Whether you have been working with your team remotely for 6 months or 6 years, time management when working online can be such a difficult thing to master.
For me, time management doesn’t just mean prioritizing all my tasks, it also means getting what I need to get done while also setting boundaries.
I’m sure you’ve seen the news articles that say, “On average working from home means 3 more hours on the job” (Source: Bloomberg) While I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that, it can definitely feel like you are perceived to be available for many more hours.
Alright let’s back up a little bit. First let’s discuss managing your tasks when you work online.
If you’re a business owner, you probably have a mile long to-do list. So how do you get through it all?
I recommend project management tools, such as Slack, Trello, or Asana. Each tool has its own pros and cons, but they all allow you to put your tasks into categories and make lists of what needs to get done. These tools can also help you delegate tasks to your team.
I’m a firm believer that the best way to manage your time is to have an organized plan of what you want to get done each day, and who you want to get it done.
As a leader, it can be tough to manage doing your own work and approving/reviewing your team members' work, but it will be easier for everyone if expectations are set from the start. The more specific the instructions you give, the less time you need to provide your team member to answer follow up questions or clarifications.
Obviously, it’s a little unrealistic to expect your team members to understand all of their tasks with zero questions, ever. But if you go out of your way when you are delegating tasks to them to make sure they are clear on what they need to do, it will save you time in the future.
Another important aspect of time management is setting boundaries. When you’re working from home, people tend to naturally think of you as more available and accessible, especially considering all of the forms of communication that exist today.
In the online business community, there is often a “hustle, hustle, hustle” mentality. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious and driven, but it can be harmful to equate success with working all day every day.
When you are a business owner, you often set your own hours. You can work 30 hours a week, or you can work 70. If you manage your business online, while you may feel obligated to be as available as possible, it’s very important to set boundaries for your availability online.
This will save your sanity. I promise.
It may not feel like a big deal to answer a quick text or email after hours, but feeling that constant obligation to work can take a big toll over time. Work with your team early on to establish boundaries, and make sure everyone identifies any time they will be on “do not disturb” to avoid any miscommunication in the future.
Working remotely can be amazing, and by honing in on those time management skills and establishing online availability boundaries, you will set you and your team up for success.
Here's To Your Success,
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.