Updated: Sep 23, 2021
The Delta variant has thrown me for a loop, I'll be honest. I was so excited to get back to the office. Since that dream has changed in the last few weeks, I've been revisiting my best practices for remote work. How to keep my energy and enthusiasm up when my most tried and true technique, interacting with others, is off the table.
The most important way to thrive as a remote worker is to keep control of your energy boundaries. Being able to thrive at work AND at home is critical as we create new times, spaces, and places for our different lives.
Start with your natural rhythms. Use a tracker and figure out when you’re most focused on solo work or when you’re most ready to chat and brainstorm with colleagues. Look at your calendar with this in mind, you can even go so far as creating a private calendar only you can see mapped against these moods to better schedule your days. Then use this to map out blocks of time where you’d prefer to have deep focus time, meeting time, and personal time.
Practice great meeting hygiene. Meetings are both critical and a huge opportunity to suck the energy out of their participants. Set the default of your calendar to be shorter meetings. Can you get the information you need to get across done in 20 minutes? Aim for the shortest possible. And always use agendas. Short meetings are only possible if everyone comes prepared. This is great in a hybrid workforce, we should all have more time for focused, solo work, where we can prepare for our meetings in advance. And lastly, assign roles. Every meeting needs a chair and a note taker, to make sure you stay on track and end with action items that are clear to everyone.
Fake meetings. Yes, this is a little sneaky. But if you have a meeting that tends to run on and on with endless chit chat, it’s ok to create a fake meeting directly afterwards or even halfway through to be able to confidently say, “I need to go now, let’s get down to business and walk away with the action items or decisions we need from this time together.”
Commute. Block the time out in your calendar and decide how you’re going to end the day. A walk is a great idea, drawing a physical line around the work day. But you can also meditate, debrief the day by writing down some notes and plans for tomorrow, or watch a sneaky episode of tv before starting dinner. Anything to delineate the time.
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