Working from home sucks!
Even though most people love the freedom that comes from working remotely, it’s never been for me because I’m too easily distracted and struggle with the discipline to work from home. I’ve never really liked it, but for the last month, it’s been my reality as I’ve moved out of my nonprofit role and into speaking and training full time. Since I’ve gotten a jump start on what most people are just now experiencing, I thought I would share with you the lessons I’ve learned that have allowed me to stay productive through quarantine.
Set Up Shop
Working from home means, above all else, blocking out distractions. For me, this meant finding a place to set up shop and work. I had to clean the area of my basement that I had been planning to use as a home office for years but never got around to. My wife works at our kitchen table when she’s home. You may need to use a bedroom, an empty corner or your patio, but make sure wherever you’re choosing to work is away from the television. Netflix will call you, I promise.
Play With Blocks Of Time
The flexibility to work from home makes it easy to be busy all day while accomplishing little. This is why it’s an absolute necessity to make and stick to a schedule. Before opening your computer and jumping into email, take the time to block out time to accomplish the important projects and tasks that make the biggest impact. If you don’t take control of your agenda, I promise you, you will be bouncing between other people’s priorities all day and never get to yours.
Play-Well In Transition
Back when there used to be sports on TV, elite basketball teams earned that title by playing well in the transition from offense to defense, or defense to offense. Throughout the day, we’re going to transition from one block to another and from one task to the next. We must manage those transitions effectively. It’s why I always leave a 15-minute window between my blocks of time. One task might run long, or I might get hot with an idea and not want to leave it. One job might be a real energy suck and I need to walk, stretch and clear my mind before I start something new. Playing well in transition means that you can bring the focus necessary to accomplish the task at hand when you need it. I’ve found it helpful to schedule buffer time and use breaks to stay fresh all day long.
Live Your Life
What we’re all fearing the most right now is the uncertainty of what’s going to happen. We don’t know how long we’ll be stuck at home or what the future holds. That’s why we should take advantage of the time we’ve been given. If we can manage our distractions, use our blocks appropriately and transition well, we might find time to connect with our kids, learn new skills or deep clean something we’ve been neglecting. The only part of this situation we can control is how we view it so I’m choosing to find the opportunity. I hope you’ll join me.