You wouldn’t run a marathon on M&M, or without training first, would you? And you won’t be a productive anywhere worker without training either. Being an anywhere worker is a lot like running a marathon. There are long hours, changing environments, and stresses on our minds and bodies. If you are any anywhere worker, you know what I’m talking about!
If you think I’m going to tell you about a new app, or how to stay connected 24/7 with your own WIFI hotspot – you are wrong! Those things are great, but before you even get your geek on, you need to establish good foundational behaviors. It’s the fuel and training of the anywhere worker.
4 keys to staying productive
1. Get enough quality sleep.
The anywhere worker is connected 24/7 with smart phones and WIFI. Especially when traveling. Does your night stand look more like a docking station for connected gadgets?
We all know our brains need time off-line. I like to think of it as taking the day’s worth of info and moving it from short term to long term memory. There’s a great deal of connecting of ideas and filing of information going on in your brain during this time and you need quality sleep to make it happen.
Challenge: make the bedroom for sleep only. Unplug your connected devices and turn off the lights. No browsing, no reading, no angry birds. Put your head on the pillow and turn off the lights. It may take a few nights to adjust, but you’ll thank me for it later.
2. Use high quality fuel.
If you get quality sleep, you’ll need less of a jolt in the morning to get started. We all know those long hours, late nights, and impossible deadlines lead to sugar, caffeine and empty calorie consumption. It’s especially hazardous on the road. Coffee and pastries are a nice treat, but they won’t help your brain nor your endurance.
Challenge: reduce sugar and increase whole healthy foods, especially water. Think before you chew.
3. Move your bum.
Though the anywhere worker is on the move, it’s really just moving from one seat to the next. From the office chair to the car, the cafe table, the airport waiting area, the hotel desk, the client conference room…you get the idea. Add that hunchback from leaning over the keyboard and you have a human pretzel – and pain.
Challenge: find something you can do no matter where you are. Walking is great and needs no special equipment. In case of bad weather, yoga is a great alternative and helps get your shoulders away from your ears. Whatever you choose – do it daily.
I’m laughing as I write this because this is the most challenging of the 4 keys for the anywhere worker. There are advantages to being an anywhere worker, one of them is the flexibility to work where you want and sometimes when you want. It seems that this would help to reduce stress, but if you are an over achiever or striving too much for excellence, you can end up working every waking hour. There is no security guard to kick you out after the office is closed. Your office is with you – always.
Challenge: Turn it off. ‘It’ being your smart phone, your internet, the TV, and the chatter in your brain. The last being the most difficult. Daily relaxation is optimal, and if you exercise (number 3) that may be all you need. But I’ve found that we often need more than a 30 minute run to stop the chatter in our heads.
Bonus Challenge: Take one day off each week and ‘turn it off.’ One entire day. Do whatever you want, as long as you are unplugged and NOT thinking about work.
Without these keys, you’ll most likely be average in your productivity and feel tired all the time. With these 4 keys in hand, you are on the path to creative productivity. Dare I say you may even be innovative.