We could all use a little boost in that department, right?
It’s so easy to start the day with a set schedule in our minds. We’ll start the morning by reading and responding to emails with a cup of coffee, move into business calls or Zoom meetings in the late morning before lunch, recap the meetings after lunch, and then transition into a productive afternoon.
But that’s not how it always happens, is it?
Some days seem more like a mad dash from one task to the next, and the only thing that resembles your ideal, productive day is the coffee — lots and lots of coffee.
We totally get it. Sometimes there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Even on days when everything gets completed on time, there’s always one little thought that creeps in as your computer shuts down — Did I forget to do something?
At DotConnect, we’re not just in the business of placing exceptional talent. We’re also in the business of connecting with people and helping them become the best versions of themselves. When there’s an opportunity to share what we’ve learned throughout our years of juggling meetings, emails, clients, and candidates in a remote work environment, we are always happy to oblige.
If you’re looking for a leg-up on productivity, you’ve come to the right place because we’re sharing our favorite strategies and tips for maximizing productivity today!
Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Communication is Key
In the world of Slack chats, Zoom meetings, and virtual everything, clear communication is vital.
Things are different when you work remotely. You can’t get up from your desk, walk over to a coworker’s office, and get updates on the things you have questions about.
Instead, you have to absorb all your information from virtual forms of communication. And while remote work is great for flexibility and convenience, it lacks the convenience of just popping in for updates. That’s why you need to find ways to get over that hurdle.
Over-Communicate As Much As Possible
We know that no one wants to be a nuisance at work, and many of us feel like talking too much is a path down the slippery slope to annoyance. But we’re going to let you in on a secret — it’s more than fine to ask questions and be detailed in your answers!
You want to set yourself up for success at work, and to do that, you need enough information to do your job well. That means you need to communicate with your coworkers effectively, and every Slack message is an opportunity to make sure you’re on the right track.
Instead of just sending a morning greeting to your coworkers, make it count. Tell them good morning, but also ask about updates on the project you’re working on together, let them know what you’ve completed, or keep them in the loop about where you could use some assistance.
Following up on tasks and clearly expressing your needs is critical to achieving at a high level at work — especially when you’re remote.
Get to Know Your Teammates
Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you’re working in a bubble. Online communication might not always be conducive to authentic connection, but it’s all you’ve got when working on a different side of the country from your coworkers.
You shouldn’t always be having “drive-thru conversations” with your colleagues — “Welcome to work, how can I help you? Would you like to upsize your workload to a large today?” Instead, you need to make it a point to have authentic conversations with your co-workers.
While you’re checking in on project updates, look for openings in the conversation to connect personally. Find opportunities to talk about your shared interests and get to know each other so it doesn’t feel like you are constantly having transactional conversations.
The more connected you are, the more productive you will be.
Tip #2: Plan Ahead
You need to plan ahead to level up your productivity.
There’s nothing worse than starting your workday without knowing the direction you’ll be going as you sit down at your desk. The only way to keep yourself from constantly asking, “What am I going to do today?” is to make a proper plan.
Developing a plan to take on tomorrow looks different for everyone. There are a variety of ways that you can set goals that maximize productivity, but the key is finding a system that works best for you. One great place to start is to use the tools you already have.
Use Your Current Resources
If you’re working remotely right now, your company probably uses task management software, which already puts you in a good position to plan ahead. Some of the big names on the market are Asana, Trello, and ClickUp.
We don’t have the time to dissect your workflow management software and tell you the best ways to use it to boost productivity. However, we can tell you that your software can help you plan if you pay attention to it.
One of the easiest traps we fall into while using these apps is that we ignore them. It’s easy to mark every notification as “Read,” continue with your day and never actually take advantage of the great tools you have at your disposal.
Instead of letting your workflow software play a minor role in preparing for the days ahead, let it take center stage in making your plans.
Dedicate Time to Future Prep
You can have the best intentions to create a plan that helps you dominate your workday, but your productivity will fall flat if you don’t take the time to do it.
We get that you’ve got a busy schedule, and working from home doesn’t make it any easier to set aside planning time. If anything, you probably have more distractions that keep you from setting yourself up for success at work. However, you must block out those distractions as your day winds down to prepare for the next day.
Try blocking out a half-hour at the end of every day to set up your next workday. During that time, solely focus on making tomorrow work for you and not the other way around.
Some great things you can do during this time include organizing your calendar to ensure it corroborates with your task management software, writing a to-do list for the next day, or cleaning up your workspace to have a fresh work environment.
It doesn’t matter what setting yourself up for maximum productivity looks like. What matters is setting aside the time to do it.
Tip #3: Create a Routine
Humans are creatures of habit.
We know you’ve probably heard that phrase a hundred times before, and you’ll probably hear it at least a hundred more. That’s because it’s incredibly accurate. Everyone has built-in habits that frame how we go about our day — even if you’re someone who loves to embrace change and go with the flow.
When you combine all of your habits, you get the framework for your daily routine. The better your routine, the more productive you will be.
Your Day Starts in the Morning
Take a second to think about how you start your day. Do you wake up, take a mindful moment to think about the day ahead, and mentally prepare for what you need to accomplish?
Or do you roll out of bed after the third round of snoozing your alarm, rush to get dressed, and barely brush your hair in time to make your first meeting of the day?
Morning routines set the tone for the rest of the day, and if you fall behind as the day starts, your productivity will reflect that. So, wake up with that first alarm. Block off some time for mindfulness, and set yourself up for success for the rest of the day.
Keep the Routine Going During the Workday
Building a solid routine shouldn’t stop when your workday begins — especially when you’re working from home. You need to find ways to drown out all the distractions of remote work and stick to a set schedule to boost your productivity.
Remember that setting a schedule isn’t just about laying out the things you need to accomplish during your workday. You also need to schedule opportunities to give your brain a break throughout the day.
Remember when you had a lunch break scheduled into your days at the office? We do. It was a great time to leave your workplace, refuel your body, and let your mind relax in the middle of the day.
Guess what? You still need to do that! It’s easy to walk to the fridge, heat some leftovers, and bring them back to your desk while you’re working from home. But when you do that, you’re not giving yourself enough time to recharge.
If you haven’t nailed down a solid routine at the moment, it’s alright! These things take time.
Start this upcoming week by blocking out when you’re going to work and when you’re going to recharge by taking it easy — then stick to that schedule. You’ll have a great routine and start getting into a productive rhythm in no time!
Tip #4: Prioritize Your Tasks
You’ll only stress yourself out if you make everything a high priority.
It’s vital to determine what tasks need to be completed immediately and which ones can wait for a bit. Being able to rank the priority of your tasks and correctly placing them in your schedule will help you manage stress levels by giving you a clearer view of the big picture!
When you can get used to taking a step back and analyzing your work from an observer’s point of view, you can be productive rather than busy.
How to Determine Priority Level
As you get your ducks in a row and start determining priority levels, you need to consider two things: importance and urgency.
If you’ve got something on your plate that’s both important and urgent, move it to the top of your priority list. Let these tasks take precedence over anything else on your list and finish them first. Then move on to things that are important but not as urgent.
After you’ve identified your important tasks, start to look at the ones where urgency is the primary factor. Jobs that need to be done immediately but aren’t specifically something you need to complete should be delegated to someone else. And if it isn’t urgent or important, just remove it from your to-do list — menial tasks can always be finished in your free time.
Use Time Blocks to Boost Efficiency
Now that you’ve determined the priority of your list, you can start blocking off your schedule. Look at each task and estimate how long it will take, then start playing “Schedule Tetris” — tasks with the highest priority and urgency should show up on your schedule first.
We really like to mix it up with times when we’re building our schedules here at Dot. If you have two high-priority tasks that take two hours to complete and one that takes half an hour, you can make a sandwich with the short task to break up the monotony of the day.
Another great strategy is to set a small job first thing in the day, so you feel productive right off the bat!
Tip #5: Schedule Time for Yourself
That’s right. Those time blocks can be utilized for more than just scheduling projects.
Always be sure to give yourself time throughout the day to regroup, stay present, and take care of your mental health. The last thing you want at the end of the day is to feel like you barely made it across the finish line.
It doesn’t matter if you take a little extra time during your lunch break to take a walk to soak in some sunshine, a morning break to disconnect from work for a second and meditate, or plan a mid-afternoon workout. What matters is that you block off time for yourself!
Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you for the time you set aside for yourself. When you honor that you need time to rest, you’ll find that you will be more productive throughout the day.
Choose DotConnect to Help Boost Your Team’s Productivity
Sometimes, your company needs more than productivity tips to be the best version of itself. It’s easy to fall into a situation where your team is understaffed, overworked, or just missing the people you need to achieve at a high level. That’s where DotConnect can help!
Partnering with us can help you increase your company’s productivity by connecting the dots in your hiring process. We’re experienced talent advisors who have helped companies like Beautycounter, Samsung NEXT, and Zendesk build productive teams.
If you’re a business ready to take a human-focused approach to building your team, someone looking for a talent advisory company dedicated to your well-being, or a recruiter interested in joining our team, reach out to us. We have the tools you need to build the right connections and help you grow!