If you've never worked from home, you probably imagine a lot of naps, housecleaning, self care time, and daily excursions. If you've worked from home, you know this is all VERY far from the truth and that is takes some MadSkills to be productive day in and day out. Working from home brings a freedom that compares to none but also a beast that has to be tamed. You are no longer governed by internal company structures that provide you systems, work flow, and accountability. Nope, it's all on you.
So here are a few tips to help you set up your remote work life for success:
Rotate the Boards: This may seem a bit rudimentary but adult attention spans, learning styles, and preferences are as vast and wide as children's' and something different may work for each individual. This method has worked wonders for me. At my busiest, I was consulting or running 4 different projects on a daily basis and switching gears throughout the 8-9 hour work day was difficult. I'd get immersed in one project or forget what my daily goal priorities were on another. So I got on Amazon and ordered four 11X17 dry erase boards, put a logo sticker from each company at the top, and literally rotated them in front me per my daily schedule. I'd leave the other three on a shelf behind me (out of sigh, out of mind), close the computer screens for the other projects, and focus in on the project in front of me. I am a very visual learner and do best with visual cues to keep me on track.
Segment and Schedule: If you think a 15 month deployment drags on in slow motion, an 8 hour work day from home will FLY BY like you blinked and made a historical leap in time travel. If you manage more than one contract or consulting gig, make a schedule and stick to it. 9-1130 is dedicated to Project A. 1130 - 230 is dedicated to Project B. 230-430 is dedicated to tying up loose ends and prepping goals and meeting for the next day.
Stack 'Em Up: Chose one day a week to stack meetings. Whether these are sales meetings, business development meetings, or team accountability meetings, try your best and schedule them all in one day. Sounds exhausting but it'll be the best use of your time. It allows you to execute and work in longer uninterrupted intervals of time throughout the week and then focus in on the meetings and clients on your meeting day.
Use what the good Google gave you: If you have only been using your phone's email access, please download the Gmail app. Lifesaver. You can add up to 5 active email accounts to it and quickly toggle between email accounts for checking and responding to emails throughout the day or waiting in carpool pick up lines.
Apps are where it's at: The four apps that fuel the MadSkills team are Trello, Slack, Canva, and Zoom. Trello is an amazing collaborative workspace where you can work in real time with people virtually and organize different "departments" of your company or team work. Great maneuverability of taskings and color coding is always a plus! Slack is a team messaging service. Great for quick correspondence and file sharing for quick reviews. Canva is like Adobe for dummies. If you can't yet hire your dream unicorn creative design team, Canva will be your best friend. Zoom is like the super reliable Skype. (Sorry, Skype.) It's a great video conferencing tool that has great connectivity, host options, recording options, screen sharing, live chat box, and more.
This blog post is inspired by content from the MadSkills '5 Minute Friday' LIVE Facebook series.
You can find the Facebook LIVE version of this blog here.