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One of the scariest things about working remotely or learning remotely is that you’re more of your own boss. With no one glancing over at you or engaging with you face to face there are more of those moments when you think to yourself, “what will I do now, then?”
The bigger question is what do you expect to achieve by the end of the week!? There are a couple tools that I use and here are some of the tips that I use to stay on track each week.
Before I even get into the tools I use the most important thing is to get on track early, like Monday, so if you haven’t already written a list of goals then get onto it now!
What can you do?
This is the scary list because if you write down too many things you’ll need to have a rest and a lie down and wonder how you’ll do anything!
For most remote workers this list is filled with tasks from your Work In Progress (or WIP) list and includes finishing proposals, quotes or reports for customers or the boss. Some of your tasks will include small tasks that are part of larger projects and other tasks will be part of your management of other people (if you’re a manager).
It’s important to write this list because you can then cherry pick the tasks that are IMPORTANT.
Narrowing down the to do list
Narrowing your todo list is potentially the most important step you’ll take because it’s when you get to chose those IMPORTANT tasks over the urgent tasks.
A task is often only as urgent as the person asking you to do it but it may be something that can actually wait or completed at the end of the day or next!
It’s important to number your tasks so you know what you’re going to start on and what you’ll do next. Some people work like animals to get through their full list while others realise the importance of getting through the important 20%.
Marking your tasks as completed
It makes sense to mark the tasks you’ve completed so you know what else you need to do, but have you ever wondered what you’ve actually completed at the end of each week?
In the early days of setting daily, weekly and monthly goals I never truly appreciated the value of ticking off the tasks I completed. Sure, you’ve gotten through your tasks but most importantly you realise how much work you do actually do!
When you are just getting through tasks it can seem dull and boring, but when you write them down and tick them off it can look quite impressive – plus you’ll have a record you can put on your invoices if it’s work you do for your clients.
Using technology to set and achieve goals
You can get really fancy with technology that helps you manage your goals and tasks but all you really need is a journal and a pen. It’s a good starting point and you can do it from anywhere at anytime.
Student support requests
When you have to manage a higher volume of tasks or projects specialist software definitely helps. For example EzyLearn uses ZenDesk to manage support requests from students and there can be dozens and even up to hundreds in a day so it would be incredibly confusing to simply use email for this task.
ZenDesk enables first line customer service staff to answer common questions quickly and escalate queries to support admin or accounts if they can’t help solve the problem.
Try it out! Send us a course inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales inquiries for a property
When you speak with 80 different people about a property you’re trying to sell a CRM is critical to keep track of who you spoke to and what you spoke about.
It’s particularly important for large ticket items where potential buyers need to go through several stages before they realise a property is right for them.
This CRM will create your to do list of who to call and what to speak with them about.
Github and software development
One of my most exciting projects in recent years was to build a safety and compliance software called AccessID. It involved speaking with potential customers (C Suite, Site Managers and floor staff), software developers and the marketing people.
We had to manage feature requests, bug fixes, feature launches and customer service requests to manage and we needed a couple different software programs to help us manage it all.
It was such a big change in the software that we changed the name of the brand from AccessID to EzyAccess!
Managing your online study goals and remote working
As you can see from the featured image in this post I still use a journal (although I modified it significantly for the purposes of this blog 😉
When it comes down to manage my broad weekly and monthly goals and those for my key staff I simply use Google Calendar, making sure I send an invite that the recipient is able to edit so they can make changes as the week or month goes along.
For students we created a study timetable that can be edited in either Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel and it’s designed to give you a simple tool to help you manage your time. Most of our students are busy adults, some have kids and some have a full-time job so it’s critical that our courses fit into their busy lives.
Other interesting list management tools
More and more it’s important to demonstrate that you have good data entry skills and knowledge of software programs that help you work remotely from home. Here are a couple other ways that I have managed lists.
- Wunderlist (great for sharing a list with other people where when the tasks are ticked off they disappear from the list for all members) – now owned by Microsoft
- Google Tasks
- Microsoft Outlook Tasks