Some believe that working remotely means working 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 get work done?
Most remote workers find it best to set a schedule even if they don’t have to. This helps you maintain balance and get enough work done daily. It also prevents you from working too much. This may be surprising, but many new remote workers 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 you have a productive morning, a long break, and then a few evening hours.
How Much Is Enough?
It isn’t easy 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 you work with. 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 also inform family members and roommates, 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 ensure it’s working the way you want it to. You should take time to reflect and ensure 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 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, 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 to get things done on your terms and maintain the right work-life balance.