Time management is a challenge no matter where you work. Whether you work from a home office, a coffee shop, or a traditional office there are millions of little things constantly vying for your attention. Social media, news sites, and other internet distractions are some of the biggest offenders. There are also real-world distractions however, such as coworkers, family, meetings, and phone calls. Without a clear plan of action, staying on task, especially if you work from a virtual office, can be a challenge.
If you’re a virtual office worker it can be particularly difficult to stay on task and be productive. Wasting time can be a big problem when it comes to productivity and success for any business. With so many things competing for your attention it’s a good idea to have a plan of action to make sure that you use your time as efficiently as possible.
Virtual Office Workers Need To Set Clear-Cut Priorities
Prioritizing is an important first step when it comes to staying on task. When you have a visual aid, such as a to-do list of important projects, it’s much easier to avoid distractions. It’s impossible to avoid every distraction though, so if you just have to watch that video of the cute baby laughing that your friend just posted, you’ll be able to get back to your work much quicker if you have a list to keep you focused, and bring you back to the task at hand.
Manage problems as they arise but only allow actual emergencies to derail you from your priorities
You can’t avoid every interruption, but before you allow that urgent phone call or email to interrupt your train of thought take a second to evaluate if it’s something that needs your immediate attention, or if it can wait a few minutes. If you work from home there are a lot of extra things that can seem urgent. Giving your cat her lunch or calling your mother back can wait until your most pressing projects are finished, even if they disagree.
Stay focused in Your Virtual Office
This one may seem like a no-brainer but staying focused can be one of the hardest parts of managing your time wisely. With all of the outside interruptions doing their best to disrupt your momentum the last thing you need is to be interrupting yourself by not staying focused. If you find yourself daydreaming or staring out your window when you should be working then it might be a good idea to try a few tactics to stay focused.
Having your list of priorities handy will help keep you focused but if you’re really struggling maybe try setting a timer for 15-20 minutes and offer yourself a reward once your time is up. Five minutes on social media or a quick walk outside could be just the break you need to come back to your work refreshed and ready to focus again. Just be sure that your “breaks” are not longer than the actual time you’re working.
If you have the option, delegate whenever possible
Assigning projects or tasks to coworkers or those under you can be extremely beneficial to being more productive. If there is a task or a number of tasks that don’t require your unique expertise then it’s a smart idea to give the task to someone else and free up your time for the more important or pressing projects. It may seem uncomfortable at first if you’re used to doing all of the work yourself but delegating can not only help your productivity it can also help with team building, when numerous people can work together towards a common goal.
Don’t let distractions and lack of purpose or goals keep you from being productive. Working from a virtual office can present unique challenges to staying on task but that doesn’t mean you can’t be as productive or even more so than your traditional office-working counterparts. If you make a solid list of priorities, don’t allow your momentum to be derailed by unimportant interruptions, stay focused, and delegate when possible, and you can be sure that your day will be successful and productive, no matter how many interesting posts are on your news feed.