Overtwo-thirds of employers have said that allowing their employees to work outside of the office resulted in increased productivity. But despite this, many people still worry about how to manage themselves and their time when working Anywhere.
There are a number of concerns that people tend to raise when the question of working Anywhere comes up, and self-management is one of the most common.
Many workers still believe that they would find it difficult to take on the responsibility of managing their time and keeping on top of their to-do list when working outside the office.
This article outlines some ways to overcome these issues around self-management, and describes different tips and processes to help you stay productive while working Anywhere.
Create a clear team task list and schedule
One of the easiest ways to manage your time and stay on top of tasks while working Anywhere is to create a clear schedule and task list with your teammates.
There are a number of team collaboration and project management tools available that can help you to prioritize your tasks, see what everyone is working on, and set deadlines. Many people worry about how their team members will be able to work together and have clarity over tasks while working outside of the office, but these tools are a great way to avoid these issues and ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them.
By setting out task priorities and establishing a clear working schedule, you and your team members can work Anywhere without worrying about a lack of clarity over deadlines, project timelines, or who is responsible for which tasks.
Learn to say “no”
In the office, people tend to be more aware of which projects you are already working on, as you are working together in the same space. If they can see first-hand that you are busy then they are unlikely to keep piling new requests on you.
However, when you are working Anywhere, your colleagues may not check what you are currently working on and could start to ask too much of you as a result. Outside of the office, it can be tempting to take on every task you are asked to do to ensure your teammates know you are working and aren’t forgetting about you.
Ideally, if you are using team collaboration tools then your colleagues will be able to see and be mindful of which projects you are already involved with, but if that isn’t helping then it is important to learn to say “no”.
Taking on too many tasks is likely to lead to a number of self-management problems, such as overworking and sacrificing on quality.
If you are asked to do something that doesn’t seem feasible when you consider your existing workload, politely decline the request and explain that you do not feel you have the time required to dedicate yourself to the task. This allows your co-workers to understand that you are indeed working hard, and offers you the opportunity to add more value to the projects you are already working on.
Make a personal daily plan
At the start of the day, some people find it difficult to motivate themselves when they are not in an office environment. You might overcome this issue by creating a separate workspace at home, going to a coffee shop, or working in a co-working space. But wherever you decide to base yourself, having a personal task list is a great way to start your day and stop you from spending too long staring at a blank screen wondering where to begin.
As mentioned previously, team task lists are essential when working outside the office, but having a more personalized daily plan for yourself can help you to break tasks down even further and see exactly what needs to be worked on.
When you don’t have your colleagues around you as a physical reminder of what needs to be done, creating a daily plan helps you to know exactly what to get stuck into as you begin your working day. This is a good process to follow regardless of where you work, but clearly outlining all of your tasks in this way can be especially useful for those working Anywhere.
Set deadlines and rewards for yourself
If you have agreed on a task list with your team, you are likely to already have specific deadlines to work towards. But setting yourself mini-deadlines for different stages of a task and giving yourself rewards when you meet them is a useful way to continually stay motivated.
One of the simplest ways to put this into practice is through the Pomodoro technique. This describes a process whereby you spend 25-minute bursts of time working on a defined task, then take a short break of around five minutes before repeating the process. Once you have completed four of the 25-minute intervals, you can take a slightly longer break to reward yourself and recharge. The technique ensures that what you’re working on never feels overwhelming, as projects are broken down into manageable chunks and the promise of a break is never too far away.
You can also structure your deadlines around other small-scale rewards, like taking a long walk or going for dinner with friends, or structure wider project deadlines around bigger rewards like holidays.
In an office, rewards might take the form of going for a long lunch with your co-workers or after-work drinks, with things like this being so second-nature that you don’t even think of them as “rewards” as such. When you’re working Anywhere, it is important to still create these small rewards for yourself to help you to stay motivated and meet any self-imposed deadlines.
Track your time
Time tracking is another useful method of self-management as it records how you spend your working hours. Using time tracking tools and software makes you aware of exactly how long is being taken up by each task, and helps you to manage your time accordingly.
You can also see what other members of your team are working on, which again helps with transparency and not taking on too many tasks at once. Reviewing the information collected can help you to determine where you could improve your time management and work out how projects and tasks could be completed more efficiently.
Recording your progress is the only way to improve it, which makes time tracking invaluable for remote workers who would like to improve their productivity and self-management skills.
Know how to switch off at the end of the day
Self-management issues when working remotely aren’t always about procrastination or a lack of motivation. Sometimes, you may simply find it harder to switch off. “Don’t bring the office home with you” isn’t the easiest advice to take if your home is your office.
As we discussed earlier, setting out a clear work schedule with your team is useful for managing your time, and this means managing how to end your working day too. This isn’t to say that you can’t occasionally work later than planned to finish a task, as this is not unique to working Anywhere, but be sure to record how often you are doing it to help you understand if it is happening more often than it would if you were in the office.
When you have decided to finish your working day, turn off your notifications and log out of any work-related software on your computer. This way, you can avoid having your personal time interrupted by incoming emails or work requests.