I attended a work from home huddle yesterday hosted by the Hawks Agency. It is an opportunity for strangers to connect once a week and share wins and challenges. The resounding theme for the challenge was time management. How do I do everything that I need to do to get my work done and manage my family responsibilities?
As a pandemic remote workforce, we living in an experiment, learning together and finding techniques that work best for us as individuals and as teams.
In my ten years of experience with remote work, here are five tips to use your time wisely and increase productivity.
Set your alarm for a fixed wake up time.
As tempting as it might be to hit snooze once or twice, don't do it. Research tells us that a fixed wake time supports our body's internal clock, minimizes insomnia and maintains a healthy cycle of digestion. You pick a fixed wake up time and stick to it.
Find an energizing morning routine.
What gets your mind, body and soul in a healthy place to start the day? Do you prefer to sip a cup of coffee while watching the news in quiet or running a 5k while watching the sun come up? Find your morning pace and the activities that get you moving. Whatever your morning pace and the activity that energizes you, do it. You will start your day centered and ready to tackle find peace in the routine and energy to prepare your body, mind and soul for the day.
Take 10 minutes to review your day.
When do you have meetings? What are your to-dos? What activities do the kids have? You consume the calendar, determine priorities and assign yourself tasks. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to your leader during your daily check-in or mention it on your 5-1-5 daily huddle.
Work in blocks of focused time to eliminate the email drain.
So many distractions like emails, instant messages (IMs) and people can steal your focus and productivity faster than you realize. The X-Y block technique creates boundaries for protected work time and allocated email time. The X represents the number of minutes to focus on a task. The Y represents the number of minutes to focus on emails and IMs. This practice is based off of the whitespace concepts developed by Juliet Funt.
Here is are the steps to achieve a 50-10 block:
Find 60 minutes of open space on your calendar.
Allocate 50 minutes towards the accomplishment of a task.
Exit out of email. Turn your instant message status to 'do not disturb'.
Set your timer and go!
Use the remaining 10 minutes to respond to emails or instant messages.
You can adjust the X and Y to meet the needs of your time slots, your tasks, your work style and/or your work environment. The simple point is that you find focused time to get work done.
Schedule breaks and lunch.
It is important to take a break and walk away from your workspace. A quick walk around the block or a snack with your kids rejuvenates your brain and leads to higher productivity. It is easy to get into the work zone and let time pass by. Pick daily times for breaks and lunch and schedule them on your calendar. It holds you accountable to take them and keeps others from stealing that time from you with a meeting request.
Which tip resonated the most with you? What change can you make tomorrow to better manage your time? Share a comment below on your time management practices for remote work. Your simple idea may be a game changer for someone else.