My top tip for working at home during the lockdown, to keep motivated if you’re not working at all or you’re between projects. It’s super simple, but only works if you actually do it.
FANFARE. Write a daily to-do list.
It keeps you motivated
If you haven’t got much going on, you can feel good about the things you’ve got done even if those things are just the laundry or the washing up.
It helps you stay grounded
When you’ve got too much to do, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
It helps you get it out
Stick to a list on A4 paper or a spreadsheet (or Trello or post-it), write the date at the top and get all the things out of your head and onto the list.
It helps you prioritise
If what you can manage is the first three things on your list, get them done and reward yourself. Even if you get through just one thing, you’re a winner.
It helps you stay on track
When you get interrupted, don’t stop what you’re doing, to start a new thing. Add the new thing to your to-do list. Get things done, finished and completed.
It helps you remember
Take notes in meetings. Not every single word, just the things you say you’re going to do, the ACTIONS. Jot down what everyone else said they are going to do as well. Send an update via email or slack to recap all the actions. Even if someone else said they would do this.
It gives you a sense of achievement
Most of the time you’ll forget all the things you’ve done this morning, let alone at the beginning of the week or the month. Keep a record of all your lists. Don’t just delete your ‘done’ actions.
I like to keep a day book – a physical A4 book – but some people love to use kanban boards on the wall, with post-it notes, or google docs and spreadsheets. I like to see all the things I’ve done, ticked off in my own handwriting and I can refer back to it easily. I also know I have too much on, if my to do list falls off the end of an A4 page regularly.
It helps you feel satisfaction
If you’re not working, even putting down mundane tasks or exercise helps to keep you from that unsatisfied feeling of emptiness. I also like to write out each day, carrying over the tasks not done from the day before. It also helps you remember what day of the week it is.
WTF is Kanban?
Simply put, it’s a way of keeping track of tasks done on a project. There’s a big list of stuff to do (called a ‘backlog’) for, say, making a website, or constructing a shed. These tasks are broken down by priority, or size, then dished out to the team. The way you keep track of who’s doing what, is by arranging the tasks on a kanban board. It’s a very effective Japanese card system of breaking down tasks into components. There are apps that do this too like Asana and Trello. A lot of people respond well to seeing the production process on a big board on the wall, I first used this system in print production for physical printers and magazines because of hard deadlines.