There’s really no one way to crack this and if it’s an environment that you’re already really familiar with, there may be nothing to crack.
However, if it’s a new world for you and you’re struggling for motivation, structure or efficiency –
First off, give yourself a break for finding it hard as this is an unprecedented, difficult and stressful time for everyone.
Secondly, there’s tons of advice online that’s incredibly helpful. Use it.
Thirdly, have a look at my contribution below.
I’m an old hand at working from home and this “spine” has always served me well, keeping me energised, motivated, sane and happy. What more could you want?
Your HIIT plan:
1. Prepare right
Never go into the day blind. Spend 5-10 minutes at the end of your previous working day to plan the next day. As well as creating a clear “To Do” with chronology (usually start with some simple quick wins to warm you up), be clear about your overall purpose for the day, articulate it and commit it to paper.
After you wake up, don’t stumble straight into the working day. To be efficient, you need your mind, voice and body to be working in tandem. I like to start with 2 simple exercises:
(i) Spine roll – benefits:
This helps you achieve a nice, natural, open state of alignment, drops the breath, and releases tension in the body.
Exhaling on ‘ffffffff’, roll down through the spine head first, vertebrate by vertebrate, breathing when you need to. When you inhale, think of breathing into the back space. When flopped over, feel the expansion of your back as you inhale through the nose. Each time you exhale, release a bit more. Allow your neck and shoulders to hang free. Then roll up, vertebrate by vertebrate, the head being the last thing to rise.
(ii) Facial Warm-up –
You might have an early phone/video call – make sure that it’s not the first time that you’ve used your voice and wake up the articulators!
Spend 15-30 minutes doing some exercise of your choice. If you’re stuck for ideas, there’s PLENTY of inspiration on Youtube.
Pretty self explanatory!
5. Breakfast over music
I’m not going to lay it on thick with any dietary advice. You do you – but don’t do it over the laptop. It’s important to maintain clear barriers when working from home as the danger can be that there’s no distinction between working and not working.
6. Morning Work
Again, this is your area of expertise so I won’t stick my two-penneth in! However, stick to the plan made the day before, allowing for flexibility, of course- it’s not the boss of you. Also, take a short break every 45 mins to get up from your chair/screen and move.
Have what you like. Of course, the healthier the better, but again, not my area of expertise so I’m not going to preach! BUT, I will insist on doing it away from any screens or work. It’s not about being lazy. It’s about drawing clear distinctions. When you’re working, really go at it, hard, focused and efficient. I liken it to HIIT training at the gym. When you’re not working, be strict about it and recuperate just as hard.
8. Warm back-up
Don’t go back in cold. Re-energise, re-focus and start the afternoon with purpose, avoiding the post lunch slump. Use the 2 simple warm-up exercises from the morning.
9. Afternoon work
You know the score – but start by reminding yourself of your purpose and stick to the short, sharp breaks every 45.
10. Plan tomorrow
It’s tempting to get straight on with your evening so make sure that you schedule in 5-10 minutes to plan the next day being clear about purpose as well as the chronology of your “To do” list.
Close your laptop, tidy up your working space and leave the house for a little fresh air to de-compress. You’ve earned it. You’ll need it. It’s also a really effective way to punctuate the end of the working day and the beginning of your evening.
And that, humbly, is how I do it.
It’s not rocket science. Nothing will blow your mind and nothing’s unheard of but I find it very effective so I thought I’d share.
The key points to note are starting the day with purpose; factoring in time to warm-up mentally, vocally and physically; AND keeping clear distinctions between working and non-working time.
When you’re on, go at it hard. When you’re off, really make sure that you’re off. Otherwise it can all bleed into one and, trust me, it will affect the quality of your work, health and happiness.
Try it out. I’d love to hear how you get on.
From our clients
The Speakers’ Gym is like the iPhone. You don’t realise you need it until you have it, and then you can’t live without it.
Magda Gonzalez, Group CFO, Monex Europe
It was completely practical and the open-forum feedback was so valuable. You created a safe environment for everyone to learn. Thank you!
Nicola Koronka, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Missive
I was recommended by a friend who works in the same sector to contact The Speakers’ Gym to help me with my presentation delivery skills and I have not been disappointed with the results. Chris and Jonny work with you to provide bespoke training for your goals and needs. They are highly professional and make you feel at ease from the first minute the first session begins. I would highly recommend them to those who have a role which involves public speaking!
Julia Peake,Technical Development Manager, Sanlam
It has challenged both my thinking and approach and I will be sure to keep The Speakers’ Gym ‘fireworks’ readily available on my desk to refer to when not only presenting but also when needed through everyday management.
Liz Paradine – Chief Operations Manager - 7iM
Transact first engaged with The Speaker Gym late in 2018 where Chris & Jonny made a concerted effort to get under the skin of our business and understand how they could best help us hone our presentational and empathetic skills. The resulting sessions were hugely helpful giving my team plenty of opportunity to practice and also benefit from a great deal of feedback, not just from Chris & Jonny but by including the rest of the Transact team in the feedback and group learning too. I would highly recommend The Speakers Gym
Glen Sweet, Head of Sales, Transact
Working with The Speakers’ Gym has been fantastic. We knew what we wanted to say and who we wanted to speak to, so all we needed was technique. Or so we thought. Chris and Jonny helped us to understand the key elements of communication, through a structured process. We now think about communication in a completely different way. There’s a line they gave us that now resonates in my head, every time I write or talk to someone about what we do. We feel we’ve met two great guys and they’ve become an important part of us, our story and how we tell it to others.
Thomas Skinner, Founder, Barnaby Cecil Financial Planning
The impact of The Speakers’ Gym™ at Mako can only be described as transformational. Over a three month period, they helped transition a group of individuals into a highly collaborative and consultative leadership team. Chris and Jonny have a unique ability to connect individuals with their true purpose, driving them towards self-reflection and ultimately growth. Overall the entire experience of working with them has been a pleasure and I am deeply grateful for their impact. They more than surpassed my expectations and I look forward to working with them again in the future!
Trystan Morgan-Schauer, CEO, Mako
We engaged The Speakers’ Gym to provide us with clarity and direction in the look, feel and messaging of the Worldmaker brand in preparation for our official launch. From start to finish, the process has been truly collaborative. They worked with the expertise and experience in our team to create branding that truly represents who we are and what we represent, whilst moving us into a more modern, expressive space – which was our desire. We know that we’re in great hands with The Speakers’ Gym. We’ll certainly be continuing to work with them
Mollie Marti, CEO, Worldmaker International
They first took the time to understand our brief and delivered the programme incorporating our culture and brand throughout. They were thought provoking and their unique techniques very well received.
Mairi Cameron, Learning Manager, Nucleus Financial
The Speakers’ Gym gave me the skills and confidence to be my normal self whilst speaking and facilitating. They took the anxiety out of public speaking and gave me practical tools to prepare for and manage public engagements. They also helped me to engage more meaningfully with my clients, for which I am thankful. Highly recommend them.
Matthew Marais, Director, Vertus Capital
I found the sessions to be a revelation, and I wish I had known some of the techniques sooner. It has completely changed my mindset and focused me in on the needs of the audience. With that, the ability to achieve those aspirations has come more naturally. There is always room for improvement, and I will definitely be revisiting The Speakers’ Gym for a refresher from time to time.
Kelly Devlin, Wealth Management Consultant - St. James’s Place Wealth Management