How do you do great work while sitting near the same spot where you watch Netflix? How can you be responsive without losing the focus necessary for getting things done? How can you maintain and grow your network when you spend less time face to face?
The key is to detach yourself from old ways of working and adopt new habits to match your new environment. Long before public health concerns pushed many of us indoors, some of the most successful people fueled their careers with carefully perfected work-from-home routines. Drawing on those profiles and her own insights, productivity expert and mother of five Laura Vanderkam reveals how to turn 'being cooped up' into the ultimate career advantage. Her hacks include:
•Manage by task, not time. Going to an office for 8 hours makes you feel like you've done something, even if you haven't. Remote workers should set 3-5 ambitious goals for each day and consider the work day done when these are crossed off.
•Get the rhythm right. A well-planned day features time for focused work, interactive work, and rejuvenating breaks. In place of a commute, a consciously chosen shut down ritual keeps work from continuing all night.
•Nurture connections. Wise remote workers can build broader and more effective networks than people sitting in the same cubicle five days a week.
Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, a self-starter or someone who prefers detailed directions, you can do your clearest thinking and deepest work at home--and have more energy left over to achieve personal goals or fuel bigger professional ambitions. In fact, soon you might find it hard to imagine working any other way.
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*pops up from behind a rock*
Hi everybody! It's been a while, hasn't it? But I'm trying with this little fic and I would love to hear from you.
The morning had been terrific. There had been no indication that by three she would be crying in boardroom number 4, the table covered in black India ink. No, she had simply turned off the alarm, and she had started her routine of the past thirty years without a single hitch.
When she arrived at the top floor, her assistant had her tea ready in her favourite mug and her meetings all went as smoothly as can be expected in a law firm that specialises in family law. Her lunch was delightful as always when courtesy of Mason's and even her eyeliner stayed on point.
It started when the Form E from her most recent 'project' was a shambles, but she had expected that. Not that it didn't irritate her, but it's not the end of the world; after all: forensic accountants need to eat, too. Added to that, it's not the greatest when some junior partners are discussing that morning's Daily Mail headlines instead of getting ready for their own meetings.
Of course it's not fantastic when an intern steps on your foot when you're going into your meeting with the other senior partners. New shoes and big size thirteens are not a perfect match. They had also run out of her favourite biscuits and she'd been craving one all morning.
So when she was in the meeting she surprised not only herself, but also the other person in the room when she started crying when her pen broke and black ink flowed all over the table, her hand and her top.
When they started their weekly meeting, the boardroom was a model of calm. Just the way Charles prefers his boardrooms to be when he is negotiating a deal or when he is talking to his direct equal: Elsie. He's been working with her for a good twenty-five years and they've seen it all together: the rise in divorce statistics, the novelty of surrogacy and celebrities being plastered all over the media.
In all those years, he's not once seen her cry.
His heart clenches and he rushes to her, putting his hand delicately on her shoulder as she silently weeps. He pulls back and opens the door to call for Elsie's assistant.
'Anna! Anna! We need some paper towels in here!'
Bustling back he finds Elsie still sniffling a little, but calmer. He's always had great respect for the way she's able to hold her own against the greatest of her like this makes him feel oddly uncomfortable. Not because he feels she shouldn't cry, but because he has to use all his willpower to not put his arms around her.
He's not felt that way before. He's a little overwhelmed by the sensation. When Anna comes rushing in with the paper towels and a bucket, he's almost pleased to see her. Dabbing around, he keeps an eye on Elsie. Though she isn't crying anymore, she does look withdrawn and sad. Her makeup is a little smudged and she is sitting very still. He guesses it's because she doesn't want to get the ink to go any further.
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Anna is speaking softly and cleaning up the mess with practiced efficiency. She takes Elsie's hands and wipes them. A stabbing pang of jealousy hits Charles.
He watches as Elsie slowly rises from her seat and walks towards the door, almost dazed. Anna follows her and guides her through the hall and into the ladies'.
Charles picks up Elsie's iPad to take back to her office and is surprised to see the screensaver is a photograph of her and himself at the company New Year's party. She is looking radiant: her eyes are sparkling and her cheeks are a little flushed. He remembers she had been dancing and drinking a bit of champagne. And he is looking at her.
With his adoration for her disguisedly on display.
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He can hardly catch his breath.