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How to Start Your Remote Work Day Off Right

Think “Monday morning chaos.”  Think starting the day wondering who has emailed issues to you since you last checked your messages.  Think arriving at your desk with voice mails from two of your project customers already waiting for you.  Headaches, right?  Frustrations?  Commonplace occurrences? And in the face of working from home challenges, this all rings especially true because you’ll have added distractions of the home, personal calls, kids, pets and other noises (wife?). You know what I mean. Let’s consider 5 things to do to get your remote work (or even in office) project management day started off productively, creatively and efficiently each and every day…

Stretch the body and the mind.

Stretch before work.  Not everyone works out early in the morning.  In fact, very few of us do or have time to – or the inclination to.  But you can stretch.  You can sit up straight.  And you can take 5 minutes to clear your mind and leave yesterday’s emails behind.  Think positively and think creatively.  You’re entire day will start better just from this one lone step.

Plan and organize your remote work.

Take a few minutes at the beginning of the workday to look at each project and big task you’re working on.  Familiarize yourself daily in a refreshed and new way on each project and task – even if it’s just 30 seconds spent on each.  Each day may bring a new way of looking at a current issue that has been stumping you and the team.  And this is a chance to take 10 minutes or less and make a plan of attack for your day.  Yesterday is over and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet.  What are you going to get done today?

Clear the desk.

This may sound like a junk step, but it’s really not.  Working amongst chaos can keep you from thinking efficiently and from concentrating effectively.  While working from home ending up with a mess of work and non-work item on your designated work space can be a real problem. Eliminate any horizontal piles of whatever from your desk.  I’m not saying throw it away.  Throw some of it away…and don’t worry if you can’t get through your mess on Day One.  But do finish it off in the first week.  And for what’s left, store it vertically on your desk.  Trust me on this one.  I was directed to try it (by my brilliant and brilliantly organized wife) and it had an enormous affect on my outlook and organizational abilities.  I was prone to leaving messes on my desk at the end of the day.  No more.  Do it vertically – you won’t be sorry.

Send a message to the team.

Take 2-3 minutes and send out an email to the entire team at the beginning of each day.  Tell them what you’re working on and refresh their memories of any upcoming meetings, project deadlines or customer contacts that need to be made.  I can almost guarantee you that if your team members are working on multiple projects for multiple project managers, they will remember you the most and your project will be #1 in their mind just from this one simple act. Remember, they are probably working from home too, depending on where they are located so they are facing the same challenges you are.

Attack the priorities first.

People like to talk about how good they are at multi-tasking.  I don’t buy it. I think multi-tasking is overrated and important work can fall through the cracks if you do too much of it.  Attack the top priorities first and move down the list.  And look for big priorities that can be attacked and closed out quickly.  They should be high on today’s to-do list.

Summary – Remote Work

How you start can set the tone going forward.  Whether it’s getting the project started right from kickoff or starting your project management day properly so you can have a very productive day.  Forget yesterday and the past.  Learn from it, but put failures away and remember…as I always say, “You’re only as successful as your last customer thinks you are…”  You don’t have time to rest on past successes…succeed again today.

How about our readers?  What secrets do you have for starting a productive remote work day of managing or working on challenging projects and conducting meeting? Share your tips and let’s discuss…