Being productive at work sounds simple – just do the best you can every day. Unfortunately, due to the never-ending demands that are placed upon us and by us, it is much more complicated than it sounds. Now, with our normal routines changing due to COVID-19 and Shelter in Place orders, it is becoming even harder to stay productive during the day. Between complications caused by unfamiliar technology and new distractions with working from home and balancing childcare, it’s hard to stay focused. Our days are filled with a lot of busyness, but not true productivity.
Staying focused and following through on high-impact items takes a solid amount of commitment and accountability – accountability to the owners and partners in your organization, as well as accountability to yourself. Whether you are working from a firm-wide marketing or strategic plan or focusing on your individual clients, possessing a commitment to personal accountability will change the game for you. Here are a few things I have found to be helpful:
Setting achievable targets, like weekly blogging, calling or having virtual meetings with clients, or responding to requests within a day, will help structure your time and create a way to hold yourself accountable, especially now that your normal routine has drastically changed. Set the targets, and measure how you are doing every day. One day you may not hit your target, but you will know to make up for it the next day. This will help to keep you on task.
Another strategy is to have an overall plan. Set measurable targets for those things that have the biggest impact, and then knock them out. Things that have the greatest impact are things that you can uniquely bring to the table. These may include doing high-level technical work for a top client, mentoring staff on tough assignments, or learning more about your prospect’s needs. Or sometimes it can be just as simple as checking in with your team to make sure you are all on the same page. Know how you should best be spending your time to execute your plan, and focus on these things every day.
Pass on the activities that are not making a significant impact. Look for ways to delegate the things that can be delegated. If you feel that others aren’t qualified to take on any of your tasks, train them. Training your team should become one of your high-impact goals, and it is something that you can still achieve virtually, through the use of video calls.
Allow yourself time to process the progress, or lack thereof, that you are making. Take time each week to evaluate what is and isn’t working. Do you need more time for some tasks and more assistance with others? Adjust your plan. This step is especially important now, as most people are learning how to adjust to new routines, work environments, and distractions.
As you adjust to working remotely, it’s important to set up routines and spaces to clearly separate work from the rest of your life. Find a space to dedicate as your work space and separate it as much from the rest of your house or space as possible. Make sure to keep this space free of clutter so you can help eliminate as many distractions as possible. Try to stick to a morning routine to help put your mind in work mode. Get dressed for the day, make your morning coffee, and prepare for work just as you would if you were planning to head into the office. The current change in routine can make it hard to focus, but finding ways to put your mind in work mode will help immensely.
About the Author
Angie serves as President of The Rainmaker Companies. She advanced from her previous position as Director of Consulting, which she held for over ten years. Her role in the firm involves high-level strategy, thought leadership, consulting, and program and curriculum development. She transforms the lives of clients through innovation, goal setting, coaching, training, and accountability development.