So much of life is about being connected electronically these days, especially with so many of us working from home. It’s possible that we’re spending too much time connected digitally, making it impossible to properly switch off. The thing is, it’s essential for us to disconnect from time to time—to relax and to get better work done.
To achieve this efficient disconnect, it’s important to plan accordingly and make sure that you have the tools you need to remain productive. There are so many tools that we use that rely on an internet connection to work at all. That means you can’t disconnect and expect to be productive unless you have some alternatives in place.
The two main areas of concern for most real estate companies are:
1. Task Management
We often look to online project and task management systems to keep businesses running, especially when working remotely. They allow for full oversight by management in the company and offer proper collaborative functionality that allows team members to work together. This is great when you are online, but not ideal if you need to disconnect. When deciding which system to use, a company should look for an option that you can use offline and sync to various devices. There are lots of suitable software to manage employees to ensure the work is being done.
For individual use, look for the same functionality of being able to update and see your tasks when offline. It can be quite effective to have your own list or way of remembering tasks that’s unrelated to your company’s project management system. This gives you a sense of control over your own life and how you work. It can also help you prioritise how you work.
If you want to go fully offline, consider getting an old-fashioned to-do list notepad or a desk planner. You can write all over it, scribble in important information, cross off tasks as you complete them, and so on. This is proven to be good for your memory and your ability to get through your tasks. The information is right there on your desk at all times, ensuring that you don’t miss something important or overlook a key piece of information.
2. Tracking Hours
Whether you bill customers per hour or your company needs to ensure that you are staying on track with projects, tracking hours worked is a common element in our society. As with project and task management systems, it’s essential to get a tracking solution that can go offline and sync with the main system when you connect again. This way, you can knuckle down and get your work done with no distractions from the online world.
Companies like to see what their employees are doing all the time, making it a lot harder to get this element right in terms of being able to disconnect. One way to improve your efficiency while working remotely is to switch from focusing on tasks to focusing on time slots per task. Break your day down into time slots and then decide which tasks will get allocated into which time slot.
One of the most effective methods of doing this is the Pomodoro Method. You break the day into 25-minute sections and then work out how many sections you will need for each task. Once you have your day planned, you can get to work. When you are in a 25-minute section, try not to let anything else come at you—email, phone calls, making a cup of tea. At the end of the section, you get a little break before you move onto the next section—even if you are in the middle of a task.
This hyper-focused way of working can easily wipe out distractions and allow you to disconnect fully to be more productive.
Building Offline Techniques
In order to be better at disconnecting, it’s important to build coping techniques that work for you. By setting your work life up so that you don’t need to stay connected to the company or the internet, you can achieve a lot. You’ll also find it easier to disconnect each time because you know that you aren’t reliant on technology to be productive.
Here are some techniques that are worth trying:
1. Bullet Journaling
This is not just a craze for teenage girls or those who like to decorate things with ribbons and glitter. Bullet journaling is actually a highly effective method of organising your life into the past, the present and the future—giving you an overview of where you’ve been and where you want to go.
You set up yearly, monthly, and daily logs to help you prioritise your tasks so that your day isn’t as busy as it could be. An overly busy schedule has a knock-on effect in every area of your life, and can even lead to poor sleeping patterns. If you prioritise and schedule tasks, you can streamline your schedule and focus on what’s truly important.
You can then see what you have achieved and how that will impact what you are planning to achieve. It’s a highly effective method of visualisation that is customisable for individual needs.
2. Tracking Yourself
This might not be the most offline technique anymore, but it’s worthwhile going back to basics with. People are looking after their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing by tracking their moods, their exercise, energy levels and various bodily functions with the help of a mobile app. You can do this via your bullet journal or a simple diary too.
The idea behind this kind of tracking is to see trends in your own life. With the data from tracking, you can see when you sleep better, what can impact your productivity in work and so much more. This can help you to plan your days better in terms of when it’s best for you to focus on certain tasks.
Real estate companies and virtual assistants spend a huge amount of time in the digital world. This makes it hard to switch off and disconnect, but learning how to do so is a crucial tool.
Swapping online time for a pen and paper is a great way to go offline, but still remain productive, organised and efficient. Unplug, unwind and find new techniques in a tech-driven world that work for you.