When I first became a consultant, one of the things I was really worried about was getting distracted. I had heard those regretful stories about people who work from home and aren’t able to get their work done because they get distracted by housework or other family members or lemur videos. That’s why the concept of self management is so important, especially when so many of us are working remotely.
Thinking about this from an organizational level, it’s possible that future success will be driven by the ability to manage remote workers. And part of being able to manage remote employees is knowing that those individuals can manage themselves. In the first article of this series on self management success for remote workers, we discussed the first quality being knowing yourself.
The second quality of successful self management is doing work you enjoy. There are many different ways to earn a living. Finding the way that’s right for you is key. We can spend years trying to figure out the right career. In the last article, I mentioned these two questions as a way you can learn more about yourself. You can also use them to learn more about the kind of work you enjoy.
- Think about a time when you’ve felt you were at your most productive. Then list what was taking place at that time – what were you working on, what was the office environment like, who were your co-workers, etc.
- By contrast, do the same thing but identify the time when you’ve felt you were your least productive. And what those elements were surrounding you at the time.
Now think of your work on this continuum, with most productive on one end and least productive on the other.
- Lastly, take a moment to assess where you are right now on this continuum.
It’s possible that right now as you’re working from home, you’re trying to figure out what your job will look like in 6 months or a year from now. As you make career decisions, it only makes sense to move toward being your most productive. That’s a big part of self management.
Our careers aren’t single decisions. Most of us spend our entire lives changing and modifying our jobs to achieve that most productive state. The idea being, as we become more productive, we like our work more and the success associated with enjoying our work will come along with it.
Now, let’s add a layer to this conversation by saying you’re thinking about an upcoming meeting with your boss. Maybe the two of you will be talking about the possibility of more remote work in the future. Having a clear understanding of when you are most productive and least productive can help the conversation. You can talk about the work you’re doing in terms of productivity.
Another aspect of doing productive work is having the right environment. Using those same questions above, be sure you include on your most productive and least productive lists items such as equipment that either helped you be productive or restricted you. This could be lighting, chairs, computers, desk space, whatever… If your future work will be remote, then you want to know how to be your most productive. This isn’t just for the benefit of the company’s bottom-line. Knowing your most productive self can be important for our wellbeing.
Being a successful worker is about being productive. Knowing the exact recipe for making that happen will help you maintain a high level of productivity no matter where you are.
The third quality on the self-management success list? Well as much as we know ourselves and our work, not everything can and will go as planned…look for problem-solving next.8