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How Productive Remote Workers Close the Work Day

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 11:45
How Remote Workers End Work Days

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s secret to high productivity is separating work and personal life. In a recent interview with Fast Company, she explains that leaving the office at a reasonable time helps her organize her work and process tasks more quickly the next day. When home, meanwhile, her attention is not divided between business and family.

“We try to have the rule to not check email between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., because if you are on your phone then it’s hard to disconnect,” she says in another interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“[Success] is not based on the number of hours that you’ve worked. If you are working 24/7, you’re not going to have any interesting ideas.”
- Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO

Walking out your office door after a day of demanding work to the relief of a relaxing, supportive environment is great advice. A day’s end commute – whether by car, train, bus, bike or on foot – is a formal transition that allows time for changing the figurative position of your mind and the literal location of your body. Not only is the act a mental move toward recovery and rejuvenation, it’s also a physical commitment to rest and recuperation.

But what if your office door is the threshold between the den in your house and its family room?

Or the revolving door of a coffee shop?

Or a quick pivot on a swivel chair from your hotel room’s writing desk to its king bed?

Without significant commute time or distance, how can we effectively unplug?

Remote Work Environments Present Special Challenges to Your End-of-Day Routine

Researchers predict that nearly 2 billion people around the world – more than 40 percent of the global workforce – will be mobile by the end of this decade. This trend means more and more workers must not only deal with distracting, non-traditional workplaces, but unconventional shifts from professional to personal time during the last moments of the day.

“The last 10 minutes of your day can also be the most crucial,” writes Rose Leadem in a column for Entrepreneur. To help our remote readers make the most of this closing time – whenever and wherever it may be – we reviewed the latest tips and techniques from high-powered CEOs and productivity gurus. Here are some techniques we recommend you apply to the waning minutes of your work day:

Try These 3 Techniques for a Productive Close to Your Remote Work Day

Our mantra for this blog is mindset over method. We believe that any quest to increase efficiency and effectiveness in business should begin in your head, with a clear direction.

1. Reinforce a Productive Philosophy
We found this concise observation in an infographic from the British price-comparison site Make It Cheaper: “The irony is that your tendency to do more in an attempt to achieve more doesn’t actually guarantee productivity.”

Indeed. When seeking higher productivity, your goal is to make the most of the time at hand, not pack the most tasks into available time.

2. Assign a Theme to Tomorrow
In a video interview with Techonomy, Twitter Chairman Jack Dorsey says he sets themes for each of his work days.

“On Monday… I focus on management and running the company,” Dorsey elaborates. “Tuesday is focused on product. Wednesday is focused on marketing and communications and growth. Thursday is focused on developers and partnerships. Friday is focused on the company and the culture and recruiting. Saturday I take off, I hike. And Sunday is reflection, feedback, strategy, and getting ready for the rest of the week.”

Yes, there are frequent interruptions and occasional diversions, he confesses, but overall the approach focuses and streamlines each workday to come.

3. Strive for Inbox Zero
Any day, all day, when you’re connected to your work email “anyone, at any time, can just go to your inbox without permission, invitation or consideration” Elliot Weissbluth, CEO of a financial services firm, writes for LinkedIn.

So, Weissbluth advocates letting those missives pile up until day’s end, and then deleting with impunity. “If it’s that important, someone will follow up with you,” he says. Also, minimize filing, he suggests. Rely on your search tools for finding relevant information when needed.

Try Breaking These 3 Unproductive Habits at the Close of Your Remote Work Day

As noted earlier, transition time in remote settings is scant and precious. So, try not to spend changeover minutes on these three notoriously unproductive working habits:

1. Multitasking
Researchers insist it’s counterproductive. We agree, especially if you’re making a mad dash at day’s end to scratch every bullet from your to-do list.

2. Total Appification
There’s no shortage of time-management tools. But, if yours is just tracking minutes instead of supporting your efforts to remove waste, then the app is just taking up storage space on your device. Good old pen and paper may do better.

3. Rushing Out the Figurative Door
Let others know you’re done for the day before shutting down or setting aside your devices. Maybe turn on the “out-of-office” notification. Digital correspondence is a form of conversation, so say goodbye or goodnight to your colleagues in virtual space. It builds productive rapport.

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