Working at home is an exercise in productivity. We’re used to a daily routine, which involves commuting to work. However, many of us have now converted to remote workers. The adjustment can be difficult, especially when breaking those traditional routines. Here are some useful tools for staying on task.
The Almighty pen
Staying on track is easier said than done, especially without a guide. Before starting your day, write down the primary tasks you want to accomplish. This provides a means of holding yourself accountable. Also, scratching out those list items feels so good. For lists to be useful, you have to stick to them. Any items left unfinished for the day should be added to the next. Keep at it, and in a couple of weeks, list-making (and keeping) will become a healthy habit.
If you’re not a big fan of putting pen to paper, or you tend to neglect your list, there are plenty of tools you can use. Our media and marketing department relies heavily on Trello. This is an amazing online application for both individual and collaborative todo lists. Find a process that works best for you. If you’re looking for a starting point, create three boards; “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” Add your items, called cards in Trello, to the appropriate list. As you work on each item, you can drag and drop them between each board.
There are plugins and application connections you can take advantage of. Still, I suggest starting simple and work your way into more complex features, once you are comfortable with using a list daily.
Another great list-making tool is Slack’s remind feature. It’s relatively simple to use. In any chat window, enter “/remind” followed by the list item, and Slackbot will send you a reminder for the given time. For example: “/remind me to take out the trash tomorrow at 6 am”. This will create a list item which will trigger a notification. Once you’ve completed the task, you’ll have the option to mark it as complete.
You can create as many reminders as you want, and then view them by typing “/remind list.” For any tasks that need to be repeated, you can tell Slack to remind you at given intervals: “/remind me to drink water at 3 pm every day.” The same feature can be applied to other people and specific channels. That’s right! Once you’ve mastered your list-building skills, you can impose your lists on others. How fun!
Google Calendar/Wall Calendar
If you prefer a visual aid, using a calendar might be the best approach. Wall calendars work just fine. However, I prefer sticking to digital tools that are available to me, regardless of where I am. Google Calendar fits the bill. I tend to use this for more personal lists and reminders. Still, the feature I appreciate the most is the ability to color-code my calendar by category. This becomes handy when juggling different projects.
Staying on track takes practice. Choose the tool (or tools) that works best for you. Don’t limit yourself to just one! If you’re like me, you’ll find all of the options listed above can play a positive role in keeping your professional and personal life on track.
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