Pique Emails

  • Work from home tips

    Amidst the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, your company might have instituted a work from home policy.

    Not used to working from home? For some of you, it’s what you’ve been craving. (Even if it’s coming under the wrong circumstances.)

    For others, it’s your worst work nightmare.

    A few tips to make it work for you in the coming weeks, whichever camp you fall into:

    Define WFH success for yourself

    Ask yourself what you really want this time to be about. Is it using this opportunity to knock out projects that require a lot of focus? Is it proving to your boss that you can handle working from home even after this has passed? Or — if you’re being honest — is it using this opportunity to do the bare minimum and be okay with that?

    Whatever you decide, commit to it and like your decision. Don’t hold yourself to a standard that you don’t intend to meet and then beat yourself up.

    Decide ahead of time what parameters you’ll set for yourself

    Sweats or no? Netflix midday or only after 6pm? Taking advantage of the ability to put in a load of laundry during the day or nah? People love to give “one size fits all” advice on this kind of thing, but I recommend that you generate your own decisions. (I give this advice while wearing workout clothes…)

    Rework your commute time

    Decide how you’ll use your extra time that you normally spend commuting. Will you use it to put extra hours into your job, to pursue personal projects that you’ve put on the back burner, or to catch up on sleep? Again, decide ahead of time, and like your decision.

    Practice your ideal habits

    Consider using this as an opportunity to practice habits that you’d like to keep up in the office. Want to train yourself to focus for an hour at a time? Practice with fewer in-person distractions. Want to be a more effective written communicator who sets expectations clearly? Practice on Slack. Want to start and end meetings on time? Practice with yourself, with your scheduled work blocks. Want to be able to say no to eating when there’s food available? Practice with your fridge.

    Focus on what you can control

    Who sends you emails and when, conferences being cancelled, and clients bailing on meetings is not in your control. Focus your attention on what you can control instead — your routine, your focus, and your work ethic — and allow the rest to be as chaotic as it needs to be right now.

    Schedule wisely

    Without the separation of a commute, some people feel like their work bleeds into their personal life and vice versa. Set working hours and scheduled breaks for yourself, then stick to them.

    Beat isolation

    Consider setting up two kinds of virtual get-togethers:

    1. “Walk and talks”: Turn a scheduled phone call into a walking meeting so that you can get some fresh air and get your blood pumping. I recommend asking the other person if they’re comfortable with you taking the call while on a walk, then putting in headphones that don’t pick up a lot of background noise and pulling up Evernote so that you can jot down any action items or ideas as you walk.
    2. Remote coworking sessions: Get a group of friends or coworkers together on Zoom video. Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk through my method for getting into a deep work state, step by step. Do a quick round robin where you each share what result you’ll have by the end of an hour, then set a timer for 60 minutes, mute yourselves, and go heads down for the hour, checking in at the end for accountability. Repeat as needed.

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  • Your #1 challenge, job search tips during coronavirus, + owning all of your feelings

    A bit of vulnerability:

    Today, I’m starting by getting a little vulnerable. It feels odd to admit it, but I am really calm right now, despite of (or because of?) coronavirus. I feel grounded, energized, and committed. That’s my reality right now, and I like it. I share this with absolutely no agenda for you to feel the same way.

    If you’ve been around here awhile, you’re familiar with the concept that thoughts create feelings. No thoughts are good or bad; they just create feelings. Some of these are feelings that we want to feel; others are feelings that we’d rather not feel (but still need to understand and process through).

    So, if you’re feeling anxious, sad, scared, angry, or lonely, let yourself feel all of those things. It doesn’t mean you have to react to them; just sit with them and see what thought is creating them for you. It might be thoughts like, “This is a scary time,” “I’m nervous for my loved ones,” or “I can’t be at home like this any longer.”

    I’m thinking some thoughts like that, and I’m also thinking thoughts like “I have resources that people need,” “This is an amazing time to know how to manage my mind,” and “It’s go time.” Those thoughts are also okay.

    What I’m really saying is this: If you feel like you need permission to feel how you’re feeling, whatever that is — permission granted :)

    Social media recaps:

    Humility and non-judgment?

    I posted this on my personal Facebook account and wanted to re-share it here.

    It occurred to me that my most powerful, productive coronavirus conversations over the last few days have been filled with humility and non-judgment.We’re all doing our best to digest a lot of information, some of which is contradictory. Because of that and because of our views, all of us end up taking different degrees of precautions during this time.I know very few people who respond well to shaming. So: I’m so curious what would happen if we all had fewer conversations fueled by hate, frustration, and judgment, and more conversations fueled by connection, humility, curiosity, and non-judgment.Like genuinely asking each other what’s working and what’s not during this time. Sharing the recommendations that we’ve heard and the resources we’ve come across. And being kind to people, even when we don’t feel like they’re doing the “right” thing.

    Stay healthy, stay safe, stay connected!

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  • 4 tips for managers with newly-remote teams

    Here are the four tips that my clients who lead revenue teams most needed to hear:

    Communicate expectations 

    Does your team know what you expect from them when they’re working from home?

    I’ve spoken to sales leaders who have told me that their teams keep pinging them when they are taking a break or using the bathroom. 

    When people aren’t used to working from home, they feel the need to prove that they’re working, instead of just working.

    So, my challenge to you as a sales leader: Have you communicated expectations to your team? Have you made it clear how you’ll be measuring their success? And — if I polled all of them, would they give the same answer? 

    If not: Spend 10 minutes thinking about your answers to my questions, then communicate them to your team by EOD.

    Practice what you preach 

    A big source of guilt right now for many of my clients who lead teams is that they’re spinning out while trying to keep their teams calm. They’ve lost their footing while expecting their teams to stay grounded, and that discrepancy leads them to be annoyed at themselves. 

    Is one of your values transparency? Share your fears. Do you talk often about the power of people having routines? Make sure you’re adhering to yours. Are focus, boundaries, and trust top priorities for you? Stop pinging your team 24/7. (I see you.) 

    In short, practice what you preach, even if it’s imperfect. 

    Implement the Golden Hour

    Did you know that — even before coronavirus — 70% of employees say they’re distracted at work; even short interruptions can double employee error rates; and 2+ hours per person per day are lost due to interruptions and distractions? That’s a heck of a lot of money left on the table.  

    There’s a solution. The Golden Hour is one hour per day, team-wide, no exceptions, where team members (including you!) do focused, important work. That means Slack and email are turned off; no text messages; and no mindless social media scrolling. 

    Consider doing this during a time of day when your team doesn’t get a lot of phone pickups, and think about doing it on Zoom for increased accountability. 

    Pass on the deep work guide

    Below, you’ll find the guide for getting into a deep work state in 15 minutes. I’m slightly biased, but I think it’s an extremely powerful, one-stop method for knocking out important, high-impact work. 

    So don’t keep it just for you! Direct your team to piquecoaching.co/deepworkstate — it will serve as a gentle reminder that you have their best interests in mind right now. And as a bonus, it will give you a bit more breathing room, because they’ll be too busy focusing to tell you they’re going to take a bathroom break 🎉

    Need additional tips or interested in having me host a virtual workshop with your team? Don’t hesitate to reach out: hello@piquecoaching.co.

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