Have you heard the saying “time is what we want most, but what we use worst”? This is true all around, but it especially applies to people who work remotely or are freelancers. When working in a conventional office, your project manager manages your time. When working on your own, on the other hand, you have to take the responsibility of prioritizing and managing your tasks, a job that proves challenging to most.
In this article, we are going to go over the tested and approved methods of keeping focused and on-task in a coworking space. Of course, the step taken towards investing in a desk in a coworking space is a crucial first step. But there are many distractions around, and one must always be careful not to fall into a trap.
A to-do list is your best friend
That’s right! A good old-fashioned to-do list on a piece of paper usually is capable of putting enough pressure on you to keep you focused on the job. Or you can keep up with the times and use modern tools such as a list on your phone or a cloud-based list on Google.
Whatever tools you pick for your to-do list, you have to keep one point in mind. The more details your list has, the more pressure it exerts on you to do the task. You can add the resources you need for the job, estimate the time it might take to complete the task, and the people you will have to consult during the process. Whatever you need to fulfill the task’s requirements should be on the list.
Invest in an alarm clock
An alarm clock or a timer is another excellent tool for time management in a coworking space. Some people might say that a ticking clock in front of you might cause you to stress out and lose your ability to focus. On the other hand, research shows that a healthy dose of stress is what drives most people to work harder and stay on track for more extended periods.
This alarm clock of yours can be a traditional clock that you put on your desk, or it can be an application on your phone or computer. However, you should be careful not to disturb your coworkers with the constant buzzing of your clock. You should also refrain from checking your phone every five minutes to check the time because this is more likely to cause distractions.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Have you read the book “Eat That Frog”? According to this book, one of the best time management methods is to list your tasks and order them from the most to the least challenging. The key in this matter is to get the more time-consuming tasks out of the way instead of staring at them and stressing about them all day.
With the most challenging task of the day off your shoulders, you can feel more relaxed and do the other tasks with more care and concentration. And of course, the secret to accomplishing complicated tasks is always to break them into smaller steps and do each step in a limited time frame. Using these simple methods, at the end of the day, you will find yourself having worked efficiently all day and checked everything off your to-do list.
Do not go down THAT road
Each of us has one of those roads that take us to hours of wasted time if we are not careful. It might be your Instagram feed, the backlog of unread emails, reading the previous day’s reports, or chatting with your best friend. Each of these takes hours of your time without actually accomplishing anything useful towards your goal of the day.
There is a straightforward fact about our brains. It does everything to escape the tedious and challenging task at hand. Whether it is a report you must finish or a complicated project whose deadline is crawling closer by the hour, when the brain doesn’t want to focus on the task, it starts throwing distractions your way.
As any psychologist might tell you, the first step to a solution is being aware of the problem. In this case, you should know your distraction road very well. Knowing all the tricks your brain has in its pocket can help you avoid falling into them and keep focused on your task. As soon as your hand inches toward your phone, just remind yourself that this is a trick, and you will be safe!
You already have limited working space in a coworking facility, so what’s the point in cluttering it with unnecessary items? If you want to manage your time reasonably in a coworking space, you should eliminate everything that might avert you from your tasks. Just remember that this is not your private office, so you do not need to decorate the place with photos of your family and posters of your favorite teams.
Of course, minimalism does not limit itself to the physical space around you. There are other spaces that you should purge of unneeded items as well. For instance, do you absolutely need all those tabs open on your browser? Do all those shortcuts have to be on your computer’s desktop? Answering these questions might prove that there are many items around you that have the potential to trip you up in your path and prevent you from meeting your deadlines.
Work hard, but also play hard
A coworking space is not just all about working. Setting yourself to work and not getting up until it’s all done has only one result for you: burnout. The key to successfully doing your projects in a coworking space is to work consistently and have regular breaks.
Most experts in the field believe that you should schedule your breaks every 60 to 90 minutes. This apparently is the maximum amount of time your brain is able to work without taking a break or getting distracted. Set the alarm at regular intervals and enjoy the many facilities that your coworking space has put at your disposal.
Get to know you
Are you a morning person or a night person? When is your peak productivity time? When are you most likely to feel tired and listless? Finding the answer to these questions requires a period of trial and error and recording the results carefully.
This information can help you schedule your day more efficiently. How? Set yourself a mental or physical timetable. Do more challenging tasks when you are at your best and leave the more passive ones for the times that your brain tends to wander off more easily.
The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is another excellent way to manage your time in a coworking space. According to this technique, you have to make a list of all the tasks you have to do during the day. Then set your timer at 25-and 5-minute intervals. In this method, you have to work without distractions for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. After four cycles, you are allowed to take a more extended break of 15 to 30 minutes.
Using the Pomodoro technique, you can plan your day carefully and minimize time waste. You can also use the previous technique to time your challenging tasks for the time of day that you are most productive. This technique works best when you have massive projects ahead of you, a kind of project that can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing otherwise.
Do not multitask
Once upon a time, people were proud of their ability to multitask. However, those days are gone, and now we know better. Scientists have proven that there is no such ability in the brain as multitasking. Instead, the brain has the ability to switch between tasks very quickly, giving you the illusion that you are doing both at the same time.
Therefore, the key to time management in a coworking space is to limit yourself to one task at a time and get rid of the belief that you can talk to your coworker and read the report simultaneously. Keep the talking and playing to your break times and read the report with thorough concentration, and you’ll be done in no time.
Keeping yourself focused all the time and meeting deadlines are one of the hardest things you have to do as a remote worker or a resident of a coworking space. With no external force to keep your nose to the grindstone, it is upon you to stay focused and efficient. Hopefully, these techniques will help you gain the self-discipline necessary to succeed in coworking spaces.