by Stephanie Bickel
Virtual leadership skills require a different approach to team time management and more thoughtful planning. Below are the tips that are resonating most with the people transitioning to virtual arrangements.
1. Prepare for the next day
Make a list of all things that need to be done the night before each day. Cross out the things that you don’t really need to do. Put all things left on the calendar. Schedule rest and family time. Make a list of all communications that need to go out (giving updates, asking for meetings, delegating tasks).
2. Schedule time for the 3 F’s - Focus time, Family time, and Fitness time
Save the morning time for the top 3 priorities that need to be completed. Remove all distractions and obstacles to focus (e.g. put on an out of office note to help you focus, turn off WiFi, shut off smartphone notifications). Below is a sample schedule that can be adjusted to your situation.
● 5:00-6:00 AM –LIVE LIKE A RETIREE (have coffee, read the news)
● 6:00-8:00 AM – FOCUS TIME – Build 1-3 things
● 8:00-10:00 AM – FREE (exercise, help your spouse, partner or children)
● 10:00-12:00 – TEAM SUPPORT (calls, meetings, coaching, reviews)
● 12:00-1:00 – FREE (Move around)
● 1:00-5:00 – CLIENT CALLS
● 5:00-6:00 – PLAN FOR NEXT DAY
● 6:00-9:00 - FREE
3. Prioritize time spent on activities: 60-30-10 Rule
● 60% - Must do
● 30% - Should do
● 10% - Nice to do
4. Set yourself up to have a “good” day
Don’t procrastinate by not doing the hard things. Get them done early in the day! Don’t go through your workday by just reacting to email. Set out a plan each day to build something, so you feel like you are making progress toward your goals (big or small).
5. Set timers on activities
Use the Pomodoro Technique. Choose your task and determine the total time to work on it. Set a timer and work on the task for 25 minutes. Avoid all distractions and urges to multi-task. Take a 5-minute break for energy renewal before starting the next Pomodoro. Take a 20-30 minute break after completing 4 Pomodoros.
6. Plan for reaction time to answer emails
Block 2-3 times throughout the day to check email. Only read each message once and decide what you want to do with it - reply, delete, forward, or archive.
7. Create checklists to monitor productivity
Create checklists to monitor each success. This is crucial at this time to make yourself feel productive. Write everything down. Keep a pen and paper handy or use your smartphone to
8. Make decisions faster
When team members ask questions on decisions that need to be made, quickly decide “yes”, “no” or “hold for now”. The sooner you make a decision, the less time it occupies your mind, and the quicker you are ready to move to a new task.
While we can quickly feel like we are spinning our wheels, setting goals (big and small) can help you stay focused on what you actually need to get done today. Plan ahead and block out time for specific tasks to minimize distractions and the urge to multi-task.
By Planning Effectively and Structuring Time Differently…
…you will come out of each day with a sense of accomplishment,
…and be ready to conquer whatever comes your way tomorrow!
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