March 16, 2020
This productivity post has been on my list to write for a while! I get asked how I keep all of my client work organized and also receive questions about working out of a home office. Now seems like a good time to get this post out there since we’re all facing some challenging times – more people are working from home, we are practicing “social distancing”, and there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding what everyday life will look like. For me, the one way I am able to feel less anxious and more in control is to establish a routine.
So here are some tips on how to get ahead of feeling out of sorts and letting procrastination set in…
- Wake up earlier than you have to. I have always been a big proponent for mornings and finding your morning routine. It’s the only time of day that you can control so when I get out of bed early, I will stay off my phone, read, write, move my body, and have some quiet time. When you’re trying to increase your overall productivity, take a look at your morning – are you setting the tone of your day?
- Write everything down. Don’t assume you’ll remember it! Keep a scratch pad handy and make notes of things as they pop up – into your head, on your email, over the phone. Reorganize these notes at the end of the day to where you’ll remember to take action on them – whether they go on your weekly task list or into your calendar for date down the road. I use my calendar to remind me of the largest and smallest tasks and it works really well for me.
- Look at your schedule from a monthly and weekly view – what do you have coming up that needs to go on to your weekly to do list? I break down my weekly to do list by business tasks and client events. When I’m making this list, I transfer items from the week before and then check my calendar reminders and add what needs to be taken care of.
- At the start of your day, take care of a few easy/quick tasks and then tackle that one, larger task that you are dreading. Whatever you don’t want to do, do it early in the day. Some people tell you to “eat the frog” first but I find that it helps to build momentum with some simpler tasks first and then eat the frog.
- Reorganize your tasks at the end of each day. Look at what didn’t get accomplished in the day and prioritize those items for the next morning. Re-check your weekly calendar to see what you need to prepare for and where you need to be the next day. Once you take inventory of the day and realize what you need to do the next morning, you can walk away from your desk without feeling like there’s a million things left to do.
- Be flexible with your hours if you don’t need to be active on your computer per company policies. Perhaps you don’t need to force yourself to sit at your desk from 9:00am – 5:00pm. Take a look at your most productive hours – make sure you’re capitalizing on that time. For me, I like to answer emails (after my morning routine) and check off a few tasks early in the morning and then will workout. That means I’m at my desk for the day closer to 10:30 but I had already logged 1-2 hours earlier. If it’s a really nice afternoon, let yourself go out for a walk and you’ll be back at your desk refreshed and more productive. If you want to work later in the evening because you’re in a groove, allow yourself to do that!
- Carve your day into smaller blocks of time. If you have a meeting at 2:00pm, work at a local coffee shop for an hour or two before that meeting starts. Getting out, with a time limit, will increase the amount of work you’re able to get done in that time period. (This might not apply while we’re practicing “social distancing” but hopefully that won’t last forever!)
- Get dressed! So silly, so simple. While I’m not usually one to gets stuck working in my PJ’s, I will get stuck in my workout clothes. Dressed and ready for a workout or walk and then I get sucked in to emails and tasks. All of the sudden hours have passed and I still haven’t gotten in my workout and I’m still in those clothes! Totally kills productivity. So instead, keep your phone away until you’re ready for your workday – then shower, get dressed, and let your body know that it’s time to work.