You begin your remote workday, then the thought of all your tasks comes rushing at you. Working remotely gives you more freedom but it also means you have to manager yourself more. So, knowing what to priorities can become overwhelming.
Using a system that helps you manage your workload will increase your productivity and give you more time to relax. Studies have found that the simple act of creating to-do lists makes it more likely that you’ll accomplish more goals.
Here are some time-tested methods you can adopt:
The Ivy Lee Method
The Ivy Lee Method is named after a pioneer of public relations. Ivy Lee introduced this method to Charles M. Schwab, president of the US’s largest shipbuilders in 1918. After three months, Schwab wrote him a $25,000 ($400,000 today!) for his company’s progress using the method.
Lee advocated simple 4 steps:
- At the end of each workday, write down six tasks to accomplish the next day.
- Priorities them in order of importance.
- Complete the tasks in order of priority.
- If there are any tasks you can’t complete, move them to a new list for the next day.
The Ivy Lee Method works because:
- It’s simple. Complex to-do lists make it difficult to get back on track if you’ve derailed.
- It helps you make decisions. Instead of being overwhelmed, you’ll focus on the most critical tasks at hand.
- It tackles one task at a time. The idea of multitasking sounds productive, but research shows that mastering anything requires consistency and deep focus.
- It helps you get the ball rolling. It’s challenging to decide what your first task should be. Rather than picking the easiest or most urgent, the Ivy Lee method gets you started with the most important task.
The SUG Methodology
You can decide your priority tasks using the SUG (Seriousness, Urgency, Growth) methodology:
- Seriousness: How vital the task is
- Urgency: How urgent the task is
- Growth: Whether the issue will get worse over time
Many of us tackle tasks by easy —we get the more manageable jobs out of the way first before starting on challenging work.
However, it’s much more productive to tackle your workload by priority. You’ll complete essential tasks first, thereby freeing your mind and eliminating stress. Prioritizing is one of the best ways to boost productivity and stay on top of your workload.
Your plans should account for the time you take off. Working from home blurs the boundaries between personal and professional time, which can cause you to overwork.
Working remotely also cuts down opportunities for social interactions. When your social needs aren’t met, you’re more easily frustrated, prone to burning out, and less productive.
In a ground-breaking study, professor Holt-Lunstad found that social isolation can be twice as harmful to people’s physical and emotional well-being as obesity.
Working from home can create feelings of isolation in our lives. In a remote working situation, creating virtual team engagement spaces is vital for social connection. These could involve virtual coffee breaks, movie watches, or group activities on the weekend- such as racing or rowing.
When people start working remotely, they often don’t realize the connection between their motivation and social connection. You’ll be able to manage your time and work much better when you have healthy, affirming interactions with the people around you.
Using the Ivy Lee and SUG methods together lets you do away with a cluttered to-do list and add functionality to project management. You’ll be able to speed through your tasks and get more accomplished.
However, it’s also necessary to take breaks that refresh you and fulfill your need for social connection. This time off can be invaluable in ensuring a healthy remote working routine.