Time management tips for telecommuters
Highly successful people -- be they inventors, presidents, military leaders, executives, actors, preachers, teachers, or homemakers -- could not have been as successful without knowing how to manage their time. If you already manage your time well, telecommuting will help you manage it even better.
[ 2007-08-08 ]
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If you have some trouble managing your time, telecommuting will either force you to do it better or will be a miserable experience.
If you have taken the time to set realistic goals, and if you establish priorities based on their contribution to your goals, the investment you make in managing your time will pay off handsomely. Give consideration to these 10 tips on managing your time.
1. Keep an active to-do list: As mentioned earlier, update your to-do list at the beginning and at the end of each workday to assure that you bring all the support materials you need home with you.
2. Always be prepared to telecommute: As described earlier, carry a remote work satchel containing tasks and assignments you can work on when at home.
3. Don't waste time in traffic: When you go into the office or schedule appointments, drive during off-peak hours to prevent wasted time. Keep self-improvement, foreign language, or quiet music tapes in the car for those times you cannot avoid traffic.
4. Use mass transit: Another way to prevent wasting time in traffic is to take transit to meetings, events, the airport, and any other place accessible by bus, trolley, ferry, subway, or train. I get some of my most productive reading done when I am on transit, and you could too.
5. Work efficiently: Develop a work pattern that sequences work tasks needing focused attention to avoid doing too many things at once. Keep simple tasks at arm's length to work on when you're waiting for the computer to reboot or a report to print.
6. Pay attention, do it right, and do it once: When discussing plans or taking instructions, especially with your manager, listen carefully and repeat them back to ensure that you understood each other.
7. Stay organized and keep up with filing: Establish a paper and electronic system to prevent wasting time and to find things when you need them. Keep your filing up-to-date.
8. Improve efficiency through technology tools: Look for ways that technology can increase your effectiveness, rather than thwart it. Since uninterrupted time is the telecommuter's nirvana, don't buy a beeper if you don't have to and use a cellphone as an emergency backup only.
9. Set up an automatic follow-up system: If you do not have a contact manager program with a follow-up feature, develop a "follow up" accordion file numbered 1 through 31, placing "things to do" under the appropriate day of the month. Use this system for commitments made by others, for follow-up calls, for proposals and letters, and for general reminders.
10. Be prudent and frugal with your time: Allow enough time between obligations and be prepared to say no to activities outside your priority list.
Excerpt taken from Telecommuting Success: A Practical Guide for Staying in the Loop While Working Away from the Office, by Michael Dziak