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Studies have proven that those who work remotely get more done, thanks to a lack of impromptu meetings, loud co-workers and being able to work alone, according to Hubstaff.
As a remote entrepreneur myself, I’m always finding new ways to maximize my productivity, allowing me to get my work done with plenty of time to spare. I’m sharing my top three tips below for getting more done without putting in extra hours.
Marry your to-do list
There are few things better than a to-do list to keep you on track. To get more done in less time, you have to become a to-do list power user—and no, that doesn’t mean you need to download a special app.
I now use Google Keep, a basic to-do list platform. You can check items off of your list, which is of course one of the most rewarding parts of using a to-do list.
Whether you have a to-do list app of preference or use a traditional pen and paper, there’s one thing that can make your process most effective: associate a timeframe with every task.
- Write article for [blank] – 1 hour
- Pitch editors – 2 hours
- Update report and send to team – 1 hour
This gives your day more structure, allowing you to plan better. It also stops you from spending too much time on one task—suddenly you have just one hour left in the day and four tasks outstanding.
Do more: Take your to-do list one step further by ordering it from highest to lowest priority. If something major comes up in the middle of the day, you’ll feel better knowing you got the most important tasks completed already.
Don’t check email in the middle of a task
Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? “Parkinson’s Law demonstrates that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” explains Irina Nica of Hubgets.
Nica continues, “When people are constantly interrupted, they start working faster to compensate for the time lost. Not necessarily better, but faster.”
If you’re a remote worker juggling freelance clients and a variety of side hustles, you know this challenge all too well: you get an email asking for one “small” thing, and before you know it, you’ve lost 45 minutes to this task—and dropped the one you were in the middle of.
This makes it critical to limit how often you check your email while working on a task. It’s especially important when you’re billing clients or logging time with your job based on projects. When you switch, you have to start tracking your time for another client, taking away even more of your time and focus.
Do more: Don’t check your email while in the middle of a task. If you have a hard time not clicking on that tab when you see there’s an email waiting, close out of the window entirely. Few emails are so important that they can’t wait another 30 to 60 minutes. If you do get urgent emails often, and they truly are important, set a timer to check your email every 30 minutes, allowing you to stick with a schedule, rather than dipping in and out of your current task.
Know when to switch tasks
How often are you bored with a task, so you click over to Facebook or Reddit and start scrolling? You look at the clock and see that 10 minutes has gone by and you’re no more interested in the task than you were before. This happens to me all the time and I’ve found there’s one remedy: know when it’s time to switch tasks and plan to return to the current project later.
In many cases, this happens when you’ve been working on something for a long time. You’re losing interest and the brainpower to continue thinking about the same topic or project any longer. Before you know it, you’ve wasted 30 minutes of time and gotten nothing else done.
Do more: Sometimes we all need to step away from a task and return with fresh eyes. Instead of forcing yourself to finish something that your mind is done with, take a five-minute break and start with a new item on your to-do list. You’ll get more done and produce better work at the same time.
We remote workers tend to be more productive than our office counterparts, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to distractions and brain burnout. Use these tips to boost your productivity and get more done in less time every day.