For many of us, working from home during the current crisis has been a fairly adaptable experience; however, for others, having to share our home and workspace with our family or roommates has been quite challenging. Some of these challenges include having to negotiate quiet space, possible perceived “neglect” for the family while we try to accomplish the daily workload and possible fatigue from seeing the same workspace all day and then all evening as well. Obviously, this is going to have an impact on our own well-being and on the feelings of others around us.
Tips to Cope
We’ve been enjoying Laura Vanderkam’s “The New Corner Office” podcast on her website. She’s offered some fine suggestions, and we’d like to share a couple of them for your benefit here.
Most of us love the outdoors for many reasons, especially as it’s full of life and greenery. We can bring just a little bit of that indoors with houseplants. Keep it simple and try not to pick a plant that could be too much work to care for. A spider plant or some sort of philodendron can be ideal for bringing a smile to your face with a minimal amount of care required.
Where would you buy one? Nurseries are open for business again, but if you prefer to still shop online you can perhaps order them from your grocery or hardware store. A plant might need a little bit of watering and a little bit of dusting, but it can provide a lot of pleasure as you look at it or touch it throughout the day. As an added bonus, certain plants can improve the air quality in your home!
A small change of scenery and a little moving around can put us in a different frame of mind. So, if you normally work in one space, try another for a while. You might have your space set up “just right” but try working away from it just for an hour or two.
Perhaps you could head out to the back patio or the balcony. Do you and your partner or roommate each have your own workspace? Try swapping for a few hours, or for the day, provided there is nothing confidential left lying around. When it comes to your bedroom, if you can avoid it, do not use this room as your working area. Instead, keep this room as your seclusion spot as everyone needs a place to rest and escape from work.
Take some time to look around your home to see what other options you have for temporary workspaces.
Snacks! Yummy and Essential.
You may need to have snacks or beverages in your office or workspace for a couple of reasons.
If you have kids at home, perhaps they are being looked after by your partner or a caregiver and when you’re out of sight, they may even forget you’re busy working. Every trip you make to the kitchen for a drink or a snack reminds them that you are there and can cause them to demand your attention for the next 20 minutes.
Another reason is simply the chores that often await you in the kitchen. You go to the fridge but notice the dishes that need to be put away, or the floor that needs sweeping. The next thing you know, that apple-run has taken up half an hour of your work time. Perhaps that is a good thing; a welcome distraction and a “stretch of the legs”; however, those breaks can be better timed if not dependent on the rumbling in your tummy. Have some nuts, dried fruit, and water or other beverage at hand in your workspace.
If you have drinks and snacks close by, you can still walk away if you want to; but you won’t walk away because you have to!
Limit Your Daily To-Do List
Even with fewer distractions at the office and no commute time, you still have other things going on throughout the day. Perhaps you need to look after the kids when something comes up or share caregiving duties for half the day with your partner. It is very easy to discover at the end of the day that you didn’t accomplish all you set out to. This can be discouraging over time.
Here are some recommendations to avoid that disappointment and frustration.
Look at tomorrow’s schedule and see what hours you plan to work and what time is available for other things. Set a few priorities – but just a few.
Don’t set a list of 20 things to do and then only manage to do 5 or 6 of them. You are setting yourself up to fail. Instead, create a very short list of only 3-5 high priority items that must be done.
Ask yourself this question: “If nothing else happens tomorrow, what 4 or 5 things would make me feel most productive?”
This is not a waste of time. Stop and think about it: if you can do just 3 important things every day, then that’s 15 important things every week. No small feat. Any other tasks you can manage on top of that is a delightful bonus!
We guarantee, over time, you will feel more productive and more motivated.
Create a Shutdown Ritual
It is not normally a great idea to bring your car to a screeching halt in the driveway. First you slow down gradually and then put it in park. So then, why at the end of your workday would you work frantically up to the last minute and then just shut the lid down on your laptop? End your day feeling calm and accomplished, while paving the way to get started again quickly tomorrow.
How can you do this? Here are a few steps you can try:
- Ask yourself: What did I accomplish today? Write these things down on a “Done” list. Reflecting on that will inspire and motivate you.
- Look back at your to-do list for today. Did you accomplish everything on it? If not, plan where you will pick it up from tomorrow. Put it on a “Start Here” list for the next day.
- What new tasks came up today? Check your calendar and see when you might be able deal with them. Assign a spot in your calendar, whether it’s a few days, a few weeks or a few months away.
- Prepare for tomorrow. Look at your calendar and see if there’s anything that needs to be done at a specific time. Prepare now or set a time to do it tomorrow.
- Consider tomorrow’s priorities. Remember that very short to-do list we mentioned? Pick 2 or 3 essential tasks and schedule these in.
This shutdown ritual can take just 15 minutes or less. It’s time well-spent. Set a reminder on your phone or on Alexa for a good place to stop work for today and start preparing for work tomorrow. The next day, you won’t burn through time deciding what to do or where to start but will know exactly what you need to do. You’ll get back that 15 minutes and more, and you’ll be much less stressed!
Here at JN Software and CompuEase we want to help you continue to handle the challenges that can come from working at home during the current situation.
We are offering lots of free online resources to help you cope. We have special online software training courses, free webinars, a special BLOG series, and more.
And remember that all our software training courses are available online with a live instructor on an easy-to-use platform. Software and Professional skills training is a terrific way to shake up your day and interact with others, while building up your skillset.
We are always on the lookout for helpful tips that we can share to help you get through an extended “working from home” experience. We know how you are feeling, and we know how to help!
|Let us work with you to help get you through this current crisis safely. Check out our “COVID-19 Working from Home Resources” and some of our available courses here|
|We hope you found these tips helpful. If you need any more tips to work more efficiently at home, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and/or Twitter to see what training and free tools we offer and for regular updates and announcements. We have been training people across the country virtually for years and we are fully equipped to assist you as well!|