Remote work offers many perks. No stuffy suits. No traffic jams. There is no constant hum in a sea of open cubicles. (Heck, no cubicles!) You can have peace and quiet in your own home.
Working from home can be a stressful experience.
Your closet is filled with laundry piles. Your dog is eager to go outside, then come back inside, then go out again, and just needs one more belly rub. Who could resist this face? Just as you hit the zone and the war breaks out in the living room over who gets to play Minecraft again. It’s almost dinnertime and your to-do lists are just as long as they were at 8:00 AM.
Do you sound familiar?
We get it. We get it. That’s why we thought that we would share 5 simple steps that help us stay focussed, day in and out. Here are 5 simple steps to reduce distractions and maximize your time so you can complete all your to-dos like it’s tomorrow.
Step 1: Identify your priorities
Have you ever tried to decide what to do when there are so many things? We’ve all been there.
John Correlli, TeamGantt’s courageous co-founder, recommends starting with daily prioritization. He says, “It’s important that you know what [tasks] are being worked on and why they’re being done. This will allow you to prioritize your days.”
Meredith Reynolds is the Director of Administration. She categorizes her tasks into four priority buckets using a simple time management system she borrowed from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Successful People.1
Priority 1: Urgent, important: A crisis that needs immediate attention or a project that has a tight deadline
Priority 2: Not urgent, but important: Long-term tasks such as process improvement or strategic plan that are important to your business but don’t need to be done immediately.
Priority 3: Urgent, but not essential: Interruptions such as email or Slack notifications which scream at your but don’t rank high in your priority list
Priority 4: Not urgent or important: Classic busy work that is just one step ahead of your next Netflix binge
This allows you to quickly identify the tasks that are most important and those that can wait. You can simply sort each task into a bucket and you’re done! Running in circles is no longer an option!
Step #2: Schedule your day
Remote work has many benefits. There is no one to help you get your work done. You decide how you spend your time. This freedom is enormous!
Do you want to maximize your productivity? Make a plan for each day. There is no right or wrong way.
Kelsey Ingerto, Product Specialist, uses both digital and analog tools to keep her on track. She says, “I like a good, old fashioned paper agenda.” “I plan everything I need to do each morning and keep a running list with both short-term and longer-term to-dos.”
TeamGantt’s online gantt chart software is free and allows you to keep track of daily project tasks and create personal to-do lists in just minutes. It’s easy to sync project activities into Google Calendar, iCal and Outlook, so you always have them at hand.
Step 3: Start with the most difficult task
You can take advantage of your morning cup of joe and put your first energy into your most pressing task. Nathan Gilmore, co-founder of TeamGantt, does this and it makes him more productive.
Nathan says, “I like to get the most important task done first thing in the morning when I’m fresh.” “It gives me momentum and ensures that I get something done that day by spending 2-3 hours focusing on the most important thing of the day.
Imagine how great it will feel to complete a major task before noon. Emails, meetings, or other small tasks can be put off (see Step #2). Make sure the big fish is fried in the hot productivity pan.
Step 4: Hang up the D