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10 Tips to Prepare for the Week Ahead as Remote Worker

Search Remotely 10 Tips Plan Work Week

Remote workers and work from home enthusiasts. Do you want tips to prepare for the week ahead? We’ve got your back. When it comes to improving your work/life balance, one of the best things you can do is organize your schedule and plan your time. While it’s great to set up routines, its really important to take a little extra time on the front end to establish specific agendas for how you plan to allocate your time on a daily basis. This not only helps you stay focused and productive at work, but it ensures you have enough personal, social, and self-care time for yourself.

The best way to accomplish this is by spending some time on Sunday to plan your week ahead. It allows you to see what needs to be done and how you can fit in time for both your work and personal obligations.

You are the Boss of your Day

You need to adopt  a boss mentality. Why? Believe it or not, you are the boss of your day. Not every employee who wants the opportunity to work remotely is granted the option to work from home or work from anywhere. As such, you have been entrusted with the task of managing your own time with no physical oversight.  How you manage your time will ultimately determine your success or failure as a remote worker, remote employee or freelancer working remotely or from anywhere. Your ultimate goal for each day is to accomplish as much as possible, as effectively as feasible, and as timely as practicable. 

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List Your Most Important Tasks

Start your schedule for the week by making a list of your most important tasks. These tasks represent the ones that most definitely require your undivided attention. They are the ones that must absolutely get done. Choose no more than 3 of your most important tasks (MITs), and add them to your schedule for each day of the week. If you’d like you can create a two lists. One for work and a personal list related to family matters.

The MITs are tasks you must tackle first; at the beginning of each workday, before  you attempt to do anything else.  In this manner, you know you have your priorities in order and out of the way before you divert your attention to self-care, socializing, and other areas of your personal life that are important to you.

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List Potential Probelms or Challenges

Now that you’ve identified three of your top priorities, you need to  shift your focus. Let’s think about potential problems.  When you reflected upon your prioritied task, did you think about potential pitfalls and challenges? Also, were there roadblocks and barriers hindering your success last week? What challenges do you foresee this week that you need to nip in the bud so that they don’t become fullblown crises?

List Tasks Still in the Pipeline

Sure, as a skilled remote worker or someone who works from home, you are very efficient with your time management. We all are. But is is possible that there exists a few tasks that you attempted last week that are still in the pipeline to be completed? Even though they may not be as urgent, without making a note of them, it is easy to see how they may be overlooked as time passes. So, take the mental discipline to jot down all of the tasks that you started but have not yet finished.

List Secondary Tasks

There may not be a sense of urgency for many of the tasks we need to accomplished within our day-to-day work life. It is really critical therefore, for remote workers to be cognizant of the routine and mundane tasks for which we are paid but add relatively little excitement or drama to our lives. Most often these secondary tasks are just that. They are sub or secondary to the major tasks we have prioritized. Then again, sometimes they are stand alone. Maybe its the things we need to do to make us more efficient like buying a paper shredder or update your printer drivers. They aren’t totally important but when they are not done they can slow your productivity, increase your levels of frustration and make your life miserable.

List of the Tasks you’ve Completed

You are probably asking why? You’ve probably passed the hot potato so it is no longer your concern. Right? Nope. Even though you’ve completed your segment of a multi-functional project; you still need to double check thatwhat you have passed along to your supervisor or colleague  is acceptable.

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Check in with the Recipient

Here are a few guideing questions to ask the recipient of your final work product. 

  1. Was it received?
  2. Do they have any questions?
  3. Are revisions required?
  4. Do they required add on services?

Also, while you passed along your component of the project, you should always double back with the recipient to illicit feedback. This feedback can help you in the future should you seek a promotion, a salary raise, or need a future reference for work elsewhere.

Plan Your Schedule (with flexibility)

Well, we’ve now reached the heart of this article. By now you should have identified the following:

  1. your most important tasks,
  2. potential problems,
  3. tasks still in progress.

The next thing we need to do is plan our schedule. Your daily schedule represents an estimation of how you plan to allocate your time incrementally. It also includes the subtasks related to your job and professional endeavor, as well as your home and personal life. But it really needs to have flexibility, which can be done by making your schedules a little more broad and less structured.

Since you are getting your MITs out of the way first, it will be much easier to have a flexible schedule. You know that outside of those priority tasks, you can be a little more open-minded. If a friend wants to meet for lunch one day, you know to get your tasks done in the morning, and then you can move other things around to be able to meet them.

Schedule in Personal, Self-Care and Family Time

The only way to have a healthy work/life balance is to include enough personal and self-care time. Sometimes remote workers and workers working remotely often forget about taking care of self. If you sometimes neglect your own mental and physical health, you should absolutely block out a section of time on your weekly schedule. In this way you will remind yourself that your personal and self care is a priority.

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In addition to personal and self care, don’t forget about family, date nights,  and entertainment time. For any Type A personalities out there, this is a must. Why? So that you don’t burnout and become disaffected with life or your remote job.  Consider adding personal, self care, and family time to your weekly schedule so you know to make it a priority. Daily is preferred, but if you can only fit it in once a week, then that is a great start.

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Choose one self-care activity that is important to you, and fit it into your weekly schedule. If it helps, aim for a weekend when you know you won’t be bombarded by work. Over time, you will see the benefits of self-care, and be more encouraged to add more of it to your schedule.

Record Weekly Professional and Personal Goals

You can’t get to your ultimate goal if you don’t know what it is. Or if you think you know in a vague sort of way. Writing down your weekly professional and personal goals is a way for you to stay on track.

Remember what we said earlier? You gotta be the boss of your own work life. I

Therefore, we would advocate for you to establish a few small goals you would like to realize for the upcoming week. Remember you only have 7 days to get these done, so don’t set goals that are unrealistic. They must be within your reach and reasonably feasible within one weeks time. It might prove prudent to begin with just one weekly personal goal and one weekly professional goal.

As you think about your bigger, over-arching or visionary goals, know that they will take moe time. As you do so, establish a single task related to your over-arching vision and add it to your weekly schedule. You will get there one step at a time. 

Tidy Up Your Home and Workspaces

Sunday is also a great time to tidy up your living and workspaces in order to be ready for the week ahead. When you wake up in a space that is tidy, your productivity increases, your stress decreases, and you feel ready to tackle your tasks.

This can also prevent you from needing to tidy up as much during the week when you need to be focusing on other things. Remember that sometimes balancing your work and personal life means choosing the best time to focus on each. It’s not always 50/50 just for a good work/life balance.