How Our Remote Team Tackles Productivity: Original Tips and Insights
Insights — by BB Team
In this article, we delve into the relationship between productivity and creativity, offering a fresh perspective with unconventional tips from our remote team here at BB Agency. As you’ll soon discover, productivity is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Through these insightful suggestions, we aim to inspire you to uncover your unique path to being productive.
Productivity & Remote Work
Remote work presents unique challenges and opportunities – potentially, our productivity can be affected by a lack of structure, isolation, or distractions. So, remote work demands a special blend of self-discipline and focus. It also means we get the freedom to shape our work environments to our liking, tap into our creativity, and unlock our full potential.
We aim to motivate and inspire individuals to learn about new productivity techniques, tools, and strategies that suit their unique work styles, especially in the context of flexible working hours.
Gems of Wisdom from the Talented BB Team
To give you a taste of what we mean, we asked our talented team members to spill the beans on their most effective tips and tricks for staying focused, organized, and motivated in their work. So, without further ado, here are the valuable insights they shared with us.
Elena Kvasova, UX Researcher
First things first
- I don’t postpone tedious tasks till the end of the day; I tackle them first! It might seem easier to approach the more interesting things in the morning, but it’s not like that. Keeping tedious work for the end of the day bears the risk of postponing it for tomorrow, given that at the end of the day, we have less energy.
Sprints, not marathons
- I split tedious tasks into pieces with short breaks between them, trying to keep the focus time slots short enough not to get bored but long enough to be able to focus deeply.
Distractions – Off
- While working, I put my gadgets to “do not disturb” mode and listen to music that helps to concentrate.
- When the tasks are done, I reward myself, e.g. make 30 min break to do something I enjoy, like going for a short walk or grabbing a cup of tea.
Adrian Morić, UX Design Team Lead
Adjust music to the task ahead
- If the task is well-defined and something that I need to grind through, then it’s time for something fast and heavy.
- If I need to work on something more exploratory and need to research the theme before execution, then it’s something for something smooth or ambiental.
Keep everything in one (or two) places/apps
- I keep my notes, ideas, and personal tasks in the same tools we use as an agency on a daily basis, almighty Notion and Figma. This allows me to access information faster in case I need to transfer something or just expand on something but also keeps me in the constant loop so I update my personal spaces more regularly.
Matej Justić, CEO
- Firstly, I dive into my emails each morning, sifting through the inbox to swiftly identify all matters requiring immediate action. This enables me to keep my finger on the pulse and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
- These serve as platforms for dialogue, idea exchange, and problem-solving that drive the innovative culture of our digital agency. Together, we lay out our daily and weekly goals, strategizing and brainstorming ways to maximize our output and impact. A strong, collaborative relationship with the team is a cornerstone of our success.
- Some digital organizational tools like online to-do lists and calendars help me track tasks, monitor progress, and ensure that even the smallest tasks get noticed.
- I’ve found working in 1-hour bursts to be highly effective. During these periods, I prefer silence or a subtle ambience to maintain laser-like focus.
Filip Justić, Head of the Design Department
Music or podcasts
- If I’m not listening to music, sometimes I’ll tune into podcasts which significantly assisted me in entering and staying in the zone of focus.
Limiting meetings and notifications
- Limiting the number of meetings you have in a day, or scheduling dedicated times for meetings and work, can be incredibly helpful. Also, it’s vital to have at least 3 to 4 hours of focused time each day – a period free of interruptions, Slack messages, emails, and phone distractions, where you concentrate solely on your tasks.
Variety of work tasks
- Engaging in multiple projects or different initiatives stimulates different parts of your brain. Working on one project can become monotonous, so it’s good to spice things up occasionally. You might, for example, work on projects for a while and then spend some time on internal matters. Also, stepping out of your comfort zone can boost your energy levels, but be careful to balance this, as being outside your comfort zone for too long can become stressful.
- Investing in an adjustable standing desk has also improved my energy levels. I often switch between standing and sitting.
Bruno Bartolić, Copywriter
Organization via Post-it notes
- No fancy programs, but a routine, a clean desk, and Post-it notes have always been a friend. The feeling when you remove one because the task is done is the best.
Set goals and complete tasks
- As a proactive creative, I set random tasks for myself to accomplish something each day. It can be anything that allows you to take down a Post-it note.
If it’s not working, it’s not working
- If you have a block, you have a block. Take a break, read a book, think about something else, whatever it takes to clear your mind. Usually, it’s best to clear your mind other tasks on your agenda. Also, have a hobby unrelated to work.
Find a greater purpose in everything you do
- I always tried to identify with the client and “become” a part of the brand. Having that emotional connection with the client or the project is quite beneficial for productivity. It drives you to do your best, to make it meaningful. I always think about how they started, those initial happy moments of the people who created the brand, and their first successes, and then I try to “be a part” of that to empathize with their emotions and do the job properly.
Ana Tomašić, Head of People and Culture
Focus Time with a Twist
- We all need focus time, but I try to make mine more exciting! Instead of setting a traditional timer, I choose a favorite music album or a playlist as my timer. The challenge is to avoid getting disturbed (especially by emails or Slack notifications) before the album or playlist ends. It adds a fun element and keeps me focused.
The Magical “Do Not Disturb” sign
- If you work from home with a hyperactive small kid, a “Do Not Disturb” sign can work wonders. I found a quirky, funny toy and put it on the handle of my room when I need uninterrupted work time (especially when having interviews). It’s a fun and visible way to let everyone know I mean business.
The Yoga Break
- Huge fan of the benefits of yoga, but I often can’t find the time or energy after working hours since I am focused on my family then. So twice a day during working hours, I make small breaks with small yoga or meditating sessions, at most 10-15 minutes – just enough to instantly boost your mood and revitalize your energy for the rest of the day.
The “One Thing” Method
- I start each day by identifying the one thing I absolutely must accomplish. I focus all my energy and effort on completing that task before moving on to others.
Denislav Jeliazkov, Product Designer:
- I try to keep my productivity system quite simple to eliminate unnecessary decision-making and create a structure that allows me to focus on tasks more efficiently. A simple routine reduces cognitive load. When your routine becomes second nature, you don’t waste mental energy on figuring out what to do next or how to approach certain tasks.
The day before
- My productive day begins the night before; I lay out and plan everything I need to do the following day and outline the tasks, blockers, and anything lurking in my head for this project.
- My morning focus block is 3 sessions of 40 min focused time and 10 min rest in between (usually, I go over these 40 minutes as I am in the zone).
Andrea Montini, Senior UI Designer:
- I usually plan my daily activities using time blocks. Typically, each time block lasts 45 minutes, and I try to add a 15-minute break between each one. During these breaks, I stand up and stretch, have a snack or drink, and take a few extra minutes to relax my brain.
- I think about the day as made up of three larger time chunks: morning, afternoon, and evening. So, for example, If I can’t complete all the tasks on my to-do list before lunch, I know there is still time to finish them, and I don’t feel frustrated for having wasted part of the day.
Music and landscape scenery
- When I need to focus and find my creative flow, I like to listen to instrumental music with a low-fi beat. In addition to music, while I work, I also enjoy looking at landscape scenery from the best places around the globe. This provides a visual break and a way to let the mind wander a bit.
Water and breaks
- Make sure to drink water frequently throughout the day: this will ensure that you get up and move around (even if you only have to go to the bathroom 😀). Taking small breaks is essential for maintaining productivity.
So there you have it, a whirlwind of unconventional productivity tips from the creative minds at BB Agency!
Remember, there’s no cookie-cutter approach to staying productive. Take a page from our book, embrace your uniqueness, explore, experiment, and find what works for you.
You’ve got this! ✨