How To Get Better At Time Management While Working From Home

Remote work time management
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The nature of work has changed. Studies show that today, anywhere between 25-50% of Americans work from home, at least part-time. And while some of this shift is due to AI helping us accomplish more work more efficiently, society is also becoming more conscious of a healthy work-life balance.

Once a place of escape and relaxation, the home has become a primary environment for our professional endeavors. This shift makes it all the more important to manage our time effectively. Work-life balance is essential, but companies want to see productivity remain high so they don’t lose money.

How can you make the most of your time while working from home? In this article, we’ll share 12 tips and techniques to help you boost your time management skills and increase your productivity.

Let’s get started.

Why Is Time Management Important When Working From Home?

Working from home offers unparalleled flexibility and freedom, but without the structure of a traditional office environment, it’s easy to succumb to distractions and procrastination.

Effective time management is vital because it allows you to:

  • Maximize productivity: With better time management, you can increase efficiency and output.
  • Maintain work-life balance: Clear work and personal life boundaries are essential to prevent burnout and ensure overall well-being.
  • Meet deadlines: Proper time management ensures you allocate sufficient time to meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work.
  • Reduce stress: When you control your time, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed or stressed out.

Assessing Your Time Management Skills

Before diving into specific strategies, reflect on your daily routine to improve time management while working from home. Consider where your time goes:

  • Are you spending it on high-priority responsibilities or getting sidetracked by distractions?
  • Are you meeting deadlines consistently, or do you rush to finish things at the last minute?

If you haven’t before, track your time usage this week to gain insights into your habits and efficiency. Analyze your stress levels and consider how they relate to your workload and time management practices. It might also help to solicit feedback from colleagues or supervisors.

There are a few of our 12 tips for better time management that you probably already do well. But no one’s perfect. By understanding your current approach to time management, you can pinpoint which areas need the most attention.

12 Tips To Get Better At Time Management While Working From Home

1. Set specific daily goals

Begin each day by establishing clear, actionable objectives. Tailor these to your professional priorities.

Specificity is critical. Define your goals and break large tasks into smaller, manageable steps. Setting specific goals provides a roadmap for success, guiding your focus and efforts throughout the day. Whether completing a project milestone, reaching a sales target, or mastering a new skill, having tangible goals fuels motivation and enhances productivity.

It may be helpful to use the SMART outline as you create your goals. Make sure they are:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time-based.

Review and adjust your goals to remain relevant and aligned with your objectives.

2. Prioritize company culture

If you are part of a company that prioritizes its culture, you already know that a healthy workspace can be a huge motivating factor.

As an employee, it might feel like you have no control over your workspace culture, but you may find that broaching the subject with your manager or someone else on your team can get the ball rolling.

Here are some ways your team can cross the remote work barriers:

  • Consider using an employee recognition system that rewards employees for their efforts. These rewards can range from company swag that features your company logo to gift cards or lunch with the CEO.
  • Prevent isolation with regular Zoom meetings that do not necessarily focus on work. Your team could stream an event together to catch up.
  • If you are onboarding a new employee, consider introducing them to the team through a quick video call.
  • Create a virtual water cooler. This could be a simple Slack channel created just for casual conversations. You could even use a tool like Mural that allows for asynchronous collaboration.

3. Create a dedicated workspace

Designate a specific area within your home solely for work-related activities. Keep it clear of distractions, choose a comfortable chair, ensure proper lighting, and organize essential tools and materials within arm’s reach.

Setting up a dedicated workspace at home is critical for those in graphic design, web development, computer science, or other technical fields. Your company should provide all the technology you need; if they don’t, ask your supervisor for assistance.

You’re doing yourself a favor by creating physical boundaries between work and leisure — when you’re in your work area, it signals to your brain that it’s time to focus on work. Establishing a dedicated workspace also helps maintain routine and professionalism, even in a remote environment.

4. Establish a routine/schedule

Establishing a daily routine or schedule will help you allocate time effectively and prioritize tasks accordingly. Start by defining working hours that align with your natural rhythms and energy levels, then incorporate regular breaks to recharge and maintain focus throughout the day. Schedule specific blocks of time for checking emails, attending meetings, and tackling projects.

Adhering to a consistent schedule cultivates discipline. As you establish a predictable rhythm, you’ll optimize your productivity and workflow.

5. Be open with your supervisor

Open communication is crucial for remote collaboration and effective time management. Your supervisor and team members should know your work schedule, availability, and daily progress.

Be proactive in seeking clarification on expectations to avoid misunderstandings or delays. Share challenges or obstacles you’re facing and discuss strategies to overcome them. By fostering openness and transparency, you promote trust and accountability within your team.

6. Use productivity apps

Numerous productivity apps can help you manage tasks, track time, and collaborate with colleagues efficiently. Your employer will likely already use or recommend certain apps; if they don’t, look for features like reminders, calendar integration, and collaboration tools.

Here are several apps to consider:

7. Prioritize tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix prioritizes tasks based on urgency and importance. It helps you decide where to invest your time and energy.

To use the matrix, divide your work into four categories:

  • Urgent and important;
  • Important but not urgent;
  • Urgent but not important;
  • Neither urgent nor important.

Here’s an example to make this more concrete. Personal injury attorney Shaked Law has a client who has just been involved in a severe accident requiring immediate legal assistance. Responding to the client’s voicemail would be “urgent and important.”

On the other hand, Winters and Yonker, another personal injury firm, receive a similar call from a client just as they get an emailed report that their SEO is struggling. Working on their Google ranking factor would be “important, but not urgent” in light of their client’s needs.

8. Practice the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management method that breaks work into intervals. These intervals are typically 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks.

Here’s how to use the technique:

  • Start by setting a timer for a single Pomodoro interval. Focus solely on a specific task until the timer rings.
  • After completing that interval, take a short break to rest to help you recharge before starting the next interval.
  • Repeat this process, taking longer breaks after every four intervals.

Experiment with different Pomodoro intervals and adapt the technique to suit your workflow and preferences. Incorporating this technique into your routine can enhance concentration and help you accomplish more in less time.

9. Minimize distractions

You must identify familiar sources of distraction in your work environment — like notifications from social media, interruptions from family members, or environmental noise — and take steps to minimize their impact.

Give the following a try:

  • Use noise-canceling headphones.
  • Use a website blocker to limit distractions during focused work sessions.
  • Establish boundaries with colleagues or family members regarding your availability.
  • Designate specific times for checking emails.
  • Identify specific times to engage in non-work-related activities to prevent distractions.

10. Focus on your strengths

When you work within your strengths, your productivity will increase dramatically. You’ll also feel more energized and excited to work.

Identify your unique strengths and talents and align your responsibilities accordingly. Build your schedule around these activities. If you can, delegate tasks outside your expertise or interests to better-suited colleagues.

Assess your workload every month or every quarter and reprioritize things as necessary. Ensure you’re honest with yourself and your supervisor about areas where additional support or development may be beneficial. In those instances, ask yourself, “Is this something I can delegate? Or do I need to just get through it?”

Work with your supervisor on a path forward in these situations, and take advantage of opportunities to develop and refine your skills.

11. Set good boundaries

Working from home might make boundaries feel irrelevant. But that’s not the case.

Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to maintain balance and prevent burnout. It’s not your manager’s job, or your family’s, to set your availability expectations — it’s yours!

There are several ways to set reasonable boundaries:

  • Communicate your availability and working hours to colleagues, clients, and family members.
  • Designate a specific space in your home for work-related tasks (see #3 above).
  • Turn off your notifications when you are not working.
  • Learn to say no to requests or commitments that conflict with your boundaries and assertively enforce them to protect your well-being.
  • Regularly evaluate and adjust your boundaries to accommodate changes in your workload or personal circumstances.

Setting good boundaries creates a supportive framework for managing your time effectively and maintaining overall health and happiness.

12. Take breaks, move, and have fun

Studies show that sitting for long periods can wreak havoc on your health. Incorporate breaks into your workday to rest and recharge.

Stand up, stretch, and move around periodically to combat the effects of prolonged sitting and improve circulation. Schedule breaks throughout the day to step away from work and engage in activities promoting relaxation and stress relief.

Having fun is also something we can neglect when we work from home because we don’t get to build an in-person community with a team. It’s tempting to think that fun at work is a distraction, but the reality is that in-person teams often have fun when they see each other while on the job.

Here’s an example from the Patel Firm celebrating National Pizza Day:

Tip to get better at time management while working from home: Take breaks, move, and have fun
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The staff at Curiel and Runion, another firm, started a humorous petition to get emotional support animals in the office.

Tip to get better at time management while working from home: Take breaks, move, and have fun
Image Source

Why shouldn’t you have fun working from home, too? Talk with your supervisor to figure out what you can do for fun to keep up your energy and productivity. Is it a once-a-month, in-person lunch with your team? Maybe it’s Zoom hangouts that aren’t work-related?

Whatever you and your team decide, having fun together will benefit your mental health and increase your short- and long-term productivity.

Wrapping It Up

Mastering time management while working from home is essential for maximizing productivity. It also allows you to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Try implementing the twelve strategies outlined in this article to enhance your efficiency, focus, and overall well-being.


This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. Occasionally, we’ll share other people’s ideas about running a remote company. If you have a topic you’d like to pitch for Buildremote, send us an idea here.

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