Our daily work routines and all the dos and don'ts!
- Written by Shani Kaplan
With everything going on right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been strongly advised by our Prime Minister that the public should refrain from the office and work from home where possible. Whilst some may be feeling reasonably okay with this shift, for most who never have before, and who are already living in uncertainty attached to their devices awaiting the next update, it isn’t a welcomed change. For us, as an eCommerce business, this requires no real change to the status quo. You probably didn’t realise this, but the Truth team actually all work from home! That is the way our organisation is structured, and in fact, our team is spread between the UK, Romania, Portugal, Germany, the US, the Philippines, and Australia! Crazy, we know.
We get mixed reviews from people when we tell them that we work from home. Often, we get “but how do you stay in the zone and get anything done?” “don’t you miss working WITH colleagues?” or an envious response of “you could get so much more done in your day!” It is true that since adapting to this lifestyle, most of us don’t know if we could ever go back. This got the team thinking more about how our team manages the structure of having no formal office, and why we all love it! So, let’s hear from the team about the routine that works best for them and their biggest dos and don'ts.
Managing Director. London, UK
“The incredible part of this routine is that it doesn’t feel like a workday - no commute, no other employees to distract me, no boredom of tasks. I pack more into a 6-hour workday that I did as an executive working 10-12 hour days.”
After working for 20 years in old school executive life in 10 countries, I secretly knew that Time-Based Management (TBM) is an inefficient and outdated management practice. Promotions and performance could be bias towards who is the first person into the office, and the last to leave. Now, more companies are learning the power of TBM- where team members are given set agreed tasks and projects and have the freedom to choose when the work gets done. If anything, old school businesses may finally realise that us humans prefer different ways of working. If you are managed solely on task quality and completion - this will be a true meritocracy, and the best thing for business strength too.
Since starting our company, Truth, 3 years ago, I was initially an old dog learning new tricks. The Online Productivity Revolution has really helped people to deliver high-quality work remotely, and I was used to face to face meetings and a big team of people. But the online community have some efficient tools. Video Conferencing (VC), Trello, Slack, Jira, Xero are now allowing me to complete more tasks and lead my team better whilst enjoying my lifestyle redesign!
I have enjoyed the geographic freedom of creating an online team with Truth and also run my passion business Elevate Martial Arts in Richmond. The BIGGEST advantage of having Geographic Freedom is that you can join a work meeting for an hour, agree tasks to do, then when you close your laptop, you can turn around and walk into Bondi beach, Hike in the Colorado mountains, or tackle a Ski run in France, or be on lockdown in London.
I think TBM and remote working is going to be the norm, not the exception in the next 10 years. I truly think our humanity will benefit from it greatly, enjoying our lives around task completion, and companies will benefit greatly too, happier team = stronger retention, perks for hiring, and ultimately lower costs of large office overhead.
My typical weekday:
7 - 8 am -Wake up and have a black coffee with Curcumin, and lots of it over the next few hours, no food. Fasting is worth it (my goal is a 20 hour fast). Meditation (intention is every day, the reality is ⅖), and then I do a quick news review.
8 - 9 am - VC with our Australian team for our sister brand, Truth Origins- we launch this month and we are excited!
9 - 12 pm - Slack, Trello, Conference calls with teams, suppliers, industry contacts, and alternative projects.
12-2 pm - Train in my gym ( Mainly BJJ and HIIT)
2:30 pm -Brunch (usually its been 18-20 hours since my last meal- so this will be a King’s banquet)
3:30 - 7 pm - check emails and finalise actions that are due.
7 - 8 pm - Dinner, as healthy as I can. I follow this up with my CBD of choice right now, CBD Platinum. If I am honest, I have started incorporating CBD into my mornings at the moment with everything going on.
8 -10 pm -(Optional) - Special Projects - in times of high workload (or if I’ve inevitably messed something up...)
The incredible part of this routine is that it doesn’t feel like a workday - no commute, no other employees to distract me, no boredom of tasks. I pack more into a 6-hour workday that I did as an executive working 10-12 hour days.
I have plenty of do’s (but struggle to “do” them all every time)
#1Physical breaks-after 30-40 mins and move your body (Check the Pomodoro method of 25 minuted chunks, then adapt it for yourself)
#2 Change your workstation - every 2-3 hours. Whether you use a standing desk, dining table, or Sofa. Laptops give great options. Keep rolling through in shifts, when you get in a good workflow you don’t want sore muscles to stop you.
#3 The first 1 hour sets the day - If you start off with emails, messages and tasks the day can be re-active. I prefer a progressive approach. I start with the best things I do each day - Check team messages, customer feedback (luckily very good), then select the number 1 priority of the day. No email checking until I’ve executed 2 clear tasks.
#4 Video Conferencing -For us, ithas changed the game. You can have strong virtual meetings, share screens, complete tasks as a team.
#5 Train most days -Whether you are a Yogi, Martial Artist, Cyclist, Swimmer, Walker, or love to run. Working from home saves you 2-3 hours each day. 1-hour training is less than 5% of your day - You can rest and recover the other 95%- it’s just a better way to live.
Creative Director . Lisbon, Portugal
“After years of working from home, I’ve come to realise time off the screen is just as important if not more important for my creativity as time on the screen”
After 13 years, working from home has become second nature to me. It can take some time to get in the groove, but once you find it, you’ll discover how fun it can be and that you actually have a lot of time! Here are some tips:
#1 Structure - set yourself a schedule to map out your week & your days, but be flexible with it, things will come up, and its important to go easy on yourself if you don’t manage to tick every box. Working from home takes some getting used to, and it takes discipline. I set myself goals for the day and goals for the week. Try a big 3 list for starters.
#2 Boundaries - set yourself up a space in your home for work, whether that be a home office, or a section of a kitchen table, a favourite chair, etc. This helps, because it creates consistency and allows you to get into the flow quickly.
#3 Take breaks - these can be quick 5-10 min breaks just to get up away from the screen, have a glass of water, make some tea, stretch, even take a walk outside. There are lots of good timers in the App Store you can download for free that are helpful. I use one called “Be Focused” which allows me to set blocks of time to work and alert me when it’s time for a break.
#4 Ambiance - Some can work in silence, but if you’re easily distracted by outside noises or are struggling with noisy neighbours, you can set yourself up with ambient music to help you focus. I generally like to play instrumental tunes in the background while I work. Lately I’ve been listening to the lo-Fi hip hop radio “ChilledCow” you can find it on Spotify or streaming live on Youtube. Really relaxing music to keep you in the flow.
#5 Communication - If you work with a team, it’s important to stay connected with them. If you isolate yourself, things can get overwhelming and lonely, especially if you’re used to working in an office environment. We use Slack to communicate and collaborate, and use Zoom for video calls. These two apps are integral parts in our business, allowing us to feel connected and stay on track.
#6 Unplug & wind down -After years of working from home, I’ve come to realise time off the screen is just as important if not more important for my creativity as time on the screen. Set yourself a time to unplug and come off the screen, it’s hard when you’re passionate about your work, but think of it as allowing yourself to recharge. I have a do-not-disturb schedule set so that notifications are silenced in the evening until 9am the next morning.
Content Manager. London, UK
“Communicate with your team; video chats are revolutionary. I love to brainstorm with the Truth Team as a few creative brains together is so much better than one!”
I had actually worked for myself already for the past 8 years as a Personal Trainer, and then more recently as a photographer. Starting at Truth was the best shift because it meant a consistent amount of work hours, doing what I originally studied and now love, without having to sacrifice the life I was accustomed to; managing my own time and the freedom of being able to travel and work from anywhere! No day has the same exact routine for me. An ideal day looks like this:
7:30 am - I head to my favourite coffee shop down the road pretty much the second they open (I love my iced americano with oat milk!) and smash out a few hours of work there, or at home, before I take a break.
12:00 pm -lunchtime Pilates Barre or a HIIT class followed by a quick lunch. With everything going on right now, I am instead opting instead to take a lunchtime walk to clear my head.
1:15 pm - I then will resume for the afternoon to work in the vicinity of my little work buddy, my miniature dachshund, Frankie.
5:00 pm -Finish for a couple of hours and get to the gym, (or right now, do a home workout) and take Frankie for an afternoon walk.
I often am back online during the evening to do creative or organisational tasks that don't require too much attention I.e. I can multi-task whilst watching the latest TV series in the background 😉
My day will range from team catchups, creating blogs and emails, photoshoots, and brainstorming/ working on campaigns/ launches.
Where the weather permits, I will also either wake up very early for a 30-45-minute morning walk with a Podcast, or go after dinner with my fiancé, or a couple of my friends who live down the street. This is my switch-off time and allows me the distance from my screen that I need to refresh! Most important tips:
#1 Wake early -This is the most important one for me. I am much more inspired and productive in the mornings.
#2 Switch off -Set yourself a time to switch off (she says as she writes this sentence at 9 pm). It can be really difficult to not reply to that Slack question that comes in at all hours, or to finish that task you really want to just do a tiny bit more of! But your relationships will suffer.
#3 Daily to-do lists - This one is SO important to me. Also, keep this list in a constant place (we use Trello). Don’t fall into the trap of jotting or typing things on multiple online and offline notepads…
#4 Create a zone - I love to play acoustic, or very chilled background music and light a nice scented candle to get into the “calm zone”. My favourite Spotify playlist is the Acoustic seasonal- Spring, Autumn, Summer or Winter choices, or Angus & Julia Stone.
#5 Breaks -Go for walks to clear your head. My most creative work comes from these walks. And this is especially applicable with everything going on right now! If you’re getting distracted, have a tea break, do a few jumping jacks, then get back to it.
#6 Teamwork -Communicate with your team; video chats are revolutionary. I love to brainstorm with the Truth team as a few creative brains together is so much better than one! Also, chat to get clarity on things you may be unsure of. Even if just for 2 minutes.
#7 Be organised and prepared -Things often can’t get complete last minute by others when you’re working with different time zones and hours.
#1 Share space -Don't work in the same room as your partner/friend/family member if they are a distraction.
#2 Sleep stressed -If you can help it, do not go to sleep worrying about your hefty to-do list. Plot it out for tomorrow, and then mentally switch off. Find your nighttime remedy. I love CBD and a lovely warm bath. Read some more ideas on our sister blog, here.
#3 Work from bed -Maybe an obvious one but I have known people to try this! Bed is your sanctuary. Don’t confuse the two spaces.
#4 Take your phone - When you are taking a break, take the break. I am working on this one… Try to be mindful and present on that walk or whilst eating your lunch. On this, I will also not check my social media until the end of the day where I can help it!
#5 Work with TV in the background - This one probably doesn’t need an explanation ;) But in those day time hours, stay away from the TV.
Keep your eyes peeled next week for Part 2 where 3 more of the team give you their best tips on working from home!
Shani Kaplan is a contributing writer for Truth Naturals. She combines her knowledge gained from working within the fitness/wellness industry in Sydney and London for the last seven years as a Personal Trainer, and class instructor, with her addiction to research due to her BA in Business Marketing. Shani loves martial arts, resistance training, dance and yoga, nutrition, travel, design, photography, and art.
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