Working remotely means that you can work whenever you feel like it and in any way that suits you. This is one of the main draws of remote work, however it can also present a major challenge. Without a regular schedule, how do you make sure you actually get work done?
Most remote workers find that it’s best to set a schedule even if you don’t have to. This helps you maintain balance and make sure you’re getting enough work done each day. It also prevents you from working too much. This may be surprising, but many new remote workers find that they work more since there’s no official “quitting time.”
Work with Your Natural Rhythms
The good news is that you can create a schedule that works for you. Are you most productive in the early morning? Then start work at 6. Are you a night person? Your workday can kick off after lunch. You can even break it up so that you have a productive morning, a long break, and then a few evening hours.
How Much Is Enough?
It’s difficult to judge at first how long your workday should be. A good guideline is to look at how much you work now and set a schedule accordingly. Or make it just a bit shorter and try to be more productive with your time. You can always add a few hours when you have a deadline or something that needs to be finished.
Tell Everyone Who Needs to Know
Once you have your schedule set, inform the key people who you work with. You might let colleagues or clients know your schedule so they know when they can reach you. If there are people you work with in another time zone, you might adjust your schedule accordingly. You should inform family members and roommates as well, so they don’t bother you during your working time.
Monitor Your Working Time
Your work schedule serves you, not the other way around. This means that it’s up to you to make sure it’s working the way you want it to. You should take some time to reflect and make sure you’re getting results. Are you getting things done? How is your energy level? Do you have the time and energy to do the other things you want to do when you’re done working? If not, see what changes you can make to maximize your time.
Take Time Off When You Need It
One of the advantages of having a flexible schedule is that you can adjust it when necessary. When you have a family emergency or something else to deal with, take the time off you need. If there’s important work to do, shift it to another day.
Stay Off the Clock
Since you’ve gone to the trouble to make a remote work schedule, make sure you stick to it. When you’re off the clock, don’t do anything work-related. Resist the urge to check email. Turn off notifications. If you want to check email while you’re off work, set a time limit so you don’t get absorbed in work again.
Your remote work schedule gives you control over your work so you can get things done on your own terms and maintain the right work-life balance.