Now that we are all dealing with the arrival of a global pandemic we now find ourselves working from home, many managers are asking themselves just exactly how to go about doing this. Our goal has to be to find a way to stay productive while at the same time remaining healthy and taking care of our personal well-being. What we need to do is to use our manager skills to develop some basic habits that will ensure that working at home does not end up compromising our well-being.
You Need To Let Go Of The Eight-Hour Day
Let’s face it, when you are working in the office much of your eight-hour day is made up of meetings in which you’re mostly listening, in addition to water-cooler chat, collegial conversations and random interruptions. When we are in the office it’s a good day if we can get 4 hours of decent work done.
Now that we are working at home, we can get more done in 4 hours than we’d accomplish in 8 hours at the office. There is a downside to this, if we consistently work more than 4 or 6 hours at a stretch, we can get really burned out and isolated.
What this means for you is that you need to not to get hung up on whether the clock on the wall says 5 p.m.; you workday needs to end when you’ve completed the work that you need to get done. If you reach your limit or get restless before then, you need to take an extended break or go for a walk.
Always Choose Three Things A Day
Since we are going to have to stop using the business day to decide when work starts and ends, you need some other structure that lets you know when you’ve put in a day’s work. We don’t have any manager training that tells us how to deal with this. One way to go about doing this is to pick your top three priorities for each day, and share those three commitments with someone early in the day, via chat or email, this will give you a sense of accountability for what you have to get done.
Yes, you’ll have other emails to address or calls to answer, but those three big things will be the center of your day, and you’ll fit the other stuff in around the edges. At the end of the day, share your accomplishments with someone you’re using as accountability partners. This is almost a work from home team building opportunity. They don’t have to be people you work with; they can be friends who commit to this practice so you all stay sane while working from home. This won’t only help you focus your days, but will give you a sense of community and support for your daily work effort.
Find A New Time-Management System
In order to stay on top of what you are trying to accomplish you need a different way of managing your time and ensuring you’re working at an appropriate pace. Your daily “three things” can be part of that system, but it is also helpful to set up some other structures to help you see where your time goes.
One way to go about doing this is to commit certain days or times to specific tasks or types of tasks. You can create a separate “time theming” calendar inside your calendar app, and use that to plan and visualize which parts of the day or week you’re going to spend on different types of work. The good news is that there are tools that can help you to accomplish this. Take a look at how you’ve used your time, either once a day or once a week, and it will help you find an appropriate pace that preserves both your productivity and your sanity.
What All Of This Means For You
Our lives have dramatically changed as the Covid-19 virus has swept through every part of our lives. Now that most of us have found ourselves working from home, we are dealing with a set of new questions about how we can make this all work out for ourselves.
The first thing that we need to do is to realize that we have to understand that the idea of working a traditional 8-hour day has to be let go. The good news is that we can get more work done at home than we traditionally could get done when we were in the office. However, we have to be careful to make sure that we don’t end up burning out. Our days will start and end at different times than they used to. Since we won’t have the standard times to use to keep track of our progress, we need to start to pick three things that we will get accomplished each day. We need to make sure that others know what our plans for the day are so that we can be held accountable. In order to keep track of what we are getting done, we will need a new time management system. We can pick certain days and times that specific things will be accomplished.
The good news is that we can be just as productive working from home and perhaps even get more done. However, things have to change. We need to realize that the world has changed and we need to be willing to change with it. If we are willing to do things differently, we can make the most of the situation that we now find ourselves in. Do this right and you can emerge from all of this in a better place.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How often do you think that you should talk with people if you are working from home?
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