How to be more productive in remote work, part 1: Focus
In this productivity series, we’re going to transform you into the most effective, productive remote worker in the universe whether you’re an employee, freelancer, or your own entrepreneur.
The world is seeing a massive shift towards remote work, gig workers, freelancers, and distributed teams.
And I absolutely LOVE this transformation that is taking place.
I think that one of the biggest things that working professionals desire is flexibility.
Young professionals especially don’t want their identity to be tied only to their work and that is totally understandable.
So having the flexibility to work from home, or perhaps even remote globally anywhere in the world, increases happiness in the workforce.
And in my experience building teams, a happy worker is a more effective one. An effective, good team member is also equivalent to three average ones.
Therefore, it’s a win for everyone when we have more happy workers out there.
The days of long-term loyalty from young generations to a company are gone, but maybe that’s only as of right now because work hasn’t been adapted to the new age yet.
I believe that can change with the rapid increase of greater flexibility in remote work.
All of this, of course, is also being greatly accelerated by the coronavirus hitting every company on a global scale. It essentially forced the biggest social experiment on making distributed team models work.
And it seems like it’s working.
In fact, Twitter recently announced that all employees, even after COVID-19 is over, can work remotely on a full-time basis.
I believe the world would have eventually gone down that route anyway, but it would’ve taken a long time. Decades maybe.
But the only way that corporations will continue to allow the remote working culture is if it makes sense for their bottom line. In other words, how will the corporations benefit?
Well, here’s what they would want:
- Increased or sustained employee productivity
- Lower expenses on major overhead such as office cost on rent, supplies, utilities, etc
- Effective team communication and
- The continued growth of revenue
Based on that, if corporations feel like they can increase profits to their shareholders, then it is much easier for them to be okay with remote work and distributed teams.
All of this means one thing if you want greater flexibility and an increased chance of remote work for the company you work for: you have to become a more productive, effective worker at home.
Working at home is not easy if you’re not used to it. There are 1,001 distractions and you may actually end up spending more time in front of your computer than if you were in the office.
This article is for those of you who want to be more productive and feel great at the end of each workday because you know you accomplished what you needed to.
If we can build a whole bunch of workers who are just like you, then companies will happily keep up the growing trend of remote work.
Singular focus for remote work productivity
So the very first step to becoming the superman or woman of productivity is to know your single most important metric that drives the needle for your role, whether you’re an employee, freelancer, or entrepreneur.
You’ll want to focus on ONE primary driver, it helps you prioritize the most important tasks on your endless to-do list.
You have to ask yourself, “What is the ONE biggest result that creates the most impact on my work?”
To help you answer this for yourself, I’ll give you examples from my own projects.
The first example will be my YouTube channel. I want to share more about personal finance, career hustling, business, and entrepreneurship for fun. I’m not trying to sell anything. It’s just pure content creation to try to contribute back to the world where I can.
As of this current writing, I barely have any views or subscribers.
And for the few of you who are here, thank you, I appreciate your support 🙂
So then what is the single most important metric for my YouTube channel?
It is to grow the total views because it shows the amount of reach I receive.
In other words, the impact that my videos can make for others who actually want to hear what I have to say.
So that means that my singular biggest focus is to create videos consistently so that I have enough content out there to rack up video views.
This translates over to what I should prioritize first thing during my working day, as well as the times when I’m in a time crunch.
To prioritize, I ask myself, “What content creation activities do I need to take to contribute to the singular goal of increasing the total views of this YouTube channel?”
Well, here’s my nerdy handy dandy checklist to streamline my content creation process:
This checklist ensures that I don’t miss a step and is an easy-to-follow list of tasks that I can easily refer back to when performing work on my singular focus of content creation.
I even include the average time it takes for each activity so that I can work out ways to make it more efficient.
My biggest focus on any activity for my YouTube channel has to be from this list.
Once I finish something on this list, then I can concentrate whatever mental energy and time I have left for tasks that don’t move the needle with as big of an impact but still need to get done.
Another focus example for productivity greatness
Now I’ll give another example with more of a business working role than a fun content creation standpoint.
I’m a digital marketing consultant so I’m fortunate to work on really cool projects to help companies transform their business marketing infrastructure, automation, and growth experiments to scale their business revenue.
As an independent consultant, that means I have to grab my own clients.
However, I realized that freelance consultants tend to concentrate on the wrong activities. They’re spending time on tasks that do help but are not the primary revenue drivers.
For example, they may be re-designing their website, creating a logo and various social media accounts, or actually just performing client work as the primary concentration.
It may seem counterintuitive that the singular focus isn’t the actual act of performing the client work since you know, they’re hired to do it. Believe it or not, doing client work is actually secondary.
The primary singular focus is to fill your client pipeline.
Whether you’re a freelancing consultant or an entrepreneur that runs a service-based or product business, your primary focus is to increase sales and revenue.
Revenue is literally the thing that will keep you afloat. If you do not concentrate on revenue-building activities, then your business will suffer at one point or another.
If you’re too busy concentrating on performing just the client work and not filling up the client pipeline, then you’re guaranteed to have stressful ups and downs in your business.
So as a consultant myself, what’s my primary singular focus? It is relationship building with prospective clients in the industries I’m targeting. The more I build, the higher chance I have of having a paid relationship with them. That’s it.
Everything else I do is secondary. If I can close clients, then the most important part of my job is done.
So, how do you know what to focus on?
Now let’s bring it back to you as someone who wants to be more productive in your work, whether you’re an employee working from home, a freelancer, a solopreneur, or a leader who wants to help your distributed team be better.
Start by asking yourself, “What one focus do I need to concentrate on daily in order to drive the biggest impact in my role?”
Is it client relationship building? Is it increasing revenue through marketing campaigns? Or perhaps it is releasing a product or feature.
You have to decide that. You know your role best.
If you’re having trouble, then here’s a nifty tip: think about your organization and what is defined as success and growth for it as a whole.
Now work your way down from there. How does your entire team or department contribute to that success? What metrics move the needle the most?
From there, work your way to your exact role. How does your specific role contribute to the team’s success metrics, and ultimately up and through the entire organization as a whole?
Once you figure out what your success metric is, then make sure that during your most productive working hours, you are concentrating on the activities that contribute to that singular focus.
Everything else can wait until your most impactful priority is done.
If you prioritize your day this way, you save a lot of mental energy of figuring out what you have to do every day. And of course, it prevents that dreaded feeling at the end of the day when you feel like you didn’t get much done.
So, that sums up part one of our productivity series and it was all about having singular focus.
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This is Alan signing off here and here’s to investing in your knowledge and future. I’ll be back again soon to help you ignite your Freedom of Choice lifestyle.
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