Create certainty in an uncertain time
I’ve been working at home for years so when people started asking me how it was going once isolation started I was like, I’m all over this.
My ego got a swift kick to the crotch though when the following was also added to the mix:
- Kids at home again; haven’t had that since they were little
- Effects of isolation on mental health
- Not being able to buy toilet paper. Yep, shit just got real serious. Pun intended😉
Thankfully, I have some tips and tricks to help make the best out of working from home, and I’ve picked up some new ones along the way.
So many people are completely new to remote working, so for you, I hope you find the following helpful:
First and foremost, take the pressure off yourself about how well this will go. Things are completely different so expecting to get the same outcomes that you would usually is unreasonable and only leads to frustration and stress. If you have kids at home this goes to a whole new level. They’re going to make noise, they’re going to interrupt you, and they’re probably going to drive you nuts. They’re kids, nuff said.
We have to accept how things are and do the best we can in an unprecedented situation.
Remember the BBC video where the kids crashed a live interview? That still cracks me up:
2. Stay in touch
Humans are hard-wired to form connections with each other, so isolation literally goes against our biology. In short, it sux and it’s lonely. So for the sake of your mental health, make the effort to communicate not just with those in your household but stay in touch with friends, family and work colleagues.
If you can, reach out to someone who might be stuck at home alone. I at least have my hubby and 2 kids with me, some people are isolated completely by themselves. Check out what Melbourne Storm player Christian Welch has been up to for inspiration.
The list goes on.
3. Get in a routine
This applies to you and your kids.
Establishing some form of routine does provide a sense of security and “normalcy”. It also sets boundaries so the kids don’t think they’re just on holiday but have work to do just like they would at school.
For you, it promotes productivity by getting you in the mindset of “work mode” during work hours. You are not in your normal office though and the kids are not at school. Things are different so having a little flexibility doesn’t hurt but I would at least be firm on start and finish times for the day – work mode and home mode.
4. Set-up a dedicated space
This one follows on from the above. Just like a routine helps establish some boundaries so does a dedicated work-space. If you do your work on your sofa, then the line between work time and home time gets blurred easily. Try to find a space in your home that you can dedicate just to working, grab a cheap picnic table if you have to, remove everything off it except what you need for work.
This one might be tricky depending on the size of your home and how many other people you have working with you but do the best you can!
5. Remove distractions – that includes social media!
Just because you can have the tv on or get on social media now that no one’s watching doesn’t mean you should. Social media, in particular, is the ultimate tool of distraction and a massive time trap. Deal with it as you would usually, only look during your designated breaks or when you’re done for the day.
If your feed is anything like mine its full of corona crap anyway that I’m sick of seeing.
6. Keep active and take regular breaks
I can’t stress this one enough. We all know exercise is important so I won’t bore you with the health benefits, I’m sure you know them.
During isolation and while working from home cabin fever can set in pretty quickly. At the moment we can still head out for exercise and I strongly advise you to get outside, go for a walk, run, bike whatever floats your boat.
I come up with my best ideas whilst walking and it sets me up physically and mentally to be more creative and productive.
Taking regular breaks is also important. Humans are not meant to sit in front of computers all day, it’s just bad for us physically and mentally. I wear a Fitbit that reminds me every hour to get up and walk around, but you could also do this with apps on your phone or laptop.
Not only does this get me moving which is good for me physically, but it gives my mind a quick break and refresh. Sure it’s disruptive, but I find it helps keep my mind more alert and helps stave off the 2-3pm slump.
I’m sure I look like a crazy person when I’m doing laps around my kitchen and living room, but it really does help. You could also try a quick meditation, some yoga, a quick play with the kids etc.
7. Enjoy the perks
There’s a lot of good things too about working from home. I’m a bit of a daggy nerd myself so I love being able to wear my comfy clothes over corporate attire, not having to put on makeup or spending very long on my hair lol.
I can take some extra time to make myself yummy lunches (if I’m not just chucking something in the microwave) and my commute every day from the living room to my office is pretty quick!
While we’ve had our moments, the extra time with the kids and schooling can also be something to enjoy. It’s been challenging and at times stressful (for them also), but seeing them learn new things, overcome obstacles and interacting with them more during the day has been kinda nice 😊
It is what it is.
There are certain things outside of our control at the moment which we can’t change, so you might as well let it go (try to get Elsa singing that out of your head now! lol).
There’s really no point wasting negative energy on something you can’t change. Instead, try to focus on the things that we can control, like the suggestions listed above.
Don’t misunderstand me, when I say “let it go”, I’m referring only to the issues related to working from home, not the obviously much larger issues surrounding this pandemic.
There’s a lot of understandable negativity around at the moment, and it can be really draining. What helps me is practicing gratitude.
It sounds so simple being grateful but gratitude has a multitude of proven health benefits including reducing depression by increasing serotonin (happy hormones), better sleep, better self-esteem, enhancing mental resilience and more.
So here’s mine for today:
- I am grateful that no one I know is sick.
- I am grateful to all the super-heroes in healthcare.
- I am grateful that my kids had a good day.
- I am grateful that I currently have a glass of champagne in my hand.
- I am grateful that my hubby was able to buy toilet paper today! Boomshakalaka!!!
What are you grateful for? Seriously, write them down!
Stay safe everyone 🙂