Updated: Apr 7, 2020
How are you doing? Hanging in there? If you need a friend to vent to, shoot me an email or DM!
These past weeks have been, without a doubt, unsettling. A lot of folks are ushering in a totally new-to-them working style and working from home due to COVID-19, and that is a big, big change!
I've been working from home part time or full time since 2015 thanks to Bad Axe. When it's a work style that fits into your skillset, abilities, and lifestyle goals, it is amazing. At it's best, working from home allows me get more quality work done faster, because I am controlling my timeline, my schedule, and working when I know I work bes
Having working from home thrust on you with little or no time to prepare due to coronavirus doesn't make for the the most ideal transition. The experiences you are having right now are absolutely not an example of how working from home can really work. You are facing (and overcoming!) unprecedented obstacles and making it WORK. Let that sink in for a sec. There is nobody on this planet who has experienced circumstances like these. This is new to us all.
Despite the newness of this all, there are some challenges that anyone who works from home may face. I've got some tips based on my own experiences to share with the amazing, work-from-home-because-of-COVID-19 team:
1. Know your distractions
Know what things at home may interrupt your workflow. Think of ways to limit or schedule these things. For me, big distractions are meals, Facebook scrolling, and taking my pup for a walk. I'm very fortunate that my partner-in-crime is home to help entertain the kids, so they don't end up distracting me too much.
2. Handle your distractions
With the remaining distractions, I have plans in place to handle them. I walk Henry (our dog) right before getting started prepping a meal. If the weather is nice, I put him on a tie out for a bit in the morning after our walk so that he's satisfied for longer. For Facebook, I'd love to say that I just don't go on the site. That's not the case, since so much of my work requires me to engage with the platform. To minimize scrolling time, I write a list of EXACTLY what I need to do when I get on Facebook. I do those things and nothing else. If I want to have a scroll around and get updated on what my friends and family are up to, I set a timer and only scroll for 5 minutes.
3. Alone but not lonely
Working from home while other people are in your home with you can sometimes feel a little lonely if you are separating yourself from the action. I'm an extrovert, so it can be very draining to me to be working solo all day. I keep my home office door open during the day when the kids are awake unless I'm on a phone call. I move my work station to the living room after they are in bed if I'm working in the evening. That works for me: being close to people helps keep me feeling recharged!
4. The Sound of Music
When I'm keeping the office door open, sometimes the sounds of normal home activities can be very distracting to me. To handle this, I sometimes wear headphones with no music playing. This deadens the noise enough for me to have some mental clarity while still being able to hear some of the silliness in the other room. If I need further focus (without blocking everything out) I put on a ChillHop livestream on YouTube. This works for me because it's just enough music to help me focus, but it's not so lively that I want to jump around.
5. Dress to impress...-ish
I definitely work in my pjs some days. That's one of the best perks of working from home! But if I'm dealing with a lot of stress or a big project or a serious deadline, I get dressed. I could go on about my personal fashion beliefs (I demand more pockets and a professional look that is secretly more comfy than my pjs) but the bottom line is: I believe your wardrobe should make you feel AWESOME, so getting dressed should feel empowering. Everyday during this quarantine I've been making a point to pick an outfit that makes me smile. It helps!
6. Honesty is the best policy
Be honest with yourself about when you work best and how you work best. Do you work better from home after the kids are asleep? In the evening? In the morning? When you are full? After a workout? For me, I do administrative tasks best in the morning and big website builds best at night. Being honest helps you be more productive! If your employer is allowing you to be flexible with your work from home schedule, try out some different schedules. If you are female, read up on cycle syncing for productivity tips (blew my mind!).
7. Google Drives my life
For team productivity and collaboration, Google Drive and the full suite of Google productivity apps keeps me sane and on task. I discussed in a past e-newsletter how much I rely on Google Calendar, and it's still true! Finding (and sticking with) the software that best supports your working needs is a total game changer. Write down what parts of your workflow are a struggle, there are so many productivity solutions available online that I bet you can find something that helps!
8. Eat. Drink.
I'm not your parent. But...... EAT FOOD. DRINK WATER. STAY HEALTHY. Sorry not sorry for yelling. I'm yelling at Past Me, too. When I began working from home it was really easy for me to neglect my basic needs for the sake of "work." That's absurd! Don't be absurd like Past Me.
9. Tidy up
When you are done working for the day, or when you are feeling buried, clean off your desk/workzone. Doing this even if you are still working can help boost your mood and your creativity.
10. Top Five, Next Five
Start the day by making a list of the Top Five things you want to accomplish before midway through your work time (be that lunch, midnight, whatever). At the halfway point, check in with your list. Add tasks to the list so you are back up to five items: that's your Next Five! Not sure where this method came from, or if it has any sort of reputable science behind it...but I have found this massively helpful for me. Seeing a list of only five things seems both doable AND a significant accomplishment. Sometimes I make a bigger list of the hundred million things I need to do, then do the Top Five/Next Five on a separate page. That way I get to check each thing off twice! Once on the master list, once on the Five list. Soooooo satisfying.
11. Rock that plan
Besides just making a plan for the day, I also make a meal plan (especially now that we are social distancing). If you ask my man, he will tell you that I am historically terrible at following my meal plan. But for the past two weeks (I am beyond proud of this) I have stuck to our meal plan 100%. It sure has helped a lot!!
What has helped you feel productive and empowered in these strange times? Do you have a tip or suggestion to add? Comment below, email me, or message me on Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Stay home, stay well.
Stay Bad Axe!