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A Work-From-Home Schedule That’ll Help You Get the Most Out of Your Day

A Work-From-Home Schedule That’ll Help You Get the Most Out of Your Day

A Work-From-Home Schedule 

The good news: Working from home has no hard and fast rules.

The bad news: Working from home has no hard and fast rules.

So make a plan and keep it simple. Having a general guide for what you’re supposed to tackle at what time will help you structure your day and get things done. A productivity plan, as we like to call it, keeps you on track so you don’t just look at your watch at 4:13 PM and think, “Where did today go?”

At a time when so many people are working from home for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might be finding yourself in need of a productivity plan of your own. Here’s a helpful, loose daily structure with some tips to help you adapt it for your own needs. With a few adjustments—according to when you wake up, when you’re expected to be reachable, what time of day you focus best, and, of course, whether you have kids or other caregiving responsibilities—you can make it work for you.

So pick and choose the blocks that make sense in your life, shuffle them around in the order that feels right, and give your plan a try.

7:30 AM

Wake up!

7:45 AM

Kick-off that morning routine: Take a shower, drink coffee, meditate, stretch, check your most important apps (Gmail, Slack, whatever they are for you) to see if there’s anything you need to address first thing.

Don’t skip the routine, however short. The first hour of the day sets the tone for the rest of it, so news plus Instagram probably isn’t your best bet—don’t let yourself get lost in a social media scroll hole before you’ve had a chance to do anything else.

8:15 AM

Handle anything urgent and give any updates to your boss and teammates. Getting this done first thing will give you peace of mind to dive into your work and focus without the nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something or that someone’s waiting on you.

8:45 AM

Do your most important and creative work first. 

Use that golden morning brain to focus on something bigger than busywork. If you spend the first 90 minutes or so of your day chipping away at an important task or project, then no matter what—even if the rest of your day gets thrown off by something urgent (work crisis, partner problems, roommate issues, kid interruptions)—you’ll feel satisfied that you accomplished something meaningful.

10:00 AM

Take a break! After 75 minutes or so of focus, you’ve earned it. 

10:15 AM

Back to that important and creative work—hopefully, a little refreshed. It helps to set aside solid chunks of time on your calendar to focus on priority projects. 

12:30 PM

It’s lunchtime! Leave your workspace if you can for a change of scenery and so that you can actually enjoy your food. You don’t want to suddenly look down to see an empty plate and realize you didn’t even taste your sandwich because you were still typing. Move your body a little if possible, too, and try to get outside for a bit if you can. (These things can help you recharge and deal with anxiety you might be experiencing during this pandemic.)

1:30 PM

Now’s the time to reply to all nonurgent emails and messages. Remember, not every note requires your immediate attention. Most emails can be answered respectfully within 24 hours.

2:30 PM

If you can swing scheduling it this way, early afternoon is a superb time for virtual meetings. Extroverts, you’ll get a good boost from seeing your colleagues, and introverts, you’ll already have had most of the workday to yourself so you’ll probably be feeling nice and recharged from yesterday’s meetings and chatter.

4:30 PM

Back to emails and other correspondence one more time before the end of the day—it never ends, we know!

5:00 PM

Wrap up and plan for the next day. Before you completely sign off, jot down your top three priorities for the following morning. This will keep you centered on what matters most (and help you know how to kick off the next day with your best brain). 

Having even a rough outline like this to guide you will help you enjoy working from home more, help you get way more done, and make this social distancing situation more tenable. 

It may be a temporary situation but that doesn’t mean you have to write off regular, helpful routines—just that you need to find one that works for this moment. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you make the most of working-from-home. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coach and Los Angeles career coach, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Job Search Tips

Job Search Tips When Starting a Career During the Coronavirus

Job Search Tips When Starting a Career During the Coronavirus. Graduating from college or otherwise applying for your first professional job is stressful in any circumstance. But it feels especially daunting when the economy, the job market, and the world, in general, seem to be turned upside down.

But career experts say it’s critical to continue to look for work and stay connected during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. “Don’t go into a place of fear and stagnancy,” warns Muse career coach Chelsea C. Williams, founder of College Code, a Manhattan-based talent development firm.

Here are a few ways to build relationships, find work, and move forward in your career.

1. Check-in on Your Job Offer

You might’ve already had a job lined up, perhaps through a previous co-op or internship or via on-campus recruiting, and are likely wondering if that offer still stands. If your college career office was involved in helping you land that offer, that should be your first stop, says Susan Weil, co-CEO of Weil and Wein, a Manhattan-based career coaching firm.

If they don’t know anything about the status of your offer or weren’t involved, you can reach out to whoever extended the offer to you, whether that’s a recruiter, the company’s campus recruiting coordinator, or your future manager.

2. Be Flexible

“Many first-time job seekers have a vision of what they thought their first job would look like,” Williams says. That vision might still be valid but you might need to take some turns and twists to get to that end goal.

For instance, while you might have had your heart set on a full-time job with full benefits, it might be time to consider a six-month internship or fellowship or to look for contract work to tide you over until companies start hiring for more full-time roles again. Maybe you can’t get a full-time job at a public relations firm right now. In the meantime, you might be able to get an internship assisting the firm as it helps clients with crisis communications during the pandemic. That would be an impressive addition to your resume and could even transform into a job offer.

3. Continue to Network

Reach out to people you already know relatively well to ask them to keep an eye out for relevant opportunities for you. Make a list of people in your network you feel comfortable approaching—such as favorite professors, internship supervisors you got along with, family members, and friends—and let them know you’re looking for a job.

Just be mindful of the current situation in your communications, Williams says. For instance, you can say, “I realize the current situation is challenging but if you do hear of anything, let me know. I have a skill set in digital communications and I’m open to contract work or volunteer work.”

No one knows how long the pandemic, social distancing, and the resulting financial crisis will last. So focus on what you can control—responding to job postings and reaching out to contacts as well as being mindful of your overall attitude and how you react to the situation.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coach and Los Angeles career coach, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Guide to Answering Common Interview Questions

popular questions during an interview.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your next job interview? A pocketbook, made just for you, containing all the popular questions during an interview.

We can’t read minds, but we can give you the next best thing: a list of some of the most asked interview questions, along with advice for answering them all.

While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t) we do however recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for, and what it takes to reflect that you’re the right person for the job.

Interview Question and Answer Study Guide:

1. Tell Me About Yourself.

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead, give a pitch—one that’s concise, compelling, and shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Talk a little bit about your current role (including the scope and perhaps one big accomplishment,) then give some background as to how you got there and experience you have that’s relevant. Finally, segue into why you want—and would be perfect for—this role.

Read more

Out-of-Office Email Templates for the Holidays That You Can Copy and Paste Now

 

You’ve been busy planning out your tasks, tying up loose ends, and working ahead to ensure you can actually disconnect, recharge, and relax over your holiday break. When you’ve finally powered your way through that seemingly endless to-do list and are ready to check out of work mode once and for all, there’s one final thing you need to take care of: setting your out-of-office response. What’s the easiest way to do that? Email templates.

But, what exactly should you say in that automated message of yours?

Businessman sending an email after copy and pasting email templates for quick and easy out of office messaging

Whether you’re looking for something strait-laced and formal or over-the-top festive, here are six different holiday out of office messages you can use that are perfectly suited to you and your company.

For the Person Who Works in a Traditional Office

Hello,

Thank you for your email, I’m currently out of the office until [date].

I’ll reply to your message promptly when I return. But, if you require immediate assistance, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email] in my absence.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season,

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Wants to Keep it Friendly, But Professional

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I’m currently out of the office until [date] to celebrate the holiday with my loved ones—without my phone in front of my face.

I’ll be sure to reply to your message when I wade through my inbox upon my return. If your message is time-sensitive, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email].

Sending wishes for a happy holiday season,

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Keeps Things Festive

Season’s greetings!

It’s my favorite time of year, which means I’m currently out of the office chugging mugs of cocoa, stuffing my face with cookies, and attempting to fulfill my life-long goal of memorizing every single line of [your favorite holiday movie.]

I’ll be back in front of my computer on [date] and will respond to your message at that time. If you need immediate assistance, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email] so that the other elves in this workshop can help you out.

Happy ho-ho-holidays!

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Will Be Checking Emails

Hello,

I’m out of the office until [date].

However, I will be taking periodic breaks from binge-watching everything I’ve missed to check my email [once per day/every evening/occasionally] while I’m away.

If this matter isn’t time-sensitive, rest assured that I’ll respond when I’m back in the office. But, if this is an urgent request, please resend any messages that require my immediate attention with a subject line of “URGENT: [Original Subject]”.

All the best,

[Your Name]

Whether you prefer to stick with something simple or have a little fun with your holiday out-of-office message, it’s important that you always make sure to at least include the basics in your email templates: your return date and an alternative contact people can reach out to for urgent matters. Then, all that’s left to do is turn it on before you abandon your desk.


Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about potential out-of-office emails or big career changes. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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