3 Time-Management Tips for Optimizing Work-From-Home Productivity
“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.”
Remote Workers Carry Greater Responsibility for Productivity
Researchers predict 1.75 billion people – more than 40 percent of the global workforce – will be mobile by the end of this decade. These swelling ranks of remote workers push IT professionals to accommodate not only a wider range of working hours, but a more diverse set of workplaces – especially home offices.
“Data indicates that the remote-work trend in the U.S. labor force is inexorable, aided by ever-better tools for getting work done anywhere,” writes Wall Street Journal columnist Christopher Mims in a recent column. Surveys done by Gallup reveal that last year, Mims elaborates, the proportion of Americans who did some or all their work from home was 43 percent, up from 39 in 2012. Over the same period, the proportion who only work remotely went to 20 percent from 15 percent, he shares.
For many organizations, this evolution in work styles brings a shift in technology strategy, as companies embrace enterprise mobility by making communication and collaboration solutions accessible from anywhere and on any device. This trend effects more than communications infrastructure requirements. The accelerating flow of people from corporate facilities to field offices means the onus of efficient and effective business collaboration is shifting the same direction.
Operating from a Home Office Requires Special Attention to Time Management
“There are benefits to working from home, of course: reduced travel time, savings on gas and meals…” technology executive Larry Kim writes in a column for Inc. magazine. To demonstrate his point, Kim cites a poll by the job site Workopolis that found nine of 10 people believe working remotely makes them more productive.
Still, Kim is balanced in his view and concedes in his article that home offices can be especially distracting work places. So, remote workers operating in home environments must take exceptional care managing their most critical asset: Time.
We reviewed articles by several productivity pundits and compiled
3 Time-Management Tips for Mastering a Productive Home-Office Mindset
1. Work is Where Your Head Is
Today, going to work is a state of mind, not a physical place. As Paul J. Meyer, founder of the Success Motivation Institute, says: ““Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.”
2. Create Accountability for Yourself
HubSpot blog contributor Sophia Bernazzani puts it this way: “Personal accountability leads to increased feelings of workplace satisfaction, creativity, and innovation…” Here a few ways she recommends for promoting personal accountability in your home office:
- Share progress toward goals with others, (which we feel is a great collaborative technique in any setting).
- Set up a personal reward system for reaching milestones.
- Track progress in specific increments of time.
3. Prioritize First, then Schedule
By creating a “reverse to-do list for your projects” suggests Bernazzani:
“When working on a deadline that is a month or more away, my favorite strategy for project management is a reverse to-do list, which I create by starting with my final, long-term deadline, then working backwards by building in milestones to complete during the process. It’s important to keep updating the deadlines and timeframes as your project evolves to account for any delays or unanticipated challenges to keep yourself on track. Another key for making this a successful tool is building buffer time into your mini-deadlines to account for those delays.”
“The more you plan and schedule your time with purpose, the less time there is for outside forces to take over your schedule,” says CEO Gary Shouldis in an interview with Small Business Trends. “You need to understand what times of the day you are most productive and how long you can work before your productivity falls off. Once you understand this about yourself, you can start planning so you get the most done during your peak performance times.”