be a remote rock star
Find your sweet spot
Considering social changes afoot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked our team of virtual-office veterans what advice they would give to someone new to remote working on six hot topics. Choose a topic below:
Focus is a joy when we can find it. This is one of the many places where working from home can give much more than it takes—you are the master of your space, the only royalty in the room. If you act with purpose and thoughtfulness, you can find focus like never before. Here’s what our team has for you:
Take some time to think about how you work best. What times of day are you most productive? If I don’t have to be up and at an office at 8am, I love working from 4am-7am, then going back to sleep for a few hours. Bottom line is, make the schedule work for you.
Bloomberg just released a study noting that 67% of workers in the EU have never operated from home. While working from home in the US is more prevalent, it is not shocking to find out that we are all being challenged. It’s almost never a team of one operating at home! Most of us parents are also navigating digital learning with our kids right underneath us as well. These are unprecedented times we are living in today.
It’s not just about keeping your sanity as you work remotely, it also about ensuring your kids get the education that they need on a daily basis. Here are 5 things I have found helpful as a working mom:
- Pack lunches, snacks, and water bottles for everyone, including yourself. This is one less added stress you will have to think about as the day wears on.
- Create boundaries and goals—post some rules of engagement for the home. What rooms will everyone work in, what are their goals for the day, what’s the reward for achieving those goals? Yes, you need these too.
- Invest in headphones for yourself and your kids. 4 people on a conference call at one time is a lot of noise.
- Take breaks to go outside. Social distancing doesn’t mean we cannot get fresh air in our lungs.
- Practice getting some silence each morning before the day begins. Center on the things that are important to accomplish and let the rest of it go. You will need to be patient with yourself and others.
With no interruptions, deep focus is very possible. But don’t expect to be able to sustain it all day long. Try to identify the times of day when you are most productive and set those aside for focus. Set aside the other times for meetings and workaday tasks.
If you just can’t focus, step away. Do something else. Or take a brief nap (experts suggest 10–20 minutes). It’s one of the benefits of working remotely and I swear by it.
So chunk your time. Set aside large chunks of time to focus on one particular task. Go all-in. Work to your time limit. And then come up for breath. If necessary, schedule those chunks clearly on your calendar, and if you can, communicate expectations with your co-workers. If you want to be left alone except in case of dire emergencies, tell them!
Also, there are tools that help me with focus. I use an app on my Mac called Self Control when I’m having an especially difficult time focusing. It simply shuts down certain websites (for me it’s Twitter and ESPN) so they don’t work at all for a set period of time. I often find myself, when I hit a lull, just opening Twitter by reflex. But the problem is, once I’m in, I’m usually in for much longer than I want. So—for me—it’s sometimes better to just shut everything down so I can hammer away at a problem.