It’s 2020 and everything is not okay. I haven’t left my apartment (except to get groceries or go to the bank) since February, everyone is constantly online 24/7, and there is an ongoing global pandemic.
But, the world is still turning, and work still needs to be done. So here are 4 things that have helped me continue to learn, grow, and get my job done without going insane.
4 Tips for staying productive when the world is on fire
1) Rearrange your schedule
I’ve had to rearrange my schedule countless times since I first starting working remotely. First, I figured out when my most productive hours were and began blocking time then to do deep work. Then, I had to readjust my schedules regularly as I traveled around the world. Today, I am still constantly adjusting my schedule as I work with clients from different timezones.
Be flexible with yourself as you find the right schedule, and forgive yourself for having to shift things around in the process.
As a remote worker, I was already used to being online 24/7. However, I was unprepared for everyone else to suddenly be online 24/7.
Because of that, I had to learn to guard my time like my sleep depends on it (and it does). For my full advice on this, take a look at How to protect your time when you’re always online.
In short, batch your meetings, make them more efficient, and set expectations around when you’ll be available.
3) Prioritize high-return projects
Rank all the items on your plate in terms of urgency, effort, and return.
Urgent tasks should always take priority, whether or not they are high-return. These might include something like fixing a broken link on your website.
However, urgency aside, you have return and effort. Prioritize high-return, and low-effort tasks first, followed by high-return, high-effort tasks.
Here’s what that looks like:
- High return, low effort
- High return, high effort
- Low return, low effort
- Low return, high effort
Some examples are:
- High return, low effort: Optimizing on-page SEO for a high-converting blog.
- High return, high effort: Starting and maintaining an email newsletter.
- Low return, low effort: Installing an image-compressing plugin to WordPress to speed up load times.
- Low return, high effort: Creating an eBook on an untested topic for your audience. You might also call this a “bet,” wherein you try new marketing tactics to see what will stick.
4) Take breaks with small victories
Not every job is going to be big or important enough to put on the scale I mentioned above. Sometimes, there are little, almost imperceptible things that need to get done. These are the quick, you might even say menial, parts of your job.
The nice thing about most of these “grunt work” tasks is they’re easy and usually don’t take much brainpower. Yet, it’s still rewarding to see them crossed off your to-do list.
When I need to take a break from the earth-shaking projects I’m working on, sometimes I switch over to my easier tasks and spend some time whittling my to-do list down.
And hey, there’s only one more month left of 2020 if that helps.