In previous articles we’ve championed the benefits of small business owners and freelancers working from coworking spaces to aid productivity and get over the isolation that can be a consequence of remote working. Once you’ve made the leap and tried a space how can you optimise your day and get great work done? In this blog we will run through some practices that you can adopt to help retain focus and prioritise your tasks. This will free up time for you to spend with loved ones, travel and make more of your free time.

Time – blocking

If you struggle to complete jobs during the day and find a spiralling to do list greeting you each morning then blocking time during your day to complete specific tasks could be beneficial. By allocating your day into hourly chunks you can focus on completing one task across a defined period. Through committing a time to each task we make our work day more structured and defined.

The practice is aimed at minimising multi-tasking therefore its beneficial to close down e-mail and social media. By aiming to reduce distractions we can aim to get control back over our day. Not every job will be completed over each block so review your progress and make notes at the end of each day to make it easier to pick up outstanding work at a future date. Successful evaluation of your projects and work week will help you establish your most productive days and times of the week. You can then use this information to allocate future time-blocks more effectively.

Aim to reduce e-mails and calls

Consistent interruptions from incoming calls and e-mails can disrupt ‘deeper’ work during the day. Tim Ferrris (1) recommends batching all correspondence using polite voice mail messages and out of office mail replies. Initially he recommends catching up only twice a day on these tasks during 30 minute windows. By reducing the frequency of these tasks you can respond to important messages in a condensed period and save time on screening and paying attention to non-relevant dialogue.

A similar process should be introduced for social media. If it’s not business critical why not leave it until a later time or break?

Check in with a coworking buddy

Coworkers can add a little more structure to their day by catching up regularly and discussing their current projects. By running through objectives and challenges we can get contrasting perspectives from people who work in a completely different area. The support of others and having the option to set jobs to complete prior to a mid-week catch up can ensure that you are more accountable with your time.

Another option could be to find a virtual coworking buddy. This could be a friend or forum member looking for a collaborative relationship with a fellow business professional. Importantly you need to be consistent with your meetings and communication to maximise this approach. Skype and FaceTime chats are a great means to stay in contact. It’s common to find that verbalising a challenge can often help you redefine it and find solutions or alternative approaches.

On line tools

Coworking offices have vibrant communities that communicate through a number of messaging sites. Here are some of our favourites at altspace.

Messaging – Community chats and events can be shared via Slack, groupBuzz, Facebook, WhatsApp

The beauty of these sites is that you can stay up to date with messaging when absent from the office.

Project Management – Evernote is cloud based and allows you to synchronise your priorities across all devices. You never need to be frustrated again by saving your priorities on a forgotten phone.
Dropbox, Trello and Yammer – enable debate and project management with a remote team. The option of a community noticeboard is of particular appeal.

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