Max Productivity For Remote Work
The rise of remote work has given many people the ability to live and work anywhere in the world. According to Apollo Technical, more than 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in the United States. And while working remotely can be hugely beneficial, some people struggle with how to stay productive when working in a remote environment.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed Remote Work Advocate and Keynote Speaker, Mandy Fransz.
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1. Have A Structure In Place
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Mandy shared how she didn’t have a structure in place when she first started working remotely. She found she was less productive when she didn’t have a thought-out structure to her day. There are several ways you can structure your day to maximize productivity.
Consider the following:
- Block schedule – One way you can structure your day is to time block your schedule. For example, during the Souclast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared how she will schedule meetings for a specific block of time. She will schedule four meetings in a row back to back. Then, after the meetings are over, she blocks out a few hours to focus on what she needs to do following the meetings. Time blocks can help you focus and maximize your productivity.
- Timeline – Writing a timeline for yourself can help you structure your day. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Mandy said she writes down a timeline for herself, which prevents her from jumping back and forth between tasks. Jumping back and forth actually hurts productivity. Your timeline could look like this, 8 am – 11 am – meetings, 11 am – 12 pm respond to emails, 12 pm – 1 pm – eat lunch, 1 pm – 3 pm work on XYZ project, 3 pm – 5 pm respond to emails. Timelines will keep you focused and on task.
- Set A Timer – Setting a timer can help you keep a structure to your day. For example, you can set a timer for 25 minutes to work on one specific thing. Then, after the 25 minutes, take a 10-minute break. Don’t allow yourself any distractions during the 25 minutes. This will give you an endpoint, which helps you focus on the task you are trying to complete.
When you have a structure to your day/week, you will be able to block out time to focus on work without jumping around from task to task.
2. Set Boundaries
Working remotely can free you from a long commute which saves you time. However, if you don’t set boundaries, you may find yourself constantly in work mode. And this mode actually decreases your productivity. There are several ways you can set boundaries while working remotely.
Consider the following:
- Plan Breaks – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Mandy said it is so important to plan breaks during the day. This is because giving yourself even 10 minutes between projects can help you refocus and actually increase productivity. For example, if you know you have an early morning meeting, give yourself a break after the meeting to prepare yourself for the rest of the day. Or, if you know you have a very late meeting, consider not starting your day as early as you usually do. Breaks will prevent you from burning out.
- Limit Notifications – Part of setting boundaries is making sure you have time during your day when you aren’t working. Most people have smartphones that may ding when they get an email. These notifications can prevent you from taking time for yourself outside of work. There are several ways to limit notifications. For example, turn off notifications when you are done working for the day. You can also remove your work email from your phone, so it is only accessible on your computer. The more boundaries you set for yourself, the less burnout you will feel.
- Hard Stop – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, a viewer asked about working a lot of overtime hours when working remotely. Unforutnately, many people find themselves working extra hours because their work is always with them. One way to curb this habit is to decide on a hard end to your work day. For example, once you’ve structured your day, you can choose to end all work at 4 pm. Yes, you could work more, but work will always be there. Knowing you have a hard stop time will help you be more productive during your working hours.
Remote work is about working from anywhere at any time, not working all of the time.
3. Plan Ahead
If you want to increase your productivity while working remotely, you need to plan ahead. Planning ahead will help you structure your day/week and keep you focused on what tasks you need to get done and when.
Consider the following:
- Your Week – One way to plan ahead is to look at your week. This means considering everything you already have planned inside and outside of work. For example, if you know you have a personal appointment on Tuesday that will take a few hours, you will want to adjust when you schedule certain meetings and also when you will make up the work time you’ve missed. Looking at your whole week will help you make a strategic plan for each day, maximizing your productivity.
- Einstein Window – During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Mandy talked about her Einstein window. She said her Einstein window is the 2-3 hours of each day she is most productive. The Einstein window is different for each person. For example, if your most productive time is between the hours of 8 am, and 11 am – block these hours off in your calendar for work. Try to schedule meetings around your Einstein window. This will help you plan to be productive. You may feel uncomfortable rescheduling meetings to fit your window; however, it is crucial for you to do so.
- Deadlines/Projects – Planning for productivity includes taking the time to consider what deadlines and projects you have. For example, if you have a project deadline on Friday, you will want to give yourself time during the week to ensure you get it done. This might mean rescheduling a few meetings, or not taking on a new client. When you plan ahead for pending projects and deadlines, you give yourself space to be the most productive.
Planning ahead will help you set yourself up for success when working remotely.
As a remote worker, you need to remain productive. When you have a structure in place, set your boundaries, and plan ahead, you will be able to maximize your productivity.
If you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Mandy’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
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