David Meltzer VIP CONTRIBUTOR Co-Founder of Sports 1 Marketing, Speaker, Author and Business Coach – GUEST POST
A large portion of the United States has suddenly found itself working from home and adapting to a new way of life. How can you remain productive while working from your couch or kitchen table? These five strategies can help optimize your time away from the office.
1. Establish a routine.
A stable routine is always helpful, which is why having a habit machine — or system to help you build positive habits — is essential for those who are new to working remotely. Your habit machine will help you add more value to your daily routine.
The first step is a little counterintuitive to some: Lower the bar. Tell yourself, “I’m going to do this a minimum of one minute today, two minutes a day tomorrow.” Set the bar low, but continually raise it to build momentum.
One of the things the habit machine will allow you to do is to save time. Every day, I set a goal or an objective to figure out how I can save four minutes. Four minutes a day is a magical number for me because I know it represents three full days of productivity each year. I know any positive habit I create or any system I implement that saves me just four minutes a day has a compounding effect on my results.
2. Be a student of your calendar.
By far, the biggest change in productivity came for me when I started studying my calendar. This isn’t taking a look at your schedule, there are three things to focus on:
- Study the things you have planned for the day. Look to create efficiencies with your habit machine, as I mentioned above. For example, I have a 5/20 Rule, where I try to schedule five-minute phone calls and keep my in-person meetings to 20 minutes, making it so the people I interact with are ready for our interaction and focused. With a predominance of virtual meetings today, making even a small change like using a 4/19 Rule could allow for more production.
- Study the white space of your calendar. How can you schedule more of those four-minute calls or 19-minute meetings? How can you be more accessible to those who might need you? And don’t forget to ensure you schedule downtime or fun activities, too.
- Study your sleep. It not only is the restorative process, but it enhances your immune system, which is of the utmost importance. You need to build a consistent sleep routine that helps restore not only your physical being but your mental health, as well.
3. Master prioritization.
As you’re studying your calendar, you must institute the “Do It Now” rule. There’s an old saying: “Ask a busy person to do something for you and you’ll be much more likely to get it done.” It goes beyond that, though.
You have to evaluate your tasks by urgency and importance in order to determine priority. You do this by analyzing the actuality of the situation or event in light of your own personal values, not the urgency perceived by others.
If a task is urgent and important, do it now. If you put off doing something that you can do now, it will take you at least double the time to complete it.