
Time management has always been a skill essential in all careers, but when working online, a lack of time management skills can be disastrous, arguably more so than when you work in-person. In-person, it is easier to stay on task and focused as you are in an environment where you are used to the idea of working and being in a work mindset. You also are surrounded by coworkers who will also be focused on doing work, which can help to keep you on task.
Working from home, however, for as many advantages as it has, lacks all of these qualities that make managing your working time easy. At home, distractions are everywhere, and it is easy to lose focus on something and run out of time for an essential task.
As a virtual and hybrid company, U+ employees are used to working online from home and know how to manage their time effectively. We understand the challenges that come with working remotely, and have found strategies to overcome them.
This is why we are here to provide you with some essential tips for managing your time when working online.
1. Create a Detailed Schedule
Schedules are a beautiful tool when it comes to time management. Even in an in-person setting, creating a detailed and organized schedule that plans out your day can help increase workplace productivity.
When working online, schedules and day planning is one of the easiest ways to keep your day on track. Pre-plan your day by blocking off time to work on certain tasks and setting reminders for yourself about meetings, deadlines, and anything else you need to remember.
By following your schedule, you will know how much time you can allocate to certain tasks, as well as what tasks you need to prioritize. It also helps you create a workplace routine that will help get you in the working mindset everyday.
2. Designate a Workspace
If possible, designate a room separate from distractions as your at-home workspace. We recognize that this may not be possible for everyone, as not everyone has the space for this, but if you can, set a place to work that does not directly come into contact with your home life.
This means no working in the kitchen, living room, bedroom, or any other place like that. These areas provide tons of distraction as they are places your brain associated with home, not work. Getting into an area that is specifically for working helps your brain shift into work mode at the start of the day.
A separate area is also important for work-life balance. Even when working from home, you need to create boundaries with your work and personal life. Don’t feel that because you work remotely, you must also be active and responsive to work situations. Having your workplace set up in one of your personal areas may make you feel like you never leave work and can increase pressure to merge your home and work life to an unhealthy extent. Separating the two by having a designated workspace helps free your mind from work at the end of the day, while also keeping you focused throughout the day.
3. Pretend You are Going to the Office and Follow a Work Routine
When you needed to be in the office everyday at the same time, it was easy to fall into a sort of routine that got your mind ready to focus on work.
When working from home, however, many people find that this routine starts to fall apart. It is so easy when you know you will be online to start thinking things like “Does it really matter if I change into work attire if no one can see what I’m wearing?” or “9:00 am is too early to start work! Maybe I will sleep in and just work later in the day.”
These types of thoughts are not great for productivity and healthy online work habits. Following the usual daily work routine you have always followed, even if it no longer seems necessary, is an important habit to keep and, if you never had a routine, it is definitely time to develop one!
Having a morning work routine and changing into ‘professional attire’ forces your brain into the so-called ‘work mode’ that will help increase your daily productivity.
As tempting as it is to work in your pajamas, doing so will put your brain into a state of distraction. Routines create pathways in your brain and establish habits that trick your brain into understanding that, when this routine occurs, it’s time to focus and work.
4. Set Weekly Goals
Make sure to set something to work towards each week or, if you need help on a day-to-day basis, each day. Creating a goals list is a great way to make sure you stay on track, as you know what you need to have done by a certain time.
Finishing a goal and checking it off the list also creates a sense of accomplishment that makes you feel like you have finished something at work today.
Use your goals list to not only manage how you are spending your time, but to keep track of what needs to be done, setting your sight on a finish line you have to work towards.
5. Minimize Distractions
Finally, make sure to minimize any and all distractions you may be able to find in your at-home workplace.
One of the biggest distractions to minimize is technology. While some technology is definitely needed for online work, take away any tech that is unnecessary and could cause you to lose focus. Don’t work in a room with a television, radio, video game systems, or anything else that can be used to pull you away from work. If your phone is non-essential, consider also locking it away for the time you are working to prevent it causing distractions.
Managing Your Time Online
Working online, even in a hybrid setting, can be a challenge, but as the working world continues to grow and adapt with changes in technology, it is slowly becoming something we all will need to learn how to do. Knowing how to manage your time online is such an important first step in beginning to develop your ability to work remotely.
For more career tips and information visit us at U+ Careers, where we will provide you with help in kickstarting your future career by helping shape you into an ideal employee and candidate.