Hybrid workers are the current reality and immediate future of work. They are the bridge from the time when we had no choice but to work remotely, to the new era of blended work environments.
Time management can be one of the biggest challenges faced by digital nomads and hybrid workers, who may have a harder time than many at staying on top of business tasks and responsibilities. In this article I share five tips from my own experience, to help save you time and stay productive as a remote worker or location-independent business owner or worker.
Timebox your tasks
Timeboxing is a technique to limit the amount of time you spend on a task. When you work with a timebox, you set a timer for a specific amount of time. When the timer goes off, it’s time to move on to something else.
For example, if you have an hour block of time and have three tasks to do, set the timer for 20 minutes and then focus on one task until the timer goes off. Then set it for another 20 minutes and focus on another task until the timer goes off again. Then set it for another 10 minutes and focus on the last task until the timer goes off.
You’ll get more done in less time this way because your brain isn’t flooded with too many distractions at once or getting bored with one task before moving on to another one.
Set Up Your Workspace(s) as a Hybrid Worker
If you’re working from home or from an office space, set up your workspace so that you have everything you need within arm’s reach. This includes your laptop, files and other documents, headphones (if you need them), water bottle and more. If there are certain items that you use every day (like a stapler or scissors), put those closer to your desk than others that are used only occasionally (like paper clips). This will help keep everything in its place so that it’s easy for you to find when needed and avoid wasting time looking for misplaced items.
Be Honest About Boundaries
As a hybrid worker, you might still have the same responsibilities at home as other people do. You might have a family who needs your attention and need to be home for certain events throughout the week. Don’t try to push yourself too hard. Take time off when you need it, and let your clients know what those times are so they can make adjustments accordingly.
If you know that you have trouble working without a break, make sure that you schedule one or two breaks during the day when you’ll get up and move around. If you find yourself going through periods where you can’t focus on work and need to get away from your desk, schedule them into your calendar so they don’t sneak up on you. If you need more than one break in a day, don’t feel bad about taking them!
Automate Where You Can
If there is something that you do regularly, like sending invoices or scheduling meetings, automate it wherever possible so that you don’t spend hours doing it manually each week. For example, if you use Slack for communication within your team then set up automatic reminders so that everyone knows when they should check their email or Slack for important messages. If you use Google Apps for Business then set up automatic reminders for upcoming meetings so that no one misses them!
Work Around Your Inflection Points
If you’re not familiar with inflection points, I’ll explain a bit here. Essentially, they refer to times in our day when we have more energy than usual — whether because we just woke up or because it’s lunchtime or because we just finished exercising. These moments are great opportunities to get things done during the day or even take on new projects.
When You Have More Energy Than Usual, Use It To Get Things Done!
The key to making the most of your time as a hybrid worker is to work around your inflection points. There are times in your day when you need to be actively engaged with your work, such as when you are on calls or in meetings.
If you’re working from home, for example, try setting an alarm for 30 minutes before the start of each inflection point so that you can get ready for the call or meeting ahead of time. This way, when it comes time for the call or meeting, you won’t be scrambling around trying to find something to wear or rushing around looking for your notes or computer charger. You’ll be ready to go right away!
Another smart thing to do is schedule out your day so that some tasks are completed before others begin. For example, if there’s a big project due at noon but an important call at 10:00 AM, make sure that at least some of the steps required for completing the project are completed before 9:00 AM so that they don’t distract you during important calls later in the day.
Takeaway: Being a hybrid worker presents new challenges, but you can succeed.
If you have a hybrid role, consider tailoring your schedule to your specific needs. Work at odd hours if that’s the most convenient time for you to get things done. Remember that strong work-life balance is crucial if you want to succeed in both worlds, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if things are feeling too chaotic. Put your full focus on work when you’re on the clock, but also dedicate some time each day where you can recharge your batteries.