I have a confession: I’m in a bit of a funk. April was not a very productive for me. We were in Disney World for 8 days, and the rest of it, I was either sick or recovering from being sick. Trying to balance the different types of work I do and properly boxing time has also become a problem. Couple that with some distractions at home, and I haven’t felt very productive lately. I want to try going to a coworking space once a week, but I’d have to schedule it on a day where I don’t need my recording setup. So I’ve decided to set my work week with days dedicated to different types of work.
I Don’t Think Remote Work is the Problem
Let’s face it…I’ve been a remote worker for most of my life. The only times I’ve had an actual office job were my 3 years at The University of Scranton and some summer internships. I love working remotely and can’t imagine having to commute again.
Still, there are distractions at home, like my wife and my daughter. It’s not their fault…I like being distracted by them. I could close my door (and do sometimes). But I like having it open and always have. These distractions also amount to just a tiny fraction of the entire work week.
Focusing on the Right Work
My real problem is that I’m not focusing on the right work and I do too much context switching. Some tasks, like writing or code, come pretty easy to me. I can sit down and be ready to do those things in 15 minutes. Other things, like video production, take a lot longer for me to “get into.” That means if I don’t time box correctly, I have very small windows to do what amounts to the most significant work.
I’m writing less code
I’m also writing a lot less code, which bums me out. I love solving problems and don’t want the skills I’ve gained over half of my life to stagnate. I wrote about my coding plan a while back, but I haven’t stuck to it.
Taking these two big factors into account, I’ve decided I’m going to modify my work week to have specific days where I focus on specific tasks.
My New Work Week
Traditionally, the middle of the week is when I’m most productive (though I’ve had a few great Fridays). Monday is when I’m least productive.
Mondays: Catch-up, clerical work, outreach/follow-ups, and writing. Since I’m least productive on Mondays, I want to reserve it for the lots of little tasks™ I tend to accumulate throughout previous the week. These are mostly non-production, but could include script writing and storyboarding.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays: Production Days! I’ll do all my recording, editing, and production in the middle-three days of the week. This will allow me to start projects and stay in a groove long enough to complete large chunks at a time. It should also reduce the amount of time it takes for me to “get into” a project. The idea here is that I’ll really focus in on one project for the bulk of these days and move to similar projects when one is complete. It also means that I will be relegated to my home office.
Fridays: Code and Coworking. I want to dedicate Fridays to coding. This will sort-of serve as my own 20% time where I work on my side projects. This will be helped by the fact that I’d also like to spend Fridays at the local coworking space. I’ll be away from my production machine so I’ll have to do non-production work. I’m really excited to give this a go.
One of the other reasons I haven’t been able to focus is that our babysitter quit on us with zero notice, so we’ve been trying to replace her. In the meantime, I’ve been taking days off from work and doing Daddy Duty. We’re interviewing one person today and she seems great! So if all goes well, I’ll be able to start this new system next week.
What do you to do maximize productivity and focus? Let me know in the comments!