By Bridgette Hernandez
Working from the comfort of your home sounds like the best work arrangement. It can be as long as you know how to create a good work schedule. The biggest challenge for remote workers is not falling in the procrastination trap.
The flexibility that comes with working remotely often leads to anxious efforts to do the job at the last minute. However, this shouldn’t and won’t be a problem for you if you stick to your work schedule. The following tips will give you guidance about what you need to do to create a work schedule for increased productivity.
Accept that You Need Discipline
First of all, you need to come in terms with the fact that discipline is good for you. If you are always changing your schedule because you don’t stick to it, there is no point in making one. Rearrange your work schedule only in cases when an unexpected and unavoidable event comes along.
What often happens is that a friend asks you to go get coffee at the beginning of your working hours. You might think “I can change my work schedule, it’s not a big deal.” With that mindset, you’ll find yourself readjusting your life to other people and skipping on your work responsibilities.
It doesn’t matter that you work from home. Your work schedule isn’t less important. Be disciplined and don’t allow tempting propositions to mess up your work plan.
Create a Routine
A routine is good for our system because our brains get used to specific actions. It will be easier for you to start working when your mind already subconsciously expects that. Create a routine that corresponds to your job and stick to it. Through routine, you’ll be more consistent in fulfilling your work obligation. Routine will help you maintain the discipline.
Insight, an educational service partner, listed several reasons why routine and structure are a path to success:
- Reduction of bad habits
- Increasing effectiveness and efficiency
- Negates the need for willpower and motivation
- Structure and momentum
Listen to Your Natural Body Clock
Not everyone is productive at the same time. Some of us are most concentrated in the morning while others experience an energy boost when the sun goes down. Adapt your work schedule to your body and mind.
Don’t force yourself to work at a specific time if you don’t have to. You might read about people who work from 6 a.m. and feel bad – don’t do that to yourself. Watching others can negatively reflect on your productivity.
“One of the benefits of working from home is that you can create your own schedule. While you should try to have a routine, the time of day when you’ll start working depends solely on what works best for you,” said Diana Adjadj, a blogger and editor at Studyker and ClassyEssay.
Don’t Take on More than You Can Handle
Be realistic about your possibilities. You need to differentiate your wishes from your abilities. There is no manager or boss to micro-manage you which is amazing. However, this means that you should take on the role of the manager.
When you get a task, objectively assess how much time you need. Being objective means that you don’t convince yourself how you can do the job fast just because you want to go to movies this week.
The result of taking on too much will be stress and anxiety. Accepting an overwhelming amount of work can also lead to losing clients, decreasing the quality of your work, and dissatisfied coworkers.
Don’t switch to another task just because you received an email this morning. You have to revise the urgency of the requirement first. Accordingly, fit in the task in your existing schedule.
By jumping from one task to another you can easily lose track of your initial goals and priorities. Make a list of priorities within your work schedule. Based on that, you can make adjustments along the way.
Estelle Leotard, a contributing writer at Subjecto and WriteScout, explained why prioritizing is a big part of an effective work schedule, “New tasks can turn into distractions if you don’t follow your list of priorities. Solving the biggest task first can leave you some extra time for enjoyment. Not to mention that you’ll take off the biggest source of pressure.”
Embrace the Help of Digital Technology
One of the benefits of living in the digital era is the availability of tools and apps that can increase your productivity. Creating a work schedule and being consistent in your work habits will be easier when you arm yourself with time-management apps.
Here are a few suggestions of apps that can help you create and manage your work schedule:
- Todoist – Create lists and prioritize tasks
- TimeTree – Set up your work schedule in a digital calendar
- Forest – Stay focused on your work
- Zero Willpower – Eliminate distracting websites and apps
Aim for Work-Life Balance
The downside of working from home is that you can’t leave your workspace. What can happen is that you get so sucked in in your work, that you don’t specifically separate the time for yourself.
Steve Raack shared in Entrepreneur’s article why setting boundaries are the key to establishing work-life balance: “If you don’t set boundaries, you’ll find yourself pulling out your laptop at 7:30 p.m. because someone from work sent you a text that has you say, ‘What the heck, I’ll answer it.’ Then you end up working for 30+ minutes and your family only sees you working from home and not doing anything else.”
Having your office in your home makes it harder to turn off the work-related thoughts. That’s why the work schedule needs to include time for relaxation. Taking breaks, having days off, and not spreading the workload across the whole days are pivotal for work-life balance.
Being the master of your work hours adds on extra responsibilities. There will be no one to blame for lack of time when you are the one who delegates the tasks and creates the work schedule. Following these simple tips will help you create a work schedule that goes in your favor and helps you stay productive.
Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and is planning to publish her own book in the near future. Now she is a content writer at TopEssayWriting. The texts she writes are always informative, based on a qualitative research but nevertheless pleasant to read.