What makes you a productive, effective, and successful coach does not change based on where you happen to arrive that day.

Mandy Green

My Top 10 Hit List for Working from Home Part 1

Hi Coach,

Since Covid hit, many coaches are now working from home for the very first time.

I know it seems like a big hurdle and feels so different. Some of you love it. Some of you hate it. Worse, some coaches think there’s some surprise secret that is going to allow you to be so much better at home than it was while you could still work in the office.

The truth, what makes you a productive, effective, and successful coach does not change based on where you happen to arrive that day. Businesspeople who’ve worked from home for a really long time, or worked at cafes, or worked on the road have learned that it’s really not necessarily about the context of the situation.

It’s how do you show up and get stuff done. Are you being prolific at creating the outputs or the deliverables that really matter to move your career and your recruiting forward?

Over the next 2 weeks I am going to share the 10 things that make me productive in working from home.

No matter where you’re working or what your role is at your school, you’ve got to be a high performing person. And that’s going to take a lot of mental management, energy management, emotional management, and management of other people so you can set boundaries and get things done. I hope that you’ll find this article to be full of common-sense type things, but now it’s about making them common practice so you can be on your A game, deliver excellent value day after day to your program, and move your career and your life forward.

So let’s go through the 10 things that I do to work from home effectively.

#1 Know What You’re Aiming For

Whenever we are talking about the work that you are doing as a coach, it must be contextualized in yearly, monthly, and weekly goals. If you show up to your kitchen table or you are working in the extra bedroom that you turned into an office, nothing you do really matters unless you are aiming towards something. You need to have a clear vision, clear ambition, clear deadlines, clear deliverables. You must know what you are about this week, this month, and this year.

So, I begin this article with, do you know what your goals are by the end of this year? Do you know what this month’s goals are? And next month goals are? Do you know what this week’s goals are? Do you know the 10 things that you are working towards this week?

And if not, let’s not fool ourselves that oh gosh, working from home is hard. Because you know, I’m interrupted by this person or that person, or now I’m doing a lot of virtual zoom meetings. Working from home is hard if you don’t know what you want. That is the problem. You don’t have clarity. No clarity, no change. No goals, no growth. So let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home, a café, on the road, or if you are in your office. At the end of the day, do you know what you are after? Taking the time to know what your yearly, monthly, and weekly goals are absolutely essential to success.

#2 Have a Friday finisher list

A Friday Finishers list is a list of the things that have to happen by Friday. Monday, when I go to work, this list makes me aware of all the things I need to get done and complete by Friday.  All week I work through my list.  When I stay on track with the list and I finish them all before I am done with work on Friday, oh my gosh, I have found that my weeks and months proceed so much more effectively.

Now I know some of you are going to be like but, but, but. I get it, it’s hard to stay on track. I’ll talk about that too later in this article.

#3 Block time.

Block time means that you schedule blocks of time during the day in which that is the time you are specifically doing one thing. That’s the time you are having the zoom meeting. That is the time you are creating your recruiting emails. That is the time you are doing your recruiting calls. That is the time you do email. That is the time that you do social media. It’s blocks of time that are scheduled and written out so that you’re not always just going by the whim and by how you feel.

Now, I know there are some of you who would say, oh my gosh, that sounds miserable, Mandy, because you know, in all that structure, I lose my freedom and flexibility.

If that’s you right now, you’re not looking at it the right way.

It’s by having structure that you gain more time freedom. It’s by having discipline that you get more freedom. If you’re just going completely free all day, especially from home. you were probably going to work that day, but then you did five loads of laundry, you played with the kids, you did this project over here and everything just kind of fell apart. You did a lot, you were busy, but things fall apart over a period of time. Block time is structured and disciplined sets of time that allows you to move ahead.

Block time is most efficiently scheduled in 35-to-55-minute time frames based on numerous productivity studies.

So usually for me, as an example, I’ll say, okay, for the next 50 minutes, I’m going to work on this article to go out to my email newsletter list.  Great. That’s all I’m going to do during that time. I don’t check my phone. I don’t check social media. I don’t randomly look the news. I don’t have any other browsers open that aren’t exactly relevant to that one task. And that’s what allows me not to be be pulled away from social media, notifications on my computer, or randomly checking other stuff. Nope. That is the time that those things happen. And the more blocks of time I can work through the day, the better.

#4 Take hourly breaks

You need to be taking hourly breaks. Every hour.

I tend to do my block time, between 35 minutes and 55 minutes depending on what I am working on where I just work on one thing. But on average, about 50 minutes. I set a timer and when it goes off, I get up, I drink some water. I might hit the ground and do like four or five of Vinyasa flows, a little yoga.

I will stand in place, bounce in place, literally bouncing in place, closing my eyes, taking 10 deep breaths, just to open up the airways, to close my eyes, to reset my eyes because the screen is so fatiguing on the mind and the eyes. And you know, I might only have a break of two, three, four minutes, and then I’m back at it.
When you’re home, work 50 minutes solid and then take a five minute break to get a snack or a five minute break to throw in a load of laundry or a five minutes break to make sure the kids are still alive. Whatever you have to do. That’s a really great block of time. Why? Because the world’s largest study of productivity that has ever been done with over 2 million people participants, found that the most productive people tended to take a break at 52 minutes. Every 52 minutes, they took a break and it almost didn’t matter how long the break was.

It was, did they have the discipline of having a break? What I often call a pit stop to just recharge. Because if you recharge throughout the day, you’re gonna have greater mental energy, greater physical vitality, greater stamina in doing your work then if you just burn straight through. Because then what happens, you hit two o’clock you’re wasted. You have three o’clock, four o’clock you’re completely ruined, you’re just like your brain is so fried. You’re not even effective anymore. And if you had just taken a few more breaks to reset those recharge sessions, right? Every 50 minutes, a little break on the hour, just gives you energy to make it throughout the day. I think that’s important. Totally vital for me. I’m useless. If I try to work five, six hours straight, it just it’s awful.

Nothing great comes from it. No great art, no great teaching, no great service.

#5 Communicate your family schedule.

You need to set a schedule with your family.  If you have little ones, this one will not apply to you.  Please reach out to set up a call and I can talk you through some different ideas for working at home if you have children under 5 years old.   

For those of you with older children at home or your spouse, it is important for them to know when you’re going to work and for how long you’re going to work. That’s so important. Could you have a Sunday meeting with your family and say, okay, this is what dad or mom is doing this week. Here’s what’s going to happen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.

Get everybody on board to the schedule and stick to it. You go to work and everyone knows, okay, mommy, doesn’t come out of the room over there until noon or whatever that would be for you. 

Once the schedule is set, it then becomes you communicating hey, you know what honey, I’m going to be in the room in a meeting for the next two hours. You won’t see me. I won’t come out and I won’t be checking messages.

Communication of your schedule that is vital to everything.

Sorry that this article was on the longer side.  Stay tuned next week for part 2.

For those interested in social media recruiting, check out my new program for coaches called social story recruiting.

To your success,

Mandy Green

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