Essential Time Management Skills and Strategies
for Remote Work Job-Seekers

See also: Time Management

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly recedes into the rear-view mirror, workers all around the world are resisting business's calls to return to the in-office status quo. And due to persistent labor shortages in many industries — it looks like workers are going to get their way.

That means remote work is going to become a permanent part of the modern work experience. It'll no longer be a perk reserved for high-level executive roles. And employers are going to start looking to hire workers already equipped with the right tools to thrive in an all-remote working environment.

Without a doubt, time management skills are among the most important things that today's job-seekers can add to their repertoire. But time management isn't all about skills. It's also about strategies. To help, here's an overview of time management skills and strategies job-seekers should learn to improve their chances of success in today's hiring environment.

Critical Time Management Skills

When workers used to an office environment make the transition to remote working, they tend to struggle with organizing their workday efficiently. It may be due to a sudden lack of supervision. It may be that they're exposed to more distractions. In any case, the only way for them to solve the problem is to apply a few specific time management skills. They include:

Time Blocking

An important time management skill for remote workers is time blocking. It's a method for dividing one's schedule into task-specified chunks of time, to get more tasks done in a given period. It's remarkably effective because it helps to prevent multitasking, which is a proven strategy for inefficiency.

But it's not as simple as making a task list and doing everything in order. Instead, it's necessary to prioritize all tasks and develop a solid understanding of how long each task takes in a real-world work environment. And by learning how to do it well, remote workers can make their daily schedule efficient without having to rush to get things done.

The Pomodoro Technique

Although using time blocking helps remote workers to gain control of their schedules, it won't help them be more efficient in how they complete their tasks. For that, they need a technique to manage their time within those blocks. And one of the most effective techniques to learn is called the Pomodoro Technique.

It's the brainchild of Francesco Cirillo, who developed it while in university as a means of focusing on his studies. It boils down to breaking up one's work into 25-minute segments, divided by 5-minute breaks. And after four work segments, you're rewarded with a 15-30 minute break. It's a method that helps remote workers avoid fatigue and remain as productive as possible — and there's ample scientific evidence to demonstrate how effective it is.

Task Delegation

The last critical time management skill remote workers must learn is task delegation. And although it's a skill often associated with managing teams, it's one that's essential for remote workers to master. The reason is simple. When working in isolation, it's easy to get overwhelmed with too much work — especially because managers lose visibility into team members' workloads.

The solution is for the team members themselves to learn how to effectively delegate tasks so they can work together toward their shared goals. In a remote work context, this means developing the ability to gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of coworkers. That information can then be used to help teams divvy up work amongst themselves. It's a kind of decentralized management that fits the decentralized nature of a remote work environment, and it's going to become the new normal for remote teams going forward.

Critical Time Management Strategies

Although the skills mentioned above are important for remote workers, they're not all that's needed for effective time management. There are also some important strategies that remote workers must employ to maintain control of their schedules and avoid burnout. They include:

Understanding Personal Productivity

One of the most important strategies remote workers can use to maximize their time is to understand their own productivity curve. By learning when they tend to be most productive each day, they can orient their schedules to put their most critical tasks during those times. That will help them get their most important work done every day.

According to a study of accumulated project management software data, most people are at their productivity peak between 9 AM and 11 AM each day. But the best way to discover one's personal productivity curve is to track their task completion times for two or more weeks. That should reveal a productivity pattern that points toward their daily productivity peak.

Plan to Eliminate Distractions

Remote workers have far more opportunities to get distracted than they would in an office environment. And that means they need to develop a strategy to avoid distraction and stay focused. For most, it's a good idea to begin with website blocking software. That will help to defeat the lure of internet time-wasters. And it's especially important at a time when the use of remote worker monitoring software is on the rise.

But it's also a good idea to take steps to create a stable and quiet workspace that can mimic the conditions of a traditional office. That includes working in a room with a door you can close, keeping nothing but work-related items in the space, and adhering to a no-chores rule during the workday.

Learn How to Disconnect

Last but not least, the most important remote work time management strategy is to learn how to disconnect from work, and to make it a mandatory part of the day. This is because remote work tends to blur the lines between work life and home life, and can lead to a situation that's detrimental to both. By learning how to disconnect, remote workers will give themselves the ability to restore appropriate boundaries.

The reason this is listed as a strategy is that disconnecting from work requires different approaches depending on the individual. Some people need to physically remove themselves from their workspace. Others can simply throw a blanket over their desk and call it a day. What's important for remote workers is to develop a disconnection strategy that works for them and to integrate it into their day. It's the best way they can avoid burnout — which is a common problem for remote workers.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

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Learn how to set yourself effective personal goals and find the motivation you need to achieve them. This is the essence of personal development, a set of skills designed to help you reach your full potential, at work, in study and in your personal life.

The second edition of or bestselling eBook is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their skills and learning potential, and it is full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

The Bottom Line

As remote work becomes a permanent part of the employment landscape, workers need to be prepared for it. Prospective employers are going to start showing preference to workers with the skills to succeed in a remote work setting. And by learning the time management skills and strategies covered here, job-seekers can be one step ahead of their peers as the hiring environment undergoes this unprecedented shift.

About the Author

Philip Piletic: My primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business, and marketing. I’m a writer, marketing consultant and guest author at several authority websites.