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Making sure we get the absolute most out of every minute of the working day is a goal that every manager is working towards. There are a lot of different methods, tools, and strategies to help you do this, but it can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what will work well for you.
What works on an individual level may not work for all your team either. By correctly managing your time, you’ll save effort, money, and stress! It’s a great way to avoid procrastinating and improve your overall workflow. You really have nothing to lose by giving it a go.
We’ve teamed up with Remote-how, creator of online program for remote managers to prepare this guide on how to get started on your way to being a more productive remote superstar!
Why budget your time?
Time budgeting is a technique that helps you plan your working day in a more structured way. It means that you’re more likely to get through all the tasks you have planned. Without setting aside blocks of time, it’s much easier to get distracted by other people’s work and agendas and not concentrate on what you should actually be doing.
To begin with, it‘s as simple as planning out each day and blocking off your calendar into chunks. Each day doesn’t need to be the same as your times will change, but you’ll probably find that you look doing certain tasks at certain times. Budgeting your time also can help you realize where you’ve been taking too long to do certain things. Think about maybe making a meeting 20 minutes instead of 30, or give 40 minutes for something you’d usually spend an hour doing. You’ll probably find that you can complete the work in what you’ve allotted, saving you precious minutes!
Another great tip is to think about the time of day that you are blocking things. It may be that you find the start of your day is the best time for a longer, more intensive project and the afternoon for less taxing ones.
It’s good for the whole team too
Time budgeting is also a great way of improving transparency within your organization and team. By putting blocks into your calendar for all to see, your schedule becomes open and available. People can manage their tasks and time more efficiently, see areas where people are possibly duplicating work, and better organize meetings and other activities.
Employees value transparency, so as a remote team manager it helps to have your calendar public and with all your blocks already in. Do make sure to label what each block is for however. If you find that people always want to take 5 minutes to talk or have a quick meeting, you can even schedule in open office hours to leave you with less interruptions and distractions during the day.
It will help improve your work-life balance and prioritization skills
By putting all your plans in your calendar, you can look and see exactly how long you are spending on different tasks. Maybe you see that something is taking up a disproportionate amount of your time, or that something is being neglected. By getting this overview, it becomes much easier to prioritize your tasks next time as you realize good working patterns.
If you also save some time for lunch and put it in your schedule, you’re much less likely to work through it or end up eating at your desk. If you find yourself scheduling your breakfast or dinner however, you’re probably working too much! Remote workers use all the same tools for their leisure activities as their work one, so the lines can get a bit blurred. Some internet browsing after work can end up drawing you back into some task if work emails pop up or you get a slack message. By enforcing some strict scheduling that others can also see, you’ll make sure that your free time stays free.
Give timeboxing a go
Timeboxing is another way of budgeting your time, which is similar to blocking but comes at it from a slightly different angle. Rather than setting a 2-hour block to complete a task, you allot a certain amount of time for that task which is limited and can’t be extended. What you produce and have at the end of the allotted time is the finished work, no matter what state it is in.
Timeboxing attempts to limit the amount of time you spend on a task, reducing time waste and in theory allowing you to work on more things. It can be easy to just spend an extra half an hour on something, but not make much difference to the end result. If you set a three-hour block for a presentation, then you probably use up all the time on the task no matter how long it should really take. The task may really only need an hour, but you spend the amount of you have blocked and this can end up being very unproductive.
Timeboxing is there to stop you wasting time on tasks that can be fairly open-ended, and is worth a go once you’ve got to grips with budgeting normally.
Budgeting your time is just the start
Want to know more about how to make your remote team really work? It’s not all just about budgeting your time well! Remote-how has just finished their first Certified in Distributed Management Program, full of great webinars and informative lessons from some of the best managers and professionals in the remote world from companies like Buffer, Doist, inVision or Skillshare. If you don’t want to miss out on the next one, head over to Remote-how’s website to get more information and enroll.