So COVID-19 has thrown the majority of us into an environment where we are suddenly working from home, which is vastly different from commuting to an office every day. As I have now been working from home for the past 4 years, I thought I would share all of the things that have helped me stay focussed and productive during that time and if just one suggestion helps you throughout this crazy period, then I have done my job in adding value.
1. Stick to your normal routine.
When you are working from home it is very easy to hit the snooze button and wonder in to your “office” which is now a desk in the corner of your bedroom, still half asleep and in your pj’s, so the number one suggestion I have for you now that you are working from home is to stick to your usual routine during the work week.
Get up at the same time you would if you were commuting to the office and continue to do exactly what you used to. Exercise, have a shower and get dressed, just as you would if you had to leave the house.
Also, if it took you 30 minutes or an hour to commute to work, use that time to continue doing the things you have always done. If you used to chair dance to your favourite songs for half an hour to get you up and about – well continue to do that or tune into your favourite podcast.
The point is not what the routine consists of, but how steady and safe your subconscious mind is made through repetitive motions and expected outcomes, so whether it is in the office or at home, the key is to be consistent.
2. Have a dedicated work space.
As this working from home situation has been thrust upon us, not a lot of people have the luxury to convert a whole room into an office, however if it is available choose a separate room as a dedicated workspace. Then you can close the door to keep business in and family, friends, and pets out.
This is especially important for all the parents out there and it has been a life saver for me with my 2 young children, as out of sight out of mind. Having a lock on the door helps as well and after a while they accept that when Mum goes to work, then Mum is unavailable.
It took my kids about 1 month to adjust, so hang in there and hopefully before you know it you will not be trying to juggle your conference calls with the kids!
3. Minimise distractions.
Whether it is a dedicated room or not, it is handy to pick a space where you can minimize distractions, far away from the kitchen (and the fridge!), the laundry with the ever mounting washing or the TV.
Also before I start my day I log out of every app that I can. It is too easy when you are on your own to get a notification or a message that catches your attention and before you know it, 30 minutes has passed and you are watching a random video of 5 kittens playing in a field!
Having only the applications that you require to do your job, will help you to have that laser sharp focus you need to complete your daily tasks.
4. Meal prep
On a Sunday morning, you will find me in the kitchen meal planning for the upcoming weeks. Being organised like this is SO good for your health and fitness and will ensure that when you are working from home you don’t start to overeat or reach for the faster, often unhealthy options, which is so easy to do with your whole pantry at your fingertips and no one else around to ask why you are eating your 10th donut for the day, when it is only 9am.
5. Self Care
Working from home has a different set of challenges. You could be feeling isolated and missing your work mates or you could be dealing with added pressure of being with your partner or family all the time. This environment can be very stressful and it is important to have healthy outlets.
Here is a list of my favourite things to do on a daily basis to help with my mental health and overall wellbeing:
Facetime chats with my nearest and dearest
Switching off all technology (aeroplane mode) and not sleeping with my phone next to me
Zazen filtered water
Matcha green tea