How to Manage an Offbeat Workflow When Everyday Feels Like ‘Blursday’
This article was written by BlogHer and sponsored by Philip Morris International.
Sometimes one week felt like a year and one month felt like a day. If there was anything “normal” about this year, it was the blurred lines between time and space. The homes we considered sanctuaries turned into work cubicles and the routines created in each of those locations were suddenly co-existing. Combined with the challenges faced by parents and those with limited resources, this sudden shift in lifestyle undoubtedly took its toll. It also showed us the possibilities of a workflow freed from the outdated boundaries of a traditional nine-to-five.
According to trendspotter and SVP of Global Communications at Philip Morris International Marian Salzman, this “blursday” experience has left everyone rethinking their relationship to time and place.
“Is it time to retire the agrarian clock and think instead about a 24/7 workweek in which individuals program personalized agendas—fitting work, socializing, errands, and relaxing into the hours that suit them best?,” she asks in her Zoomsday Predictions report. “Might we be on the cusp of a four-day workweek as standard, with fewer but smarter hours serving as the ultimate productivity hack?”
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Of course, the unconventional work schedule isn’t new to creators. As their own bosses with an autonomy not often experienced within larger corporations, they’ve becomes pros at managing their tasks outside of “normal” productivity hours. Katchet Jackson-Henderson mastered this unique skillset and now, she’s helping others do the same. Through The Katchet Life, she inspires and empowers millennial women to pursue their dreams, no matter how big or small or whether at home or at work.
“I believe in embracing the unexpected and giving convention the middle finger. As a coach, I help women entrepreneurs get clear on their brand’s soul with actionable steps so they can market their expertise with confidence,” she says. In order to stay productive and committed to non-convention, there are two tools she keeps on hand.
Read on to see what they are, in addition to more tactical tips that will make managing an offbeat workflow easier.
Remix Your To-Do List
Pen and paper is the tried-and-true old school method. This type of to-do list may work for some but it can also be very easy to keep adding things, thus never getting an actual break. As you shift into an unconventional workflow, don’t be afraid to let go of the traditional to-do list either. Explore apps, guided journals, and other tools that provide structure and motivate you to check off tasks.
“I started using a new to-do list method in Trello recently that has been helping tremendously,” says Jackson-Henderson. “My ‘cards’ are to-dos, and the columns are the time it takes (10 minutes all the way to an hour, all day, etc.). It’s made me reevaluate how truly how long it takes to do something.”
Watch Your Time…Literally
Under normal circumstances, watching the clock would send my anxiety through the roof. However, if you’re working in a space with distractions or adjusting to a time you’re not yet acclimated to, keeping an eye on the time can actually help.
“I am a fan of timers. I set a midday timer to remind myself that the day is wrapping down,” says Jackson-Henderson. “It’s easy to stay on the wheel when you’re at home all of the time.”
I personally swear by the adorable Time Timer, using it as a tool for staying focused on small tasks throughout the day.
Set Physical Boundaries
Speaking of staying at the wheel at home, be sure to designate your workspace if it exists inside your home. If the same place you unwind and watch television is where you also schedule social media posts, it will be difficult to shut down the laptop and give your eyes a break.
Investing in a foldable desk for my small apartment has done wonders for my productivity and self-care routine because it forces a separation between the two.
Lastly, but most importantly, get more sleep. The amount of shut-eye we get each night has direct implications for multiple body functions, including the immune system which is especially vulnerable this time of year. Set a timer, approach your to-do list with intention, and carve out a physical workspace to ensure that you don’t forget to consistently unplug and recharge for the next day.
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