Working From Home Like a Boss - Work In Sports Podcast
I let my homebound 11-year-old name this episode, and I think he nailed it. That's what we're talking about in the special edition of the Work In Sports podcast, working from home like a boss!
Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is a special edition of the Work In Sports podcast.
I, like you, am dying for content! I want fresh things to watch and listen to, that don’t involve Tom Brady leaving my beloved Patriots.
I mean seriously, could this be a worse week?
Anyway, the point is, we’re going to add a Friday podcast for the time being -- it may be a timely interview, like last week with Kenneth Shropshire CEO of the Global Sports Institute, or it may be insightful advice that is very specific to the times today.
Today we’re going to share some tips on working from home.
As many of you know, and many of you don’t, I’ve been working from home for the last 6 years. WorkInSports.com is based in Phoenix, I live in Philadelphia. It took me a long time to get comfortable with the change in normalcy, but you don’t have time… you have to get good at it now, so I’m going to share some things I have learned to make your transition easier.
1: You are saving time on your commute -- don’t just add that to your workday.
The biggest mistake I see people make when they work from home is to add the time they saved in commuting onto their workday.
They think to themselves -- I get an hour back each day, I’ll finally be able to get more done!
Trust me, this is not how it works. Take the time you saved by not having to commute and sprinkle it into outside time.
Here’s why -- when you work from home, especially during the transition to this new style, you go from being around people, noise, interaction, laughter, yelling... to being completely by yourself.
It can feel lonely in a way, and the solution is NOT locking yourself in and working longer. This makes you a robot, you are not a robot. In fact, you need to remind yourself you are not a robot, by sprinkling that saved time back into your day.
If you normally commute 30 minutes each way, you have an hour to sprinkle throughout your day to activate your mind in a different way. Every hour or two, take 15 minutes and walk around. Get out of your space, get off your computer screen.
In a normal workday in the office, you don’t sit in front of your computer the whole time. Don’t start thinking you have to now. Trust me there is a negative return after a while… I think they call that the point of diminishing returns?
2: Going deeper there -- Make yourself a schedule.
I spend the first 30 minutes of each day building out my day. I prioritize what I want to get done and schedule it out amongst the video meetings and breaks I want to take.
Every day is different, it’s not routine, there are different challenges and tasks… but by giving myself some structure helps me stay on task.
When you are home there are easy distractions -- other parts of life you can get done -- laundry, cleaning, cooking -- First Take. OK, that’s a lie, First Take is not a temptation. Neither is laundry for that matter, but you can start to see other things you need to do and it can take you away from what you have to do.
During my 30 minute start to each day, I make an A list -- that is my list of things that if I complete today, that is a success. I give myself a picture of what success looks like -- finish these things and you are a success.
Trust me, this little step makes a lot of mental difference. I can close my computer at 5 pm and know, I'M DONE. I’m not staring at it later thinking I could just put in another 30 minutes...which turns into an hour.
3: Your space.
If you can avoid it, don’t let your bedroom be your workspace. I did this for a while and it was awful.
Keep your bedroom a place of relaxation and rejuvenation. Make your workspace… the dining room table, the office if you have it, the basement if it's finished. The further you can place it fro your normal life flow, the better. You almost want it to feel like a separate place.
In my current house, the basement isn’t finished...but in my last house, it was. This was the perfect office because I could go down there, shut the door and feel like I was in a different area.
If you have this luxury take it...if not, just try to keep your office from being your bedroom.
Don’t just sit on the couch and put your laptop on your...well, lap… you need an actual space.
4: Avoid Social Media.
This is my biggest trap since part of my job requires social media. I’ll go on to post something, promote the podcast, share a great new job on twitter...and I’ll see something shiny. A story from the Athletic, a headline on ESPN.com, a twitter trend on Tom Brady.
Next thing you know I’m down the rabbit hole.
To stay productive, I will schedule out my social media time. So if I have some production items… a video, a podcast episode, a graphic build, an article… after I create it, I’ll schedule 30 minutes of social media time and that includes the act of posting my content… and wasting a bit of time.
But I limit it, or else you’ll lose all productivity.
Time is a relative thing. If you spend a ton of time on social, don’t get your work done during normal business hours, don’t hit that “success” plan for yourself… that’s when you see your computer at 7 pm and think “maybe I should do a little more on my to-do list”
When in reality what you should be saying is… save the social media time for the night, get the work done now.
5: This is a controversial one. You hear the advice all the time, get up get dressed as you normally would and treat yourself like you are in a professional workplace.
Unless you have video meetings and have to look presentable -- I say go for comfort. Now, this does not mean stay in your pajamas, that is a huge mistake. Do get changed, brush your teeth, shower...that kind of thing. But I’m jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie guy when I work from home.
Why would you put on a nice shirt and nice pants -- that sounds awful. The benefit of working fro home is that you don’t have to do these things so why would you!
When I have video meetings, I slide on a sweater or a nice shirt… but even that is temporary.
I don’t know, maybe you are the type that feels more productive in a suit or a nicely prepped outfit… I do not. Find your flow with this. Whatever you are most comfortable with.
So, since many of you are going to be working from home for the foreseeable future -- these are a few tips to make you more comfortable, productive and organized.
Trust me, once you do this for a while you’re not going to want to go back to the office.
Thanks for listening everyone -- we’ll keep you updated with tips and advice during this new normal!
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