Topic 3 | Managing Your Time

Time is your greatest asset. You need to use your time well to provide the best service you can for your clients. By doing this, you will not only make your clients happy, but you will also build your client’s trust in what you do.

It is crucial in remote work because they do not monitor you as closely. You do not want unnecessary distrust just because you cannot deliver quality tasks on time. After all, when you have happy clients, you can get the goals you want from your career.

But it is not as easy, especially when you are at home. Here are tips for managing your time well.

  1. Set SMART Goals
  2. Create a To-Do List
  3. Understand the Priority Matrix

Find out more about the ways on how you can manage your time in the succeeding topics.



Set SMART Goals

It is common knowledge to set goals during your work period. It helps us to focus more on the things that are urgent and essential for the workweek. But why are you unable to finish your tasks well even if you have goals?

To step it up further, you may need to make your goals SMART! As the acronym suggests, SMART goals can lead you to smarter decisions when you apply them in your life. Your goals should be:


  • Specific – Most unproductive people have very vague goals like “I will finish work today” but not actually pinpointing what those tasks are. More often than not, they finish the day without progressing significantly. That’s why you need your goals to be specific to make the most out of your time. Ask yourself, “What do you want to do exactly?”


  • Measurable – How would you know that you have achieved your goal? How would you assess if you did well? You need your goals to be measurable. If your task is telemarketing, your goal can be the number of calls and closed sales. If it is customer service, your satisfaction ratings can be the criterion. If it is writing, your goal can be the number of words. The point is, you need to put a number on your tasks. It will not only lead you to a productive day, but it can also help you improve for the days to come.


  • Achievable – Many people overestimate what they can do today, and underestimate the things they will achieve by small habitual actions every single day. When you set a goal like “finish writing a 1000-page Novel today” or “call 1000 people today,” it would be overwhelming. How is that even possible? You need to make your goals actionable. You know your strengths and weaknesses, use that in writing your goal. Goals should be just hard enough that it would stretch you out your comfort zone, but not too hard that you are paralyzed by the mere thought of the task. If you are faced with a difficult task, better break it down to smaller subgoals. If you finish these subgoals every day, you are closer to reaching your desired outcome one step at a time.


  • Relevant – There are many tasks that can provide value for our effort. But, our time is limited to be able to finish them all. We must focus on the tasks that are more relevant to our goals. Think about the 80/20 Pareto Principle, 20% of your tasks will give out 80% of the results. Find those tasks as these are the top priority to achieve the goal you have set.


  • Time-Bound –The element of time changes your goal setting drastically. A deadline allows you to see your tasks from a bigger perspective. For example, you are a lead generation specialist. You are tasked to get 100 leads from LinkedIn. If you compare two goals:

A: Get 100 leads from LinkedIn

B: Get 100 leads from LinkedIn in 4 weeks.

Goal B inherently sets you to get 25 leads a week to hit the goal. You will know if you are close or far from the goal before the deadline ends.

For example, by the second week, you just have 20 leads total. You can now brainstorm for other strategies your team can do to hit the deadline by the end of the month.

Remember that goal setting is a purposeful process. Our careers and tasks are ever-changing, and so is our goal. Some of our goals today may be irrelevant tomorrow. The same goes for strategies. What works well in the past may be ineffective today.

Goal setting is a cycle of constant action, evaluation, and readjustment. Always go back to your goals and see if something can be improved further.


Create a To-Do List

A To-Do List boosts your productivity by giving the focus you need. But based on experience, does it really help you? Or is it just a long list of supposed to-dos you can’t seem to finish at all?

We’ve all been there. Lists are helpful. You just need to know how to create an effective to-do list to take advantage. After knowing your SMART goals, here are tips you can follow for a productive to-do list.


Not More Than 10 Tasks a Day

Yes, we can be really busy. But how can you focus on your tasks if you listed more than 10 today? And have you really finished all of them? How would you feel if you get only half of it done and reschedule the tasks most of the time? Frustrating.

We suggest keeping it at 10 most important tasks a day so that you can concentrate well on the things that matter most.



Pareto Principle: Prioritize the 20% of the Tasks that Can Give 80% of the Results

Out of your current list, some of the tasks are highly valued than the rest. Practice the Pareto Principle. 20% of the tasks you have on your list can give 80% of the results.

Mark the top three tasks you need to finish today in order of the results they can give. If, by any chance, that you can’t accomplish all of your to-dos, completing the top three can still give you more productivity than finishing the other 7 less critical tasks.



Group Similar Tasks Together

Sometimes, we have tasks that are similar in nature. For example:

  • Send email to client A
  • Send email to suppliers
  • Send email to sponsors

Instead of doing them at different timeframes, why not cluster it into one task and finish it all? In this way, you can save time and effort because you are just focused on doing essentially the same task.



Breakdown the Large Tasks

There might be tasks in your To-do list that take too long to finish. It feels disheartening when you can’t complete one task, and you have a lot piling up on your list.

It’s best to break it down into subtasks. For a task like “write an ebook,” it can be overwhelming.

You can break it down to bite-size pieces like “research sources that can be used for the ebook.” or “organize topics and sub-topics under chapter 1 of the ebook.”

In this way, you know how near or far you are to completion. This is useful, especially when you have sudden urgent tasks. You can go back and juggle different tasks efficiently because you know your progress.


Set Realistic Deadlines

Lastly, you need to put deadlines. With deadlines, you know how much time you have to work on the project. Alongside breaking down tasks, you can strategize to meet the deadline head-on.

But remember, deadlines should be realistic. You probably can’t finish writing a novel in one day. So set deadlines that are not too far that you would procrastinate, and not too near that it would be impossible to finish.

There you have it! You can now start writing down your to-do list! If you want to go digital, these are some apps you can use:

  • Google Task
  • Microsoft To-Do
  • Todoist




Understand the Priority Matrix

Now that you know how to create a list, the next step is prioritizing the right tasks to finish first. The Priority Matrix is of great help to your endeavors.

The Priority Matrix is known by many names. It’s called the Eisenhower Matrix because the 34th US President Dwight D. Eisenhower has said to invent it. With the tough decisions he has to make every day, he devised this system to segregate tasks by importance and urgency.

It is also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix as seen in Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book.

As you can see, tasks are separated into 4 Quadrants.


Important and Urgent

For example, you have a social media post that should be up by today for the Chinese New Year. You prioritize this task first because it is time-sensitive. It would not make sense to publish 10 days after the holiday.

Other examples would be:

  • Emergency Tasks
  • Critical Issues
  • Project Nearing Deadlines


Important but Not Urgent

For example, planning and strategizing for your quarterly social media themes and materials is important. But there is no looming deadline to catch you if you do not do it.

Be mindful, though. If you neglect important but not urgent tasks, it can evolve to important and urgent tasks in the future.

Other examples would be:

  • Planning
  • Strategizing
  • Research
  • Skills Training


Not Important but Urgent

For example, you got a call from your colleague just to chat. It is urgent because your phone is ringing. You can answer and just politely say you need some work to be done first.

Another is social media messages. If your primary task is to create social media content, if you reply to all the social media messages when they come, you might not have the time to create content.

It is best to delegate the tasks or work around your schedule like “1 hour of answering emails from 1 PM to 2 PM.”



Not Important and Not Urgent

These are tasks that do not add value at all, like browsing your personal social media or checking out the best skincare products. Avoid prioritizing it over the important tasks.

It is best to do these tasks on your downtimes when you do not have the energy anymore to work.


Module Summary

Great! You have completed this module.

You have learned to:

  • shift your mindset to remote work
  • create a routine that will help you adjust to remote work
  • recognize appropriate attire even when working from home
  • set SMART goals
  • create to-do lists
  • understand priority matrix


Explore the other topics to learn how to become a remote working pro! For the meantime, please take time to complete a quick evaluation to help us improve our design and content.