How do you maximise productivity while working remotely?
Last week I was speaking with a client about how to maximise productivity while working remotely. I shared my office set up with him and the way I categorise tasks and resources in different locations.
Keep in mind this was a subconscious thing until now and something I just did!
How does history impact on ways of working?
Thinking about this made me recall vividly, the toy room that my sister and I just adored.
We shared a bedroom, and our parents set up the other bedroom as an amazing toy room, somewhere we could play, let our imaginations run wild and create our own little world with friends. I can still see the room so clearly, a little timber table with bench seats in the centre, a blackboard to the left corner, a shelving unit with all our art supplies to the right and a dolls house to the left. The room was painted lemon with a matching blind that filtered in the sun, making it a magical place to be.
What stands out to me now was how the room was compartmentalised with a location for each activity. If we were drawing or painting we sat at the table, if we were playing with dolls we would scrounge through the chest of dolls near the dollhouse, and if we played schools (guess who the teacher was?) we were always in the corner where the blackboard was. Each task had its place with everything we needed ready to use, create or play within that space.
It worked well and only over the last few years I have realised, I set my day up for success in my home office the same way.
Categorise your key “work” functions
In my practice, if I break it down to the basics, my work goes across 4 key areas:
In my world, I like to do each of those functions in different places, and this has always served me well as far as focus, quality and efficiency. This may not be for everyone but being an alternative thinker, highly creative and super organised, this is the way I roll, and it works for me.
Think and Create
In my practice, I actually cluster my tasks within each week and allocate time to thinking and creating. I block this out and jealously protect this time, as it is such an important element of my thought leadership. “Thinking” for me relates to creating new IP, writing blogs such as this and reading and writing books and articles.
I have an L-shaped desk in my office and allocate the front space to thinking time. From here I have a view of an amazing 60-year old tree and lots of natural light. Here I keep the space totally uncluttered, so I am free to think, I have access to my books in a cubed unit behind this space and also a whiteboard and large notepad. If I’m working from home, I sometimes sit in the courtyard and do this as I find it elevates my thinking. When on the run between clients, I get a lot of thinking done in cafes, and when writing my book, I joined a few libraries and used this space only to write my book.
The other part of thinking for me is around designing workshops based on my IP, and I do this usually on my PC utilising a monitor that is at the centre of my desk.
- Anything else that doesn’t fall into the other areas
I do this at the centre of my desk, and tasks include invoicing, emails, liaising with my Client Services Manager, updating my CRM, managing my diary and so on. This area usually relies on systems, so a lot is done via my trusty laptop.
Tasks I complete here are quite process-driven in nature.
For me, this involves tasks such as:
- Making phone calls
- Updating my sales pipeline
- Liaising with clients over the phone, Zoom or Skype, (unless I see them face-to-face)
I spend a lot of time here designing proposals based on clients' needs. I tend to do this at a separate table in my office, where I sometimes meet clients. I always keep this table clear, and I find in this space I have a clear head, my notes and PC and therefore clear space to focus and be present to my client and my solution for them.
This area for me is usually face to face with my clients. An example could be when delivering workshop or coaching programs or speaking at an event. As of last year, I have started doing a lot of coaching and mentoring virtually, and I do this at the same table as where I do my selling, so I am fully immersed, and at service with whomever I am working.
Maximise your productivity
If you look at how this works, it’s fairly simple.
Categorise your key work functions and resources into different physical locations; this is sometimes referred to as being spatially mobile. My office isn’t large; you don’t need the massive corporate suite or 3 rooms at home to create an office. Find what works for you, change it up until it does and maximise your self-management and focus to achieve your goals and have a bit of fun along the way.
I would love to hear from anyone else doing this and your experiences and tips along the way.
Lead to be limitless…
If this article has resonated with you in any way – I’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch. Being in service to my clients is why I do what I do, and your feedback, insight and any suggestions are always embraced.
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Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker. She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’.
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