For many, working from home has come into full effect this past month. Here is the big question though. How do you make working from home, work?
First of all, we let’s all take a deep breath. Working from home is a whole new ball game from working in the office on a regular day. Working from home during a pandemic is also an added challenge to say the least. Take a moment and acknowledge that you don’t need to do all the things, all the time and with perfection. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting up, brushing your teeth and even taking the time to read this.
If you are a parent with kids at home, you have some new co-workers that also require you to adjust your expectations. Family first is my motto. Sometimes it isn’t easy when timelines are pressing, but when all is said and done and I look back on my kid’s upbringing, I won’t be thinking how glad I am that I got that assignment in early at the expense of not giving my kids what they needed.
That being said, work does still need to get done. The kids have school work and we have our job commitments. How can we manage all of it and come out on the other side happier & healthier?
Please join me as I share with you some of the things that I am finding helpful. I fully acknowledge that everyone’s circumstance is different. I feel very fortunate to be able to work from home and also have a husband who can do the same. The ability to trade-off responsibility is a huge benefit in the working from home game. There are plenty of you who don’t have that luxury and please know I am only trying to offer support while understanding that the view from my lens may not look like yours.
Get Up Early
I am finding that I get my best work accomplished in the morning. It is even better when it is before the kids get up. My kids have been sleeping in until around 8ish. I like to get up just after 6 and enjoy the peace and quiet of a still house. Disclaimer: I did not get up early today because quite frankly I needed more sleep. Most days I do, but today I needed that extra shut-eye, which leads me to my next point…
I am a woman of routine. I value knowing what is coming next and planning my day. I’ve found that my children also function best with routine in place…even though they would deny it if asked. We’ve structured our day to have two separate work periods of time. Knowing that we work hard and focused followed by a break is motivating. That being said, flexibility is paramount. Be willing to negotiate with yourself and your family in terms of daily routines is key to making this whole thing work.
I’ve been working from home part-time for thirteen years. During that time, I also completed my nutrition schooling through distance education. I quickly learned that I didn’t accomplish quite as much work-wise if I also tried to do a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, check FaceBook or Instagram or organize the front hall closet. Once I began practicing nutrition, I needed to consider when I wanted to be available to answer emails and phone calls. I decided to keep this to set hours. Just because I have access to my email 24/7 doesn’t mean that I should be responding to it. Let work time be work time and home time be home time.
Make a List
I work best when I focus for a period of time and just get the work done. I have always been a great procrastinator. I seem to work well under pressure which is kind of a negative reward cycle. I don’t like procrastinating, I just seem to be really good at it. This has taken some effort on my part to actively workaround. My daily calendar is helpful for this. When I jot my to-do list down, I get so much more accomplished. Make sure you keep your daily expectations in check by looking at your list and asking yourself if you would ask your best friend to do it for you. If the answer is no, edit until you could ask someone else to do it for you without any guilt.
You’ve Got This!
Some days are going to be rough. If we can acknowledge this and be kind to ourselves when those days come along, we will also be in a better space to celebrate the good days. We are in this together. I heard someone else use this analogy and I thought it was beautiful. We are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat. Some of us may feel like we are in a luxury yacht at times and then in a sinking boat bailing water, maybe even in the same day. My point here is to be compassionate with your self first and foremost and let that compassion spill out to your children, your partner, your neighbours, your co-workers and the people you meet in the grocery store.