Remote and Flexible work can have it’s challenges and one of those is managing your own time and getting the work done in an organised and efficient way. Our flexible work specialist, Anne O’Gorman has some tips on how you can do this:
- The to-do list. At the beginning of each day or week, write on a sheet of paper what you want to get done and by when. Rank tasks according to importance or urgency to plan your day and focus your mind. Don’t keep it in your head. And remember to communicate this with your manager so they know what you are working on, or if they feel you need to prioritise one task over another due to business needs.
- Review your workload regularly and choose the right things to work on. Your time is precious, so consider if is there one task that always ends up at the bottom of the pile? If you find you’re avoiding it, can somebody else do it? Consider delegating what you don’t need to be involved in.
- Block out chunks of time. And I would even go and say, make these schedules/blocks visible and transparent on your work calendar so everyone knows what you are focusing on. (and hopefully won’t disturb you and distract you with other work!)
- Set realistic deadlines for your tasks. Look at your to-do list and estimate the time each task needs to be completed but don’t be overoptimistic. Be honest about what you can achieve in a working day or week so that you don’t feel overwhelmed from the start.
- Allow time for interruptions. If you need to finish a certain task at a certain time, only deal with urgent queries during this time. You can then quickly pick up again where you left off.
- Structure your workload. Avoid picking up a job, doing a bit and then putting it back on the pile. Deal with them one at a time and finish each one before starting another. Your mind will be clear and ready for the next task.
- Don’t let your inbox drive your workload. If you get 50 mails per day, this means 50 interruptions to your day. Don’t check your inbox every time a message arrives. Switch off instant alerts if necessary and allocate a time when you will check your inbox.
- Keep multitasking to a minimum. Starting a number of jobs simultaneously means most of them won’t get your undivided attention. Think of multitasking as dealing with more than one task during a day, not at the same time. That way you focus on the project in hand.
- Keep a log of your workload. If you’re unsure how long things take, how often your focus shifts or how many times you get interrupted, keep a log of your working week. This will help you plan your week in future.
- Mind the cost of meetings. Be clever about the meetings you need to attend face to face and those you can do virtually (e.g. through zoom or google hangouts). Virtual meetings tend to be shorter and address the point of the meeting quicker than face to face.
And my top tip. which isn’t very easy, especially for us working mums, but learn to say NO! You don’t have to justify or give ‘an excuses’ as to why you are saying NO. Know your worth and don’t feel guilty!
Life is Short. Work Somewhere Flexible.