Archive for the ‘Semi-Commuter’ Category
Working from home gives you great flexibility, but also forces you to create your own systems, processes, and discipline. This can be a challenge for some people, especially because everybody is different. So there’s no one-size-fits-all system you can pull off a shelf and apply to your circumstances.
But this Lifehack checklist 31 Simple Ways to Maximize Efficiency in Your Home Office is a useful starting point. Look through this list and borrow what works for you when setting up your own system.
In this episode, we look at the daily working lives of great artists, writers, philosophers, and other geniuses – and apply them to Out of Office work.
Listen to the episode here:
Collaboration is the key to business success, but if you find yourself wishing for the “good old days” when everybody in your team was based in the same office and your meetings took place in front of a white board, you’ve fallen behind the times. Surprisingly enough, online collaboration is often faster, smoother and more productive than in-person collaboration.
Here are five ways to elevate your team’s collaboration and leverage the advantages of virtual meetings:
- Get the right people on board.
- Include your virtual team members in the team.
- Stop making decisions via email.
- Meet face to face to save time and money.
- Share ideas and insights with other teams.
That’s a summary from a blog post I wrote recently for Citrix, a leader in collaboration technology. For details, read the full post.
Duhigg’s one big idea in the book is that our habits can be broken down into three factors: A cue that triggers the habit, a routine that we subconsciously follow, and a reward that motivates us. He contends that we can’t eliminate a bad habit, but we can change it by inserting a new routine between the cue and the reward. That’s a deceptively simple, but very powerful, idea.
Duhigg also describes the power of “keystone habits”, which can trigger many other habit changes. For example, for many people, getting fitter is a keystone habit, which leads to them adopting other unrelated positive habits as well.
If you’re looking for practical steps to change your habits, jump straight to the Appendix, which is a “how to” of the entire process.
I love that the book is backed by strong scientific research (the references take up a full third of the book). But Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, so his writing is compelling and entertaining rather than dry and academic.
There are lots of productivity tools, and in this episode we share our personal favourites. Everybody is different, so you’ll have to discover what works best for you. But we hope that by seeing what we use, you’ll be able to adapt them for your own productivity needs.
Listen to the episode here:
Links and Resources
- Timer app on phone: Helps implement the Pomodoro Technique for doing work sprints.
- Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome: Better than IE and Safari because they have so many great extensions
- Gmail: Much easier to use than, say, Outlook, because it’s in the Cloud.
- Kindle: Easy to download samples; available across all my devices (via the Kindle app)
- Pocket (formerly Read It Later): Allows you to bookmark interesting content for reading later
- Buffer: Automate/schedule the publication of your tweets, posts and status updates on various social media platforms
- Dropbox: Perfect for sharing files across all devices
- Evernote: Similar to Dropbox, but better for tag, sorting and searching; it can also handle “snippets” better (e.g. photos, infographics, handdrawn notes)
- Google Drive: Started life as Google Docs, a Cloud-based productivity suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slide deck, etc.); now a Cloud-based file storage system
- GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts: Use these for audio/video conferencing. Includes screen sharing, one-click recording, and other useful collaboration features
- Skype: Use SkypeOut to call anybody anywhere; easier and more convenient than a landline
- LastPass: Password manager that has a really useful feature to share passwords securely with others
- Google Calendar / Tasks / Contacts: Google’s Cloud-based calendar, to do list and people list
Mitch Joel, author of the Twist Image blog, has a number of tips for working on the road. These are useful for employees and digital nomads alike. Here’s a summary:
- Always have an extra charger for everything.
- Keep your devices as fully charged at all times as possible.
- Ditch the briefcase, and get a nice looking knapsack or backpack.
- Take all of your cables, chargers, headphones, adapters, USB memory sticks, dongles and more and store them in one bag.
- Save it to the cloud.
- Block out the world with a good pair of in-ear headphones
- Being your own extension cord.
Although most of our discussion here is about working away from a traditional office, we’re also interested in making in-office workplaces more effective. That’s why I enjoyed reading about tangible links between productivity and workspaces.
Heidi Pollard, CEO of UQ Power, a consultancy company to the mining and resources industry, says:
“Environment is a critical factor in successfully building trust, collaboration and communication in a workplace”.
So if you can’t work Out of Office, at least make your in-office workplace the best that it can be
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