Posted by: John Kormanik on Mar 25, 2020

John R. Kormanik, Lead Guide
Kormanik Coaching Services –
Kormanik & Sneed LLP – Partner –
As I write this post (Thursday, March 19, 2020), we have begun to feel the effects of the measures being taken to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week I have worked almost exclusively from home and wanted to share some thoughts on how to make doing so productive. Of course, I don’t have all the answers, but what I suggest below, has worked for me. Try it on for size if you’re in the #AloneTogether boat; we may be here for a while (hopefully not as long as Tom Hanks in Castaway long, but….).
Read to the end to find out why I purposefully used the word “curveball”!

1. Make a Schedule 
If you’re unfamiliar with working from home, it can feel like you are untethered. When we walk out of our homes and go to our offices, the change in geography and scenery tells our brains it is time to work. At home, simply changing rooms or sitting down at the computer at the breakfast bar (yes, the latter is me) and telling ourselves it is time to work, well, just doesn’t work!
Since I’ve begun my work from home routine, I have created a schedule, so I get my most thought-intensive work done at my most productive time of day … before noon. And this time is not just my most productive time; according to an article in Forbes, the most productive time of day is 11 a.m. and the most productive period of the day is between 7 a.m. and noon. The article confirms the reality of the “post-lunch” afternoon dip in productivity as well.
Before I begin my workday, I consider the most intensive things I need to do and schedule them before lunch. Yes, I write them down in my calendar. Oh, and I also put my phone and computer on “do not disturb” so when I put my head down, I’m working.
2. Take a Walk 
Because we’re working from home, it can be easy to forget we need a break after approximately 90-minutes of legitimate head-down work – aka what Darren Hardy refers to as a “jam session.” In the office, we’re (unfortunately) subjected to interruptions and, oftentimes, naturally, take a break to stretch. Not so at home where it can be easy just to continue to sit and work (or surf Facebook).
GET UP. Get outside and “clear the calculator” between tasks. When we put something aside and want to begin a different thing, research shows it takes 23 minutes to refocus. Your brain is on a virtual walk for those 23 minutes, you may as well move your body as well!

3. Leverage Technology
During this time of social isolation and in the interests of public health and wellness, I’ve canceled all of my in-person meetings. But that does not mean I cannot meet with potential and existing clients “face-to-face.” Instead, I have leveraged technology by using Zoom virtual meetings as well as UberConference. Both have free versions and may also have special features during this crisis. Using these tools, you can not only “meet” potential and existing clients, you can also interact with members of your team.
Because it’s 2020, most of us have either the ability to log into our document server at our office via a VPN, or our client files are in the cloud. If you didn’t have the ability to view your case files remotely, I’m certain your firm’s IT department is putting mechanisms into place to enable you to.
Tools like Trello, Microsoft OneNote (shared note repository), and Airtable (cloud-based spreadsheet/database) can also be used by team members to share work on various projects. I use all of these tools and find they are helpful. Multiple users have can access and make entries in these platforms so you can be certain your projects remain on track.
At the end of the day, we’ll all get through this. We need to continue to be productive for the sake of the people we serve – our clients! Hopefully, some of the information here will not only help you to be more productive…but to maintain your sanity as well!
In closing, I also wanted to take the opportunity to let you know: I have begun a new adventure and am now helping guide solo and small firm attorneys in creating vision-based businesses and lives. If you’re curious about it, contact me and I’m happy to see how I can serve you. You can also check my website
Oh, and the reason I used “curveball” in the title of this post is, of course, because of the postponement of the MLB season. Almost every year since we moved to Idaho in 1998, me, my partner Michelle, our daughter Allie, and our dog (first it was Sherwood, then came Maggie, now we have Olive) road-tripped to San Diego for the Padres home opener. We had tickets this year for March 26. That, of course, isn’t happening, but hope springs eternal!