This week in #bufferchat, we explored our different working styles with our guest Bhavani Esapathi, the founder of The Invisible Labs! In the discussion, we talked about our ideal working schedules, when/where we’re most productive, and what the future of work could look like.

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone in other timezones that like this time the best!): 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (California time)

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Q1: What’s your usual working day or schedule look like?

From Bhavani:

  • My working life is structured based on my with – what are some of your motivations?
  • I’m currently on from my leather couch which I got hoping it wouldn’t sink me into comfort to help me keep hustling!
  • My days are all different, some are chaotic filled with meetings & traveling and others in solitude in front of my laptop.
  • But I am more curious to hear what’s the most consistent habit in your working day?

From the community:

  • “Morning is writing and content creation, afternoon is connection, evening is planning for tomorrow.” @kristlyuen
  • “Diapers, coffee, twitter, blogging, coffee, photoshop, emails, Elmo’s song, coffee. Not always in that order. @rhizaoyos
  • “Start with coffee ritual. Triage new tasks. Combine w/ leftovers from prev day & re-prioritize. Pup walk. Guitar.” @dev_vine
  • “I work from 6:30-8:30 AM, volunteer for a few hours, & pick work back up in the afternoon/evening.” @CarrieKintz
  • “Up at 6, light breakfast, coffee, journal + affirmations, workout, desk at 8. AM: big tasks PM: lighter tasks. Finish at 5/6.” @LivingAbstracts

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: When and where are you most productive? Does this align with how your company is structured?

From Bhavani:

  • I’m most productive in the mornings for hard work & evenings for ideas which will be executed the next morning.
  • Because I work at the comfort of my home the only thing I need to be mindful of are time zones.
  • A lot of people seem to do admin in the mornings & get into the real stuff later. Why?

From the community:

  • “When I’m surrounded by motivated people at work or anywhere others are ready to exceed the standard.” @iampete
  • “I’m most productive at home/outside. Working outside makes me the happiest! Unfortunately that is not the current structure.” @NatashaWest_
  • “Productivity increases when I switch between office, home office and starbucks – monotony kills it.” @abbraga
  • “11am-4pm. I like working in our open lunch area; feel distracted at my desk. This does NOT align w/my co. structure.” @Niki_Nadeen
  • “I churn out great work in the early hours while the world is quiet. I like to free up the rest of the day.” @ad_astra11

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: If you could pick your specific work hours, how would you design your schedule?

From Bhavani:

  • I do pick my times & I design weeks instead of days so my week has half meetings & half solitude time.
  • Does anyone else design their weeks instead of just days?
  • I also have one day where I don’t open my Mac at all. Does anyone else have this?
  • I have a theory that writers prefer silent places like libraries & developers/coders thrive in coffee shop. Yay or nay?

From the community:

  • “Summer: start @ 7am & finish at 3pm to enjoy the sun. Winter: in at 9am and out whenever the work is done.” @ideakid88
  • “My perfect work hours would vary from day to day, so that’s a lofty dream haha.” @caseyd2
  • “If I could pick my work schedule, I’d do early like 6-2 or something. I’m an early riser.” @bellametaphor
  • “I would design my schedule around focused, relaxed, and self improvement periods. Breaking the up day is key.” @DeebMark
  • “I would get rid of the concept of “work hours” all together. Focus on completion of tasks & projects. Allows for flexibility.” @RCPatchett

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: How do you balance work time and personal time?

From Bhavani:

  • I don’t think I distinguish between work/life, for me one fuels another. Do you find it unsettling to differentiate too?
  • Work/Personal and my thoughts.
  • Talking about work/life & time zones, does anyone else automate their emails? This has changed my life.
  • My biggest productivity tip while working has been keeping my Mac on ‘do not disturb’ mode, pays off in a HUGE way.

From the community:

  • “I’m a firm believer in doing what you love, so most of my work time is my break from the world. Though family time comes 1st.” @LauraUlrick
  • “I try to set designated hours during the day so I don’t spend endless amounts of time on work.” @easyjabreezy
  • “Remember that your mental health is as important as your physical health. Set aside time for yourself to regenerate.” @winniegiang
  • “By accepting that some days I just will need to rest, and building my flow/plans around that.” @Jess_Tupper
  • “It’s a challenge, and probably the thing I struggle with the most. With a completion-based mindset, it’s hard to relax.” @BasicBon

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: How do you handle stress during your work day?

From Bhavani:

  • I know I’m stressed when I’m unable to come up with solutions, I just stop what I’m doing and go do something automatic.
  • By automatic I mean taking a walk, doing housework etc. when I can switch my mind off to do it’s magic.

From the community:

  • “When I’m stressed, I also avoid coffee, chocolate & stick to lots of herbal tea + veggies + garlic/ginger to stay strong :)” @KatLoughrey
  • “Another great way to get rid of stress is to take a break & go for a walk to refocus your thoughts positively.” @anthonydlarsen
  • “Mindfulness is key. Deep breathing, disconnecting, expressing gratitude & remembering stress = energy.” @TheRoyalTbomb
  • “By staying active. Less sitting and more moving. Even a walk around the office helps!” @Yermzus
  • “When I start to feel stressed or stuck I like to pick up my stuff and go work at another spot. That helps give me a new POV.” @sola_eclipses

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What advice would you give to someone who wants to create their ideal work environment?

From Bhavani:

  • To create your ideal work environment you first need to know what gets you going.
  • Lots of people idealise working on a laptop by the beach but don’t anticipate sunburn, noises etc. that go with it.
  • My ideal env is having the freedom to add elements of surprise in my weeks whenever I choose to which inspires my creativity.
  • Sometimes when I’m stressed I literally get out of the physical space I’m in, it really helps 🙂
  • Does anyone have their ideal work environment outlined yet?

From the community:

  • “Work remotely! It’s honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. You have the freedom to create your work environment!” @LollySpindler
  • “Make your workspace a happy place- so that it’s inviting to you and you look forward to being there.” @contentqueenmel
  • “During the interview be open about it. Make sure you are joining a company willing to work with you.” @kjaymiller
  • “Pay attention. don’t try to fit yourself into what you *think* is ideal, track where/when/how you do your best work.” @AlyssaKorinke
  • “Surround yourself with what makes you energized, motivated, comfortable. Eliminate distractions.” @carriemaslen

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: If you could change one thing about the world of work right now, what would it be?

From Bhavani:

  • I’m rooting for remote working to be the norm for the future of work as well as task-based rather than hourly wages.
  • Is there a best & worst case scenario from current trends you see for the future of work?

From the community:

  • “Embrace a flexible, iterative, collaborative, open & transparent work culture infused with trust that truly puts people first.” @jacobhenenberg
  • “The idea of work itself, that it’s normal to hate your job- no one should hate what they do, be passionately in love with it.” @LauraUlrick
  • “Not being afraid of change and trying new things. Being open to other’s ideas & encouraging creativity.” @SivonDemi
  • “Americans need way more vacation time. I’m an American in England with 5 weeks off. What a difference.” @nicelyj2
  • “Encourage collaboration and teach people to be more supportive of one another.” @ExpWriters
  • “I’d like it to be less judgmental. People are dealing with so much outside of work – we should support one another.” @caseyd2
  • “A great improvement to the American work style: We could all be permitted to try diff roles in company to see what clicks.” @martinjason
  • “Flexibility is key. I think companies need to start rethinking the 9-5 grind and the 40+ hour workweek.” @AndrewMC_2
  • “Focus on employee happiness, require everyone to take at least one full week vacation per year, no checking email!” @RoxanaKate

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Bhavani for sharing her awesome insights and to everyone who participated in this awesome chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am PST, 12 pm EST, 5 pm GMT **OR** at 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10). Join our new Slack community with over 1,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!