Want to hear something ironic? I’m writing this blog post while listening to my dog…
Friends, chances are you’re reading this blog post from your living room, your kitchen, or maybe the spare closet in the guest room. Yes, chances are you’re working from home during COVID19. If you have never worked from home before, you’re likely going through a bit of shell-shock on how to optimize your time and keep your sanity; especially if you have a spouse also working from home and kids playing/learning from home as well.
I’ve penned quite a few posts over the years about working from home as I’ve been very blessed to have worked from home for several years now. For me, it works. However working from home is not for everyone. I find it works better for introverts as it decreases distractions. Extroverts require other people around to get their energy boost and creativity.
Working from home during COVID19 somes with its unique challenges as well, so many of these tips are not your “run of the mill” work from home tips (you can find those in my other posts).
What makes this situation different? In one word – distractions. So let’s brainstorm on how we can optimize our time and decrease our distraction while working from home during COVID19:
- Set boundaries – more than ever, you must sit down with the other members of your household and explain your new work from home set up. Set boundaries around distractions and noise levels near your chosen work space
- Create a helper calendar – With more people in the house, more messes will be made and more cooking required. Don’t get sucked into doing housework and chores all day when you should be working. Create a cleaning/cooking calendar for your family members and work together to create an orderly environment
- Manage your own calendar – with so many distractions at home, its critical that you manage your work calendar accordingly. Schedule time blocks where you’ll work on certain projects, and not answer the phone, tend to family members or even check your emails
- Manage your daily work commitments – with the rise of Zoom meetings and webinars, you could easily get stuck on a never-ending rollercoaster of back-to-back virtual meetings. Be strategic about the meetings and webinars you take on, leaving time for you to work on the follow up and the rest of your tasks
- Invest in some good quality headphones – this will help to eliminate distractions from the house
- Stay in touch with leadership – respectfully ask to get on your leader’s schedule for a regular check-in call. You may cover a multitude of topics including:
- state of the union at your organization
- seek advice and create a mentoring moment with your leader
- Stay in touch with colleagues and friends- especially if you’ve been furloughed, please ensure you carve out time, each and every day, to connect with past or present colleagues, and some trusted friends. This isn’t a work-from-home tip, this is a life survival tip. Schedule them into your calendar, it’s a non-negotiable.
Don’t forget about these tried-but-true favourites when working from home:
- Get dressed in the morning – simulate your “go to work” routine as much as possible to put you in the mental state to work. Put on makeup, pour yourself a cup of espesso and settle in.
- Morning routine – if you don’t have one yet, start one! Get your head in the right space to work by meditating, exercising, journalling and setting your goals for the day. I did a quick post about my morning routine some time ago, and I’m also a student of the Miracle Morning habits
- Carve out a dedicated work space – Try to find a space away from spouse, away from kids, away from as many distractions as possible
- Set your hours – just as you would in an office setting, ensure you set your hours each day to avoid working 24/7
- Set your daily intentions – by having some goals to abide by, you’re already ahead of the distraction game!
- Get some fresh air – unless you’re quarantine due to recent illness or exposure to other COVID19 patients, taking regular breaks and getting outside will decrease your anxiety and increase your creativity when you get back to your desk
- Get regular exercise – this is a stressful time even without your entire family piling on top of you at home! Shake off some stress and clear your mind with regular exercise. If you’re in an area that allows, go for an outdoor walk, run or bike ride to get away from it all and clear your head
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