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Writing a Time Management Action Plan for Remote Teams

Whether you're a freelancer or a full-time employee, remote work is slowly becoming the norm in dozens of industries, including IT, business management, and sales. According to Forbes, 74% of professionals are in favor of remote becoming an industry standard, with 97% never wanting to return to full-time office work. The allure of working from home and managing your own time is simply too great, especially in the wake of 2020.

What about pre-2020 remote work implementation? Based on Business 2 Community, 3.4% of the world's population already worked remotely full-time pre-COVID-19 with 78% citing "flexible schedules" as top remote work motivators. If you are working remotely full-time, you may want to manage your time through a practical action plan rather than work ad hoc. Let's explore several steps which can help you create a time management action plan if you are working in a remote team.

Perks of Writing your Own Time Management Action Plan

As a remote work employee, you will effectively be part of a larger team of like-minded professionals focused on a shared task. But, you will still also work from home and be surrounded by familiar distractions, snacks, and family members. Judging by Small Biz Genius, 18% of people already work remotely full-time as of 2021, with 74% claiming it offers fewer distractions than office work.

Time management action plans are commonly associated with project manager duties in corporate environments, but that is not their sole purpose. A time management action plan can significantly improve your work/life balance and ensure that you get everything done on time. Most importantly, it will help you systematically break down your workflow, find its weak spots and make you more motivated to check in for work. The perks you can look forward to with your time management action plan in place include:

● Improved mental health and less stressful workflow

● More time to do everything you need to do daily

● Smart goal-setting with objective tasks and takeaways

● More freedom to spend time with friends and family

● Better focus, productivity, and quality of work

● Fewer distractions and less procrastination than before

Write Daily and Weekly To-Do Lists

While your project manager may allocate duties to each person on your team regularly, you can go a step further in your work scheduling. Creating daily and weekly to-do lists, either online or by hand, can do wonders for your personal motivation. Apps such as Any.do or Microsoft To-Do can be great for this reason. You can also grab colored markers and some sticky notes and go offline in your to-do list-making. This will help you stay engaged with the work you do by allowing you to personally tick off different tasks as you complete them.

Distance yourself from Personal Tasks During Work Hours

It is deceptively easy to get distracted by house chores, hobbies, and other activities during remote work hours. To avoid that, you should find a dedicated space to work in and stick to it going forward. Your time management action plan should contain details about where you are working for clarity.

Find a nook just for you and set up your laptop, webcam, and notebook there to start. Even if you don't have dedicated office space to work from, you can still find a routine of working from the same spot each day. This will significantly help in your efforts not to get distracted by personal tasks around the house while working.

Organize your Work Hours Around Team Meetings

Given that you've decided to work remotely, you might be working with an international team from around the world. In this case, it may be difficult to organize your hours so that you can tend to personal activities and get a good night's sleep.

This is where your time management action plan comes into play. Go through your scheduled team meetings and check-ins. See if you can organize your work hours into 2-4-hour intervals around those time slots. This will help you stay informed on the latest project happenings and help you warm up before an important meeting. Following the meeting, you can work for a couple more hours to implement any feedback or instructions you've been given.

Implement Time-Tracking and Web Restriction Apps

Tracking your own time can be very beneficial for your personal motivation and sense of accomplishment. Even if you are using a project management platform like Asana or Trello, personal time-tracking is important for you. You can start by checking out apps such as Pomodoro Timer or Timely to see how you can start tracking your time.

Next up, you should use an app or a browser plugin that will limit your exposure to distracting websites and social media. Apps like Forest, Freedom, and Limit are good choices, but there are more out there. You can write these into your time management action plan with Edubirdie as a writing platform of choice. Keeping your action plan neatly edited and formatted will ensure that you know how to manage your remote work daily.

Schedule Breaks to Stretch and Have a Snack

A major benefit of working remotely is the fact that you can pause and stretch your legs almost at any moment. Use the opportunity to do something nice for yourself every 45 minutes or so to stay as productive as possible. You can set your breaks in either time or milestone intervals, depending on the type of work you do.

Grab a quick snack, go outside for some air, or take a quick shower between longer working sessions. Refreshing yourself can significantly affect your mood and motivation to keep working. Contrary to traditional office work, this is a huge positive in favor of working remotely. Why not make the most of it and make work more enjoyable?

Managing your Remote Work through Smart Time Management (Conclusion)

The biggest challenge in writing a time management action plan is sticking to it once you prepare it. It can be easy to settle back into your old remote work routine and keep the action plan tucked away in a drawer.

Instead of doing that, print it and set it up around your house for quick reference. If you use a time-management app on your phone, all the better. Remember, the action plan is there to help you, not to hinder you. Make quick adjustments to it whenever you feel something is off, and you will be able to make it work in your favor.

Image source freepik
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