As many of you may have ventured into the world of working from home last week, I thought I’d share a couple tips and things that have worked for me. I’ve shared similar posts like this in the past, but this one will be slightly amended to fit the current climate of what is going on in the world.
I’ve worked for myself, from home, full-time for going on seven years. I took the leap to put all my time and energy into my business back in 2013 and haven’t looked back since! WFH is a great fit for me. I enjoy working by myself, am a total homebody, and am most productive in an environment that I can control. While some of you may be enjoying this experience with changing up your work environment, others of you may be struggling to get into a rhythm. It’s a huge transition and can take some time to get used to. Add in having kids home 24/7, a spouse also working from home, and everything else on our plates…it’s a lot.
I’m actually finding myself having a hard time getting into a rhythm with my work schedule. A lot of that is due to the fact that I’m adjusting my content and what I’m focusing on as a response to the coronavirus and current events, but also because it’s not a great time to be a small business with non-essential products for sale! I’m finding myself easily distracted, too, by my personal emotions and feelings that I’m processing with everything. So, know that you’re not alone if work is difficult for you right now.
Okay, on to the few tips and pointers that I have:
Set up some sort of schedule for your day/week
This will look different for everyone. For some, it’s as simple as setting an alarm in the morning and starting work at a specific time. For others, it may mean mapping out your day, hour-by-hour, to accommodate your children and spouse that are also at home. I’ve found that setting an alarm and waking up at the same time every day has helped me this past week. It allows me to start my day with intention and get into some sort of routine.
Have a designated work space
This is one of my biggest tips for successfully working from home. Even in my tiny apartment in Chicago, working out of my tiny bedroom, I had a desk with all my work supplies and things set up. As soon as I would sit down to it, my brain would make the shift into work mode and I would be much more productive. If you’re not used to WFH and don’t have a home office, try setting up a card table in a spare room, moving a kitchen table into the basement, or setting up a little tray table in your bedroom. It doesn’t have to be fancy or how you would normally do it, but I promise you that having a set space that you will do your work from will make a difference!
Take breaks throughout the day
I, for one, felt bogged down emotionally and mentally the last week. I was consuming way too much news coverage (I think there’s a healthy balance between being informed/up-to-speed and overdoing it) and allowing myself to get caught up in all the “what if’s” and wondering how this will all play out and it took its toll on me. By the end of the week, I made it a personal mission to take breaks throughout the day to do something I enjoyed. My options are quite limited, but I found that getting outside and going on a walk helped a lot. Take a break for lunch (don’t eat at your workspace, if you can avoid it!), to make a second cup of coffee at home, to check in on your friends and family, etc. Even if it’s a 5 minute break, having those moments for your brain to rest and to take a couple deep breaths will allow you to feel refreshed when you sit back down to work.
Lower your expectations.
I feel like many of us put a lot of expectations on ourselves for this time of self-containment/social distancing. All of the sudden, we have to homeschool our kids for 8 hours a day, work full-time at home, cook three meals a day, and keep everyone healthy. For me, I instantly felt like I needed to make the most of this time at home and get all the things done and be super productive. The problem? I put so much expectation on myself that I inadvertently paralyzed myself from being able to get much of anything done! All last week, I would get to the end of my “work day”and feel like I hadn’t accomplished anything of value. I had so many things I wanted to do/felt that I needed to do that I wasn’t able to put all my effort into anything and was left feeling like it was a waste of a work week.
Certainly, this will look different for everyone. If you have quotas or goals you’re supposed to hit for work, you should still hit those. If you want your kids to be on a structured homeschool schedule, you should do that. But also allow some grace into your life and your new normal. We’re all figuring this stuff out each day – it’s okay to take a minute (or a day, week) to find a groove and figure out what works best for this time.
At the end of the day, all we can do is try our best. Some days, you may be able to absolutely crush it and feel like you’ve got a handle on things. Other days may be a bit more difficult or discouraging. What matters most, though, is knowing that you put your best foot forward and made the effort you know you’re capable of.
We’re all in this together!