Last January, we wrote, “The stage is perfectly set for 2020 to be the year we finally get serious about making time for what matters and ruthlessly cutting out everything that doesn’t serve our goals.”
Things ended up turning out… differently.
For some, working from home has provided an opportunity to break free from the distractions of a noisy office and constant interruptions from teammates. But for most of us, if our kids, pets, and roommates didn’t distract us, there was a pandemic to think about.
In 2021, how do we get more stuff done while the pandemic lingers, we’re still stuck at home, and everything remains pretty wild in the news?
Here are three, tried-and-true strategies from experts to help make the new year more productive than the last:
1. Take a long, hard look at your calendar
The new year is a perfect time to perform a retro on your recurring meeting schedule.
We recommend a two-step lightweight calendar audit:
- Begin by assigning all your recurring meetings a rating in terms of importance. “1” means it’s absolutely that you attend. “5” means it doesn’t matter whether you’re there.
- Once you’ve rated all your meetings, try declining your “5”s and see how much Focus Time that opens up.
While the lightweight calendar audit shouldn’t take you long, check out our free Calendar Insights tool to audit your calendar even more quickly.
2. Time block your calendar
Once you get a little more wiggle room in your schedule, you have to decide how to use that extra time. One trick that tech leaders and productivity gurus like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Cal Newport use is time blocking. This is when you prioritize your task list, estimate how much time each task will take, and proactively assign blocks of time on your calendar to each task.
Clockwise automatically creates more blocks of Focus Time for your bigger, hairier tasks -- by moving your meetings to more optimal times for you and the attendees. This way, you can devote the appropriate time to tasks that require deep concentration.
3. Create new healthy WFH routines
The new year is a popular time to start trying to get healthy. The key here is to build sustainable routines, rather than burning out and then giving up. Try to find habits that you can stick with all year.
When we looked into how people were disconnecting from work while working remotely, we uncovered three main themes. People are:
- Continuing to “commute” by going on a walk, running errands, or just moving from the bed to the couch to clearly separate work and home environments
- Establishing daily routines and sticking to them to create comfort and stability
- Using daily rituals like putting their laptops away or signing out of Slack to signal to their brains (and colleagues) that the work day has ended
A lightweight calendar audit, time blocking your calendar, and implementing some new work habits are effective strategies for boosting your productivity in 2021. For more tips and advice on productivity and time management check out the rest of the blog and follow us on Twitter. To make sure you never miss a post, subscribe to our weekly newsletter. May you all enjoy a healthy and productive new year.