As the Covid 19 shows no signs of letting up, economies and businesses across the world struggle to cope. Social distancing and Work from Home are no longer just something one reads about – these are the grim realities that are upon us. And we are practicing them. But, as they say in show business – The show must go on. Those who need to step up to the plate, work hard, and deliver results, must. And it is in this scenario that sticking to a work schedule, functioning smoothly and coordinating work-flow becomes a different ballgame altogether. Professionals across the world are coming to terms with the new work order and trying to stay productive while working from during this COVID-19 outbreak.
The New Work Order is a situation where all professionals have to work from home and stay as efficient, or more – as ever. For those used to a formal, structured working environment, the sudden shift to more familiar & homely surroundings can be unsettling. Though every working professional is responding to work demands and struggling to cope. There are few ways that can help to streamline processes and navigate the New Work Order:
Track the time spent on tasks: There are quite a number of goals to accomplish and tasks to finish during the normal working day. In the New Work Order, norms and patterns are still being evolved. You may consider yourself accurate at gauging how much time you are spending on various tasks. However, some research suggests only around 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. A tool like Rescue Time can help by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps. Welcome to the New Work Order
Self imposed deadlines: It takes getting used to. But when WFH scenario is the norm, time-management comes down to oneself. In the New Work Order, some self-driven stress is good – helping you accomplish things. While we usually think of a stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet our goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you are watching the clock. Welcome to the New Work Order
The 2 Minute Rule: Steve Olenski, maverick thinker and Entrepreneur recommends implementing the “two-minute rule” to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is radical, but brutally effective and simple: If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. According to Olenski, completing the task right away actually takes less time than having to get back to it later. Implementing this has made him one of the most influential content strategists online. Welcome to the New Work Order
Get direct: Time is the most precious and irreplaceable resource. Drive efficiencies, remove barriers – especially in the WFH scenario. You are already saving time on meetings, discussions, etc…try and see how things can be resolved with just a weekly report or a single email instead of long-drawn discussions & conference calls over skype or Zoom. Just because technology is there, do not feel obligated to deploy it – Quite a few Processes, red-tape, Meetings etc…drain time from the daily schedule. Most times, we somehow continue to unquestioningly freeze meetings, attend them and, inevitably, complain about them. Research shows that the average office worker spends over 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. In a New Work Order scenario – try closure for things through a direct email, phone-call or web-meeting (if required). Welcome to the New Work Order.
Focus on one Task – Dedicated efforts on a single goal yield fruit. Say no to multi-tasking: While modern day pundits may sing the glories of the ability to multitask and tout it as an important skill for increasing efficiency – the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project. Of course there will be times when there are parallel running agendas and you are required to focus. But it is always possible to do things differently – delegate, prioritize, renegotiate deadlines – focus helps to achieve goals faster. Welcome to the New Work Order.
Quit seeking Perfection: Ever heard of a mirage? It’s also called perfection. Amongst professionals and entrepreneurs, it is common to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task- and all the while, precious time is ticking away! Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, drive your task to the best of your ability and move on. It is always better to complete the task and get it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and fine-tune or improve upon it later. People’s perceptions of perfection may differ and hence do not sweat the small stuff – focus on finishing the task efficiently and most times, that will be good enough. Welcome to the New Work Order
Working Environment: Sitting at your dining table and banging away at a computer…or staring at a screen, hoping inspiration strikes. Sounds familiar? Just a few tweaks can help notch up you productivity and happiness levels. Research shows that changing the work zone with plants, good pictures, candles, flowers – anything that can affect you positively – could be a family photo – can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Remember, what matters is how productive you become. And anything that helps – should be incorporated into your routine. Welcome to the New Work Order.
Swapan Dholakia is a senior Communications and Trade Advocacy professional. His current interest areas are trade diplomacy and leveraging Communications to impact society & audiences at large.