Escape the 9 to 5 Rut With a Virtual Office

If you ask people where they go when they really need to get work done, very few will respond “the office.” If they do say the office, they’ll include a qualifier such as “super early in the morning before anyone gets in” or “I stay late at night after everyone’s left” or “I sneak in on the weekend.”

What they’re trying to tell you is that it is hard to actually get work done at the office. The average office has become the last place people want to be when they really want to get work done during the day. How many Pastors actually study for Sunday in their office? Most have a home-office or office-within-the-office they retreat into.

That’s because offices have become disruption factories.

Meaningful work, creative work, thoughtful work, and important work – this type of effort takes stretches of uninterrupted time to get into the zone. But in most offices, such long stretches just can’t be found. Instead, it’s just one appointment or distraction after another.

Millions of workers and thousands of companies have already discovered the joys and benefits of working remotely.

Is it time your church considered current remote working options?

 

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Remote by Jason Fried and Davis Heinemeier Hansson

The “work from home” phenomenon is thoroughly explored in this illuminating new book from bestselling 37signals founders Fried and Hansson, who point to the surging trend of employees working from home (and anywhere else) and explain the challenges and unexpected benefits. Most important, they show why – with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo — more businesses will want to promote this new model of getting things done.

The Industrial Revolution’s “under one roof” model of conducting work is steadily declining owing to technology that is rapidly creating virtual workspaces and allowing workers to provide their vital contribution without physically clustering together. Today, the new paradigm is “move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace.” According to Reuters, one in five global workers telecommute frequently and nearly 10 percent work from home every day. Moms in particular will welcome this trend. A full 60% wish they had a flexible work option. But companies see advantages too in the way remote work increases their talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens their real estate footprint, and improves the ability to conduct business across multiple time zones, to name just a few advantages. In Remote, iconoclastic authors Fried and Hansson will convince readers that letting all or part of work teams function remotely is a great idea–and they’re going to show precisely how a remote work setup can be accomplished.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

9 to 5 is not just the name of a cheesy but funny 1980 movie; it’s also a practice engrained into our psyche which would have us believe that only during those hours at an office can real work take place.

It’s just not true anymore.

Think about it – if any of your work requires a computer, a few files, and your brainpower, do you really need to be in an office? Could you not just as easily do the work from a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or outside on a beautiful spring day?

Taking that thought further, do you even need to be doing that work in a specified time frame?

If the results of your work are the goal, then it’s time to consider remote work.

Remote work is about setting your team to be free to be the best it can be, whenever and wherever that might be.

Embracing remote work doesn’t mean you can’t have an office; just that it’s not required. It doesn’t mean all your employees can’t live in the same city, just that they don’t have to.

Your organization is probably already working remotely without you even knowing it. When you have legal issues, you probably don’t have lawyers on staff – you outsource the work to a lawyer or a law firm. Unless your organization is large enough for a full accounting staff, you probably outsource some or all of your financial work to a CPA or accounting firm. Human resources? Marketing? Lawn Care? Custodial Services? These are just a few examples of essential business activities being performed by outside people.

Every day this kind of remote work works, and no one considers it risk, reckless, or irresponsible. So why do so many of these same organizations that trust “outsiders” to do their critical work have such a hard time trusting “insiders” to work from home?

Look around inside your organization and notice what work already happens on the outside, or with minimal face-to-face interaction. You may be surprised to discover that your company is more remote than you think.

Jason Fried and Davis Heinemeier Hansson, Remote

A NEXT STEP

Conduct an “audit” of all the different types of work that goes on within your organization using the following process.

On a chart tablet, list all the work that is performed for your organization by an outside individual or group. Beside each item, write the frequency with which it is performed – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. Beside the frequency, list the primary leader in your organization responsible for overseeing that work.

On a second chart tablet, list all the remaining work that is performed in your organization. As before, list both frequency and primary leader by the item.

As a team, review the work done inside your organization, and list up to 10 items that could conceivably be done remotely or outsourced. At this point, you are simply capturing ideas, not working out all the details.

Discuss the list of 10, and come to a consensus of which is most important by ranking them from 1 to 10.

Continuing that discussion, take the top three and list what it would take for that item to be moved from being accomplished onsite during specific hours to offsite or outsourced. Take the necessary steps to make it happen.

After three months, evaluate those three items; adjust as needed. Chose the next three times on the original list of 10, and repeat the process.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 67-2, issued May 2017


 

Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “summary” for church leaders. Each Wednesday I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt here.

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Leaders Curate Ideas

You don’t make a great museum by putting all the art in the world into a single room.

That’s a warehouse.

What makes a museum great is the stuff that’s not on the walls. Someone says no. A curator is involved, making conscious decisions about what should stay and what should go. There’s an editing process. There’s a lot more stuff off the walls than on the walls. The best is a sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities.

It’s the stuff you leave out that matters.

So constantly look for things to remove, simplify, and streamline. Be a curator. Stick to what’s truly essential. Pare things down until you’re left with only the most important stuff. Then do it again. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to.

The inspirational words above come from the book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37signals. If you don’t own it, you should.

The artwork below is by illustrator Mike Rohde.

Be a curator

Both are important to me, as they represent the role I began at Auxano four years ago today – the Vision Room Curator.

My role has expanded in many ways since 2012 – but at the heart of everything I do is the concept of curation. But I don’t curate things – I curate ideas, represented in the image above by the light bulbs. There’s a lot of ideas floating around in the world today – but only a few need to be turned on.

Being a curator may be my vocational role, but it’s also something every leader needs to practice.

What will you curate today?

 

 

 

Conquering Your To-Do List

Long to-do lists are guilt trips. The longer the list of unfinished items, the worse you feel about it. And at a certain point, you just stop looking at it because it makes you feel bad. Then you stress out and the whole thing turns into a big mess.     – Jason Fried, Rework

Lists and I have a love-hate relationship. I love to make them and I hate to get them done.

Before you write me off as a lazy sloth who never gets anything done, a little explanation. I live by my calendar – the one that resides on my laptop and magically updates itself on my mobile phone. All my work: regular daily duties, special projects (broken down by item), future projects, projects under development, projects that are just a few words – they are all on my calendar. That kind of list gets done.

It’s the other kind I’m talking about.

It’s possible to think of a calendar as a list, but I see lists in a different way. Lists are the different colored Post-It notes affixed to various surfaces of my workspace. They are the legal pads with a line – or a page – of notes about something I’m thinking about or working on. The very important lists are those that have made it to journal stage – a protracted, in-depth series of thoughts, actions, and ideas bound between two pieces of cardboard.

No matter what you call them, I suppose they are all lists of some sort.

With all these lists occupying space, it’s easy to fall into the trap described by Jason Fried above. His solution?

Whenever you can, divide problems into smaller and smaller pieces until you’re able to deal with them completely and quickly. Simply rearranging your tasks this way can have an amazing impact on your productivity and motivation.

Now we’re on to something! Instead of a list with 100 items on it, I can have 10 lists of 10 items each. The intent is that you can quickly move through the list and then toss it when it’s done.

Fried acknowledges that you still have the same amount of stuff left to do. But the smaller picture of a list with 10 items gives you satisfaction, motivation, and progress.

And that gives you a Done list.

Isn’t that your goal?

inspired by and adapted from Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Rework

Be a Curator

You don’t make a great museum by putting all the art in the world into a single room. 

That’s a warehouse

What makes a museum great is the stuff that’s not on the walls. Someone says no. A curator is involved, making conscious decisions about what should stay and what should go. There’s an editing process. There’s a lot more stuff off the walls than on the walls. The best is a sub-sub-subset of all the possibilities.

It’s the stuff you leave out that matters.

So constantly look for things to remove, simplify, and streamline. Be a curator. Stick to what’s truly essential. Pare things down until you’re left with only the most important stuff. Then do it again. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to.

What will you curate today?

The inspirational words above come from the book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier, the founders of 37signals.

If you don’t own it, you should.

The artwork is by illustrator Mike Rohde.

 

 

 

 

Long Lists Don’t Get Done

Start making smaller to-do lists. Long lists collect dust.

When’s the last time you finished a long list of things? You might have knocked off the first few, but chances are you eventually abandoned it (or blindly checked off items that weren’t really done properly).

Long lists are guilt trips. The longer the list of unfinished items, the worse you feel about it. And at a certain point, you just stop looking at it because it makes you feel bad. Then you stress out and the whole thing turns into a big mess.

There’s a better way. Break that long list down into a bunch of smaller lists. For example, break a single list of a hundred items into ten lists of ten items. That means when you finish an item on a list, you’ve completed 10 percent of that list, instead of 1 percent.

Yes, you still have the same amount of stuff left to do. But know you can look at the small picture and find satisfactions, motivation, and progress. That’s a lot better than staring at the huge picture and being terrified and demoralized.

Whenever you can, divide problems into smaller and smaller pieces until you’re able to deal with them completely and quickly. Simply rearranging your tasks this way can have an amazing impact on your productivity and motivation.

And a quick suggestion about prioritization: Don’t prioritize with numbers or labels. Avoid saying, “This is high priority, this is low priority.” Likewise, don’t say, “This is a three, this is a two, this is a one, this is a three,” etc. Do that and you’ll almost always end up with a ton of really high-priority things. That’s not really prioritizing.

Instead, prioritize visually. Put the most important thing at the top. When you’re done with that, the next thing on the list becomes the next most important thing. That way you’ll only have a single next most important thing to do at one time.

And that’s enough.

 

The inspirational words above come from the book “Rework,” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of 37signals.

                           If you don’t own it, you should. 

The artwork is by illustrator Mike Rohde.

Inspiration is perishable

We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever.

What doesn’t last forever is inspiration. Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: it has an expiration date.

If you want to do something, you’ve got to do it now. You can’t put it on a shelf and wait two months to get around to it. You can’t just say you’ll do it later. Later, you won’t be pumped up about it anymore.

If you’re inspired on a Friday, swear off the weekend and dive into the project. When you’re high on inspiration, you can get two weeks of work done in twenty-four hours. Inspiration is a time machine in that way.

 

Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. But it won’t wait for you. inspiration is a now thing. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.

The inspirational words above come from the book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier, the founders of 37signals.

If you don’t own it, you should.

The artwork is by illustrator Mike Rohde.