Proudly in partnership with our friends at Microsoft
Remember that time you’d wake up, maybe squeeze in some morning exercise, rush to prepare your kids for school, put your makeup on while on the bus and collect your morning coffee as you walked into work?
We can imagine that for most of you, that routine has been kicked to the curb (temporarily!) and we’re creating a new normal working from home. And even if working from home was your normal before COVID-19 hit, we’re sure there’s a few extra humans hanging around the house.
To help you make the most of your days and find a little calm in the chaos, we’ve sourced some of the best productivity hacks from our community. The sort of hacks that’ll have you ticking off almost everything on your to-do list and go, “Well, I achieved a bunch today!”
Set boundaries on your emails
Many people allocate only certain hours of the day they check and respond to emails. The rest of the time? Actioning the points from the emails and working on bigger projects.
As Allana says, “No emails 10am-4pm with an hour morning and afternoon means efficient work time throughout the day and a clear brain without distractions.
Batching up your tasks
By far, this was the most recommended tip and it could be a whole separate article on how everyone approaches their time blocking.
Rebecca uses ‘strategic time blocking’ – “designated days and blocks of time for particular task that fit in the same category.”
Lauren’s the same and also breaks down her tasks by category in her calendar. “Batching tasks – everything in my email and calendar is split into sales, marketing, operations and delivery.
“I try and batch all of my operational tasks, for example over a couple of hours each week so I’m not jumping between tasks all the time.”
Agendas. No questions asked.
Can we all agree that less meetings in our lives equals a better life?
So, this recommendation from Nicole couldn’t have gotten a bigger cheer from us. “Ask for meeting agendas before accepting a meeting request. That way you decide if you need to attend, instead of someone else making the decision for you.”
A good week starts at the end of the week
Planning for the week ahead was a staple in many people’s Sunday afternoons.
Nimarta said, “Start the week with being clear about the top three most important things to accomplish in that week. Predictably other things will come up, however it gives you an anchor for your week of where you should focus your efforts and attention.”
Corinne was on the same page, “Sunday morning coffee (always) and week ahead planning of meals, events, work and commitments. Keeps the head clear for the unplanned things that always pop up and allows time to pause and reflect.”
If you’re not a whole-week-ahead-planner, others suggested to set your goals the night before when you have time to reflect.
“At the end of each day – write down your top three “Big Rocks” (Stephen Covey) for the next day – this way when you sleep you are already focussed and ready to go the next morning when you start work,” Sallie-Ann said.
Track where you’re spending your time
Do you ever get to the end of the day and say, “Wait, what did I actually do today?” Yep, us too.
If you’re feeling stuck in that loop, Jeannette suggests having an app or noting where you’re spending your time to help you get into a routine.
“Time Trackers – sounds super boring but being conscious about where you allocate your time is priceless. It maintains focus but also when you get down time it’s at the right time. I even find extra hours in the day now!”
Work out where everything lives
Tiff says, “Spend one day a year planning your filing/folder systems. The average office worker in Australia spends 6 weeks a year looking for information they already have.”
While we can’t verify this research we can definitely attest to looking through folders (whether it’s physical or online!), drawers, and random piles of paper when we could have maybe filed it in the first place…
Work remotely without feeling remote.
With COVID-19 continuing to impact people and countries around the world, teams and schools everywhere are moving to remote work and distance learning. For teams to deliver their best work, each member must feel included, have access to information, and be able to participate in the collaborative process. When you have a place to create and make decisions as a team, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
Microsoft Teams provides this one place for all your team’s conversations, meetings, files, and business applications. Get Teams for free here and learn more here.