Here are five things which support accelerated work in the virtual space.
1. Helping team members learn to leverage their own work: Help team members become better with prioritization. Embrace tools such as sprints (working in shorter periods), time trackers, task lists, and Learning to Say No. It may also involve identifying collaborative partners.
These tips should be read in line with tips around etiquette and systems in Chapter 7 which balance off the personal and technical side of time management.
2. Circadian rhythms: Know when you are at your best. Also known as the science of time, chronobiology studies the circadian rhythms of a person.
At what time of your day are you at your prime?
When is it important to downshift?
3. Knowing where people are spending their time: For many years I have supported individuals, teams, and groups exploring their time through an activity called the time tracker. It gives people a sense of how much time people really are spending on tasks. Many of us get surprised when we find out where our time actually goes. One of the first steps in time management is getting a sense of where you actually spend your time.
In 15- to 30-minute blocks every day, note down what you are doing. This might include commuting, in meetings, taking the kids to tennis, meals, recreation, strategic work, one-onones with team members, etc. At the end of the week, tally up where your time has been spent.
Questions to consider:
• What do you notice about where your time is being spent?
• Any surprises?
• What’s significant?
• What needs to be changed?
• How does this week differ from other weeks?
• What would be one change you’d like to commit to for the next week? What impact could this have?
There are a number of different ways you can now track your time: old school using paper and pen, as well as apps. If you have a copy of PlanDoTrack or Coaching Business Builder, be sure to work through your trackers in the workbook/planners.
4. Systematize: There are many things we do in any given work day. Some tasks which are fraught with repetition could be automated (think bills), while others we do one way because we always have.
What are the systems which could benefit the team? Areas you can explore which might need attention:
• Planning times
• Meeting times
• Deep work times
• Commute times
• Reporting times
• Times during which you are having to overwork for team meetings and team events
• Email management—what really needs copying in
• Translation times
Check out Chapter 3 of Coaching Business Builder or PlanDoTrack for more on this topic.
5. Getting active, and not always being chained to the desk. It’s commonly asserted in remote work that “sitting is the new smoking.” A sedentary lifestyle can have many impacts.
Regular movement for virtual team members is important. Make things active—our brains flourish when they are hydrated. We need to move as well.
As Thoreau wrote, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
Studies on movement and the brain have seen that walking helps to boost brain connections and boosts memory and attention.
Exposure to nature also has been seen to have a boost, particularly in the first five minutes.
The same article links to many global studies which have found that time spent in nature helps with focus, creativity, and longevity.
Enjoy the flow!
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