Having a daily routine is important no matter who you are and what you do. For teams working remotely and isolated from each other it is even more crucial. It is easy for staff to feel isolated, come off track or lose motivation when they are away from the rest of their team. Having a routine allows team members to sync up daily and ensure they stay on track and feel part of the larger team.
The Daily Scrum
The daily standup or ‘scrum’ is a very important routine to implement within remote teams. This concept comes from Agile project management, which is used mainly by software development teams, but can easily be adapted. The core idea is to dedicate a time, near the beginning of the day where all team members meet for a short period (about 15 to 20 mins). This should be a quick catch up. It’s OK to chit chat a bit and talk about daily events or something funny that happened, but it should mostly be kept short and efficient. In our team we ask each member of the team to outline key tasks they are working on today (not everything and every detail). The idea is to bring out any issues they are having or anything that is blocking them in getting their tasks done. Atlassian has some great suggestions around how to run the daily scrum. (keep in mind it is geared towards software developers, you should adapt it to your team)
The daily scrum is the key meeting of the day, it’s important to pull the team together, ensure everyone is on track and is aware of what work is being done by the team. You’ll be surprised how much interaction happens between team members you didn’t realise needed to happen. The scrum facilitates this.
Segmenting Your Day
It’s also important to schedule in other team meetings during the day using digital calendars such as outlook or Google Calendar. For example, we have a bi-weekly sales meeting, where we review items in our CRM together on Zoom conferencing and discuss the progress of each lead.
Segmenting your day is a critical aspect to regular work and remote work. The nature of the day has a tendency to throw things at you. If you work through your day constantly responding to your environment, rather than controlling your own day, the day ends up controlling you. Taking control of your day requires you to allocate times for different things. This is how you manage your time better.
For example, looking at your day you can see that you are going to spend 1 hour in internal meetings, 1 hour in client meetings, this gives you another 6 hours which you can allocate between responding to emails, working on deliverables and whatever else needs to get done. At the beginning of your day, you should allocate time to each of these tasks. If you have scheduled time, this allows you to manage the time better.
Prioritise Deep Creative Work Early
Limits on our creative focus should be taken into account when allocating your daily routine. Studies have shown that we only have about two hours of real creative work during the day. A survey conducted in the 1950’s shows that productivity peaks at around 10 to 20 hours per week. There are many examples of famous scientists and writers like Charles Darwin that were known for spending only 4 hours in the morning working and the rest of their day on leisurely activities. See Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book ‘Rest’ where he brings a number of high profile examples of people that were able to be immensely productive and creative in limited amounts of time, ultimately changing the world.
For most of us, the start of the day is when our brain’s are the freshest and working the best. Once these hours are used up, your creative energies weaken. Considering that you only have around 2 hours of real creative work you want to use this time on tasks that are most important to you and your business. For me this is working on critical deliverables for a client, or new content or coming up with creative strategy for the business. I try and fit this into the morning hours of my day and move meetings later in the day. Having a quiet couple of hours in the morning is critical to getting key work done.