10 Tactics For Staying Productive In Lockdown
With the second wave of COVID-19 peaking on the cusp of 2021, working from home will most definitely be following us into the new year.
While some companies pledge a commitment to remote working more permanently, others still crave that face to face interaction.
Ultimately, no matter where you work, the most important thing is how you approach it. Productivity can stem from your own attitude and consistent healthy work habits. There are plenty that seem simple but really can enhance your engagement and quality of work.
1. Re-assess recurring meetings
Ask yourself – Are meetings being planned automatically, rather than out of necessity?
These meetings have their place, but in the many cases can be refined for increased effectiveness and efficiency. Are attendees invited as a formality, or will they bring value? Do the meeting have clear agendas and focussed outcomes or are they more of a routine talking shop? Assess if your meetings have value and that all attendees are required and appropriate – if you ask teh question and the answer is no take action and make better use of your time and your colleagues.
2. Figure out focus time
Creativity and new concepts do not arrive when you are in the middle of an email – you need to give yourself time to think.
Everyone should carve out time in their calendars, free from meetings, free from distractions, to focus that allows you to be inspired by innovative, fresh ideas
3. Kick out the constant replies
Don’t let communication eat into your focus time.
Having your, email, or any chat platform, open day to night is an easy way to overload your day with messages.
Plus it does take time and focus to reply to each one, meaning you may loose interest in the task you were doing before the notification came through!
Instead, structure your day into segments and only open these platforms in the allocated times.
4. Don’t underestimate the value of quick 1:1 chats
1:1 conversations can be gold. Maybe you have to wait until you’re both free, but in the long run quick video calls are highly productive – a much more fruitful use of your time than constant back-and-forth messaging.
Two heads are better than one at dynamically delving into a problem, unlike aimless meetings.
5. Throw away email threads
Lengthy internal email threads are boring – don’t make everyone cc-ed in have to scroll through pages of text. Pick up your phone and kill time by turning it into a discussion with the people who matter.
Why would you waste time reading through threads when you can use instant communication channels like Microsoft Teams, Zoom & Google Meet?
6. Sync your systems
While working remotely, save time by connecting all platforms: calendars, Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.
It’s far easier to have one workspace rather than a constant juggle between several tabs.
7. Shorten your meetings
Unless you are brainstorming a critical subject or preparing for something lengthy, long meetings have no place in the workday.
All meetings should have a concise agenda and get straight to the point of discussion. Creative conversations often require little time, and updates on these meetings are far faster via email.
8. Respect and protect each other’s focus time
Distraction is a two-way street – set up boundaries with your colleagues and stick to them, so you are not trespassing into someone else’s flow.
Check your colleague’s availability – (perhaps by their Microsoft Team status for example) and calendar before disturbing them, plan out your problem solving as a team to reduce escalation.
9. Plan your end of day
What time do you plan to finish? Make working overtime the exception, not the rule.
Make an end-of-day routine: closing your laptop, mentally leaving your workspace. Cultivating the right work-life balance is crucial to your wellbeing while working remotely.
Without a commute or physical separation of work and home, we see too many people blurring the boundaries between the two and it’s important not to make this a normality.
10. Catch up with your team and their progress
It’s hard to get a grasp on collaboration and communication when you aren’t in the office every day.
So use data to understand how your team is working and when might be the right time to check in with them on progress, deadlines and goals.