How can I be successful and productive working from home?

How can I be successful and productive working from home?

How can I be successful and productive working from home?

I’ve been working remotely for the past 4 years and have been very successful at it. I’ve compiled some of the strategies that have enabled me to be at my best.

  • Play to strengths and Pivot when you need to- 2 P’s
    • Plan your day to work on tasks when you’re in the best mindset for that task
    • For Me:
      • Writing in the AM (blogs, emails, responding to RFP’s, writing business value cases for IT Solutions)
      • Chatty at lunch (following up on calls)
      • Process oriented in the afternoon (writing SOW’s, documenting sales processes, etc.)
  • Set date deadlines for projects that require more then 3 deliverables to be completed
    • I set deadlines for everything. Too often I see people continuously push things off to deal with the fire in front of them until the task they’ve pushed off has now become a fire.
    • When I have a new opportunity here are the steps I follow:
      • Define the customers timeline.
      • Define all tasks that have to be accomplished.
      • Work backwards to understand from the customers deadline to assign complete dates to all the parts I’m responsible for and everyone else is responsible for.
      • Send out an email recapping the agreed upon dates and put them in your calendar so you can make sure everyone is staking on track.
  • Set a time limit so you don’t get frustrated
    • Assign a time limit for tasks (1 min, 5 min to 1+ hours…), when I hit that time limit I’m either done, I define if information is missing, I ask a co-worker to take a quick look or I realize I need to come back to this later from a different perspective.
    • Don’t let yourself get frustrated
  • Schedule your day in blocks of time
    • When you’re in charge of your calendar you can sometimes find yourself asking yourself what did you get accomplished?
      • Call Block, Marketing Block, Contract Block, Process Block, GitLab Block, etc.
      • I schedule tasks I need to complete on a calendar only I have access to, that way co-workers can still put me on meetings if they need to but I hold myself accountable.
      • If I miss a block because something pops up, I move it to later in the week.
  • Accountability with a safety net
    • Hold yourself accountable but don’t expect to remember everything, write tasks down and make sure they’re tracked.
      • Usually if you forgot something you’ll see that person in the office and it will remind you; at home you don’t have that luxury.
      • I use a combination sources to make up my Safety Net- my pipeline, tickets, email, shared calendar, written task list and personal calendar to stay on top of things so nothing gets dropped.
  • Set boundaries for when work stops
    • Implement a cutoff time for when you stop working.
    • Put a lunch break in your calendar (go outside for a quick walk or grab a bite to eat).
    • Don’t forget your 2pm coffee break if you’re used to it!
  • Proactive communication and transparency
    • In the office it’s easy to visually see if you’ve caught someone at a bad time, it’s not so easy to do remotely.
      • Tips:
        • Is this a busy time for you? (After checking their calendar)
        • Did I catch you at a bad time?
        • What is your preferred method of communication?
        • How do you schedule your day?
    • I give coworkers a heads up if I know something is about to hit,  you don’t know if someone set aside time for a project. They’ll appreciate the heads up and will be more likely to take a break and take a look at your request since they’re expecting it.
    • Everything I’m working on is available to be viewed by those who require access so they are never waiting on me to send them the latest version.
  • Compile questions for efficiency
    • Instead of firing off individual questions, do as much as you can, write down all of your questions and send over your draft and questions for review and work on something else while you’re waiting.
  • Pick up the phone
    • If you’re ever stuck in a messaging loop where you’re not understanding one another, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone!
  • Prioritize- Team before Me
    • I always prioritize deliverables that require involvement from others first, I never want anyone to be waiting on me.
    • Each time I shift into a specific mindset, I go to my list of prioritized tasks and grab the most important task for that mindset and dial in.
    • When I start to feel things waning, instead of forcing a task (unless there is a deadline), I pivot to a better suited task.
  • THE NON UPDATE, UPDATE!– My Favorite
    • People aren’t mind readers. They don’t know if you received their email and have looked at it or haven’t had the chance. Showing someone that you care by taking the time to send off a quick email helps build a partnership.
    • Proactively send updates, “We’re still on schedule to deliver by Thursday”, “I’ve received your email and will be meeting internally to discuss”, “I saw your email but I’m in the middle on a call and I’ll try to get to it today”, and “We’ve met internally and I have all the information I need, working on putting it all together to send over to you.”

Note: I do not have children so I don’t personally have any tips. But I’d love to add them! I do have a dog so I’ve extended her walks, I play a game to tire her out right before a conference call and I’ve gotten her a few dog puzzles to mentally tire her out.

If you have any other suggestions I’d love to hear them!

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