I am more diligent about keeping a checklist of things to do and using Outlook Tasks to set reminders. I make sure to take small breaks every few hours to rest my eyes from the computer screen and to stretch my muscles for energy. (In the office there are people interruptions, and I need to walk to the copier!) Most importantly, I don’t let work creep into my off-hours any more than if I were in an office. It’s easy to let work flow into your schedule more when your commute is just down the hall.
—Carol A. Pape, CAE, chief operating officer, Association of Professional Chaplains
In order to be focused and have a sense of accomplishment, I set goals for what I want to achieve each day and in the future, and I take incremental steps to achieve them. In a virtual office environment it is still critical to stay connected with the staff team, leadership and outside world via phone, text, email or webcam to ensure everyone is working in harmony toward the organization’s strategic goals. To stay physically and mentally healthy, it is important to set aside some time for myself each day — to the extent possible — to think, plan, relax or spend with family and friends. In addition, exercising, eating well and maintaining a regular sleep schedule all help keep me productive.
—Mitchell Dvorak, MS, CAE, executive director, International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Being productive while working from home can be challenging when this environment is your normal “escape from work” space. I find it’s very helpful to still have a get-ready-for-work routine. Having a distraction-free space and setting daily goals for yourself help as well. Calling or teleconferencing a team member and hearing their voice can help lift your spirits, reducing feelings of isolation. If business has slowed, this is a great time to reduce stress by finishing any nagging projects.
—Rob Harkey, foundation program coordinator for NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
To stay productive while working at home, I make sure to keep a schedule by getting up at the same time every day, planning my weekly tasks and goals and breaking it down into what needs to be done each week. When I need to really focus and maintain steady work with high attention to detail, I rely on my favorite playlist — Bach’s Cello Suites played by Yo-Yo Ma. It’s also important for me to remember to have healthy snacks on hand to keep my physical and mental energy consistent, so I prep my food for the week on Sunday as much as possible to keep me from eating all the junk in the house!
—Crystal Stone, M.Ed., CAE, PMP, program manager, Bostrom
I write my goals and to-do’s for the day, and I cross them off as I accomplish them. I also set alarms throughout the day as reminders. I allow myself self-care moments like taking a walk or stretching to reboot my mind and body.
—Hazel Oreluk, MA, CADS, director of research, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society