How To Plan Your Day (COVID-19 Ed.)

A week ago we were in denial that half the country would be working from home. For the first week many were celebrating their freedom while working from home for the first time.

After a week, maybe two; this “work from home” thing for most of people that are used to working in an actual office or in the field are not finding it’s a new struggle. Working from home comes with some disadvantages including;
-changes in culture from your normal work setting
-lack a sense of community
-less reliability
-changes in schedule and daily planning from your normal daily work setting -more easily distracted
-difficulty to manage and maintain accountability

In addition to running the gym and doctor’s office, and now homeschooling my 8 year old at a moments notice; I have worked for the last 2 years mentoring small business owners and entrepreneurs on business principles and growth and retention strategies for their business. Just like most of us, their biggest struggle in not failing to get things done. Often the underlying factor creating problems is poor time management.

That’s the same thing that’ll happen with most people when they are moved by choice or by Coronavirus to work from home.
I think the 2 most practical ways to be more effective working at home are; block schedules and “to do” lists.

1. Block Schedule
Here you set up each day/week in advance and plan your day. You run the day, not the other way around. Some of you that may have meetings pop up at a moment’s notice, or work internationally(time zone difficulties) may need to work a little extra to get this option set up well.
With the block schedule, you’ll plan the priorities in advance. An example could be;
7a- wake up
7:15-7:45a- shower, morning rituals, etc.
7:45-8:15a- breakfast, reading
8:15-10a- Complete any tasks left from yesterday, work on unreturned emails
10-11a- Exercise
11:30-1p- Work meetings, creative time, etc
1-1:30p- Lunch

You get the gist of it. Create blocks. Some of your scheduled times will be “non negotiable”, meaning that only a family emergency will take you away from what you have planned. You should also include, break time to take a walk outside, meals/snacks, family time and when your workday ends.

2. “To Do” List
This is what I prefer. If you know anything about me, it’s that I have “sticky notes” all over the place. Including using one for my “to do” list for each day. I prefer this way at it allows me some flexibility. The night before, I make a list of what I need “to do”. Some days it’s 3 things, others it’s 9. Everything from meetings, to calls, to a random trip to Target for cat food is on that list. Here’s my secret, each day my list has 1-2 things that MUST get done! If those things get done, and the others don’t, it’s a successful day. Then I move the remaining tasks onto my list for the following day. Each day, I repeat this exercise. Even on the weekends depending on what I need to get done. I’m sure there are apps by now that’ll do the same thing, but I just enjoy the feeling of success after throwing out a little 2×2 “sticky note when it’s completed too much to change.

Whether you’re a veteran at working from home, or just getting used to your new work environment at home in recent weeks, give this a try and let me know which one works best for you!