One of the best things about a virtual office is that you aren’t confined to be there a certain amount of time, to be there at a certain time, or are even confined to work a certain number of hours in a day. It sounds great, but can end up being self-sabotage when the time isn’t managed well. Just because you don’t have to be there at 8 a.m. doesn’t mean that you necessarily have the luxury to get there at noon (unless you plan to work until 7 or 8 p.m.).
Time management is much more crucial in a virtual office, even if its just for the simple reason that you’re time is now up to you, instead of your boss. So you don’t end up wasting time, slacking off, and perhaps losing the privilege of a virtual office, here are a few time management tips for virtual office workers:
Schedule Each Task in Your To-Do List
To-do lists are a must-have, but that’s not the tip here. The tip is to take that one step forward by scheduling each task on your to-do list for the next day. Instead of jotting down the 20 things you need to do, figure out what you’re going to do at 8 a.m., at 9 a.m., at 10 a.m. etc. Sounds tedious, and maybe unnecessary, but scheduling tasks makes it much easier to decide what to work on, to stay focused, and to think about how much time it takes to do each of these tasks. It also makes it easier to gauge what you can get done in a single day, breaking it up into manageable tasks instead of a one big block with lots to get done.
Forbes actually has an excellent article with tips on just the to-do list, such as prioritizing the list and scheduling even the smallest of tasks, so its worth checking out if you want your to-do list to be a better time-management tool.
Secret Tip to Boost Morale
If to-do lists continue to be overwhelming, or you feel that you still don’t do enough, then an easy trick that you can do is to do a “What I’ve Done List.” Instead of crossing things off of a list, add the things that you’ve done to it. You may be surprised at how much you actually get done, and how important some of those small tasks are to your overall productivity.
Schedule Breaks, Meals, Hobbies, and Bedtime
When there’s a lot to do, those four things are the first four to head to the back burner. Granted, there are times when you need to work well into the evening or not spend as much time on your hobbies, but remember that they are as important to your overall productivity as spending your work time wisely and getting things done. If you’re not getting enough rest, how do you expect to work efficiently and optimally? How do you expect to do that if you’re not eating enough, or eating at all, or eating healthy food? Schedule those things into your day like you would a meeting or phone call. You’ll feel better, and you’ll feel better about yourself for it.
Make Sure Your Virtual Office is Helping You
When you are at the virtual office getting work done, make sure that’s what you’re doing. If you have a door, keep it closed so you aren’t distracted by people walking by or conversations down the hall. If not, use headphones to block the noise. Think about what you want to accomplish while you are there, and do what it takes to do that. Having a virtual office takes a little more self-discipline, so if that’s something you don’t have a lot of, then time management may not be the thing you need to work on.
Do you have time management tips for virtual office workers to suggest? If so, please comment below! We’d love to hear about some of the tricks, tools, and strategies that you use!