Here's my favorite list of effective work habits!
Everyone has their favorite hacks for more effective work habits. I am always reading and testing online lists – some work great, some sound great but really can’t be implemented and some work well at the beginning, but then, well it’s hard to really keep them going.
The following are my tested, tried and true seven favorite effective work habits that really work for the long run and one new work habit that I am still trying out.
These work habits are great if you have a long list of goals and tasks from a long list of clients or you are working alone on your own business goals.
First of all let’s look at projects and goals:
Take each project/goal and divide it into actionable, small tasks and work each one – one-at-a-time.
Work at each task for between 45 minutes to one and a half hours, then take a one hour break. Take a break that will clear your head and allow you to take on the next task.
Schedule your tasks and reminders: I work in Google Calendar and schedule all my tasks as Reminders at hourly intervals – I hear the reminder notification sound on my phone and react (either work on it now or move to later in the day) as needed. I schedule client meetings – skype/live/phone as regular timed Events in my calendar. (Read more about the difference between Reminders and Events here.
Now let’s look at how each work day should be managed:
I want to emphasize how different working at-home is to working in an office. In an office there are a thousand distractions (including senseless, go-nowhere meetings and arguments over the air conditioning - don't get me started!). At home, even throwing in a load of wash and watering the plants cannot equal to the time wasted in an office. I truly, truly believe that an hour of in-home office time is worth three to four hours of true office work time. Always keep this in mind when working the following hacks.
End each day with a TO DO list for the next day. This, by its nature, should include the tasks unfinished or not-yet-begun that were scheduled for this work day. The next morning, prioritize this list along with goals and activities set for this new day.
While working your tasks, try not to look at extraneous emails/texts/messages/whatsapps not directly linked to the task at hand. For me, this means that I will only look at messages from the client whose activities I am currently working on.
Brain dumps – I love this saying! This is a new made-my-life-easy hack: when I think of any idea or action that is unconnected to my task – I record it on my phone with a voice-to-text app and email myself the message – it takes only a few seconds to minutes. This idea/To Do action is then out of my head and on paper and will not be forgotten and I can get back to my original task without worrying.
NEW HACK TO TRY AT HOME. I read about an interesting hack recently: when a task that can be completed in five or ten minutes (only!) presents itself in the middle of some other work, - you should complete it on the spot. While there seems to be merit in this approach, I am not sure if it is suitable for everyone, especially people who are easily distracted. The few times I have tried this approach it has worked and it has helped me close little pesky issues. Try this one at home.
Last item: If you work from your house and work alone, make sure to give yourself true work breaks (for example: do not work in front of your computer or take work calls while you eat) and also take a day out (of the house) and off (no work) at least once a week. Join a networking group (yes, this is work related, but the social side of networking should never be ignored), or any other group or activity that helps keep you social and get your creative juices flowing.
Find what effective work hacks are easy to implement and work for you and make them part of your work routine TODAY! You'll thank yourself for it!
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