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Staying Sane Whilst Working from Home

With unprecedented numbers of people suddenly finding themselves working from home, social media is letting me know that the nation has found it's self more than a little confused.

Many people can't seem to keep track of what day it is. Distractions are the enemy, with housework, phone calls, Netflix all pushing for your attention.

The vast majority of Wellness Advocates have been working at home for a while though, so here are their top tips!

1. Develop a morning routine

Just like brushing your teeth each morning, sticking to a regular routine will help you to foster habits that match up with your goals and ambitions. Routine's can help us to develop the positive behaviors that will allow us to reach our potential more efficiently, whilst also eradicating the negative behaviors that can hinder us from doing so.

Some people find getting up, making breakfast and getting the kids sorted is the first priority to being able to settle into work without too many disruptions, whilst others may prefer to get up early and get an hour or so of work in before the rest of the family awake.

Whatever your routine, stick to it on work days, and give yourself a break on weekends. Or decide that you take Wednesday's and Sunday's off now and split your weekend to give yourself more regular breaks. Just make sure you keep to it, or it's a slippery slope of procrastination.

2. Get dressed

I know. It's super tempting to work from home in your pyjamas. You won't be as productive though.

I'm not saying you need to wear a full suit every day, but at least shower and change out of your pyjamas. You're not sick, you're just quarantined!

3. Set your desk up near a window

Not only will this allow natural light in (which has mental and emotional benefits as well as supporting your immune system) but it will also provide you with a view. The beauty of working from home is that you're in charge of your office environment.

You can diffuse essential oils whilst you work to keep you motivated. Here are some of my favorite diffuser blends for focus and productivity.

4. Keep track of time

If you've got certain things that you need to get done each day (zoom meetings, lunch, spending time with the kids!) use time blocking to make sure that you're allotting appropriate and realistic amounts of time to these things, so that you can work guilt free without feeling like you're being pulled in multiple directions at once by online colleagues or your family. Work out what's an appropriate amount of time to dedicate to a task each day, then set boundaries and say 'I'm available for that at 3pm' or whenever your allotted time slot is.

Without these boundaries it's easy to let the most urgent tasks take over the highest priority tasks - which leads to the most valuable items on your to do list not getting done.

And on a related theme, time blocking in small chunks can help you to get done the things you procrastinate over.

I love a timer. Some people hate it. If it works for you, then this is a great tip. Practice working really hard for 15 minutes at a time, then reward yourself with a break to grab a glass of water with your favorite oil in it, a quick stretch of sun in the garden, or even just a lighter task.

If there's a task you're really not looking forward to (for me it's answering emails) then set a timer and just do 15 minutes to get it done fast. After 15 minutes, stop. You can do another 15 minutes later if the task isn't complete.

5. Don't forget to exercise

Without a morning commute, you can easily slip into the habit of becoming completely sedentary in your home. If you're used to popping into the gym on your way to or from work, or if you cycle in each day, missing out on that habit can have health consequences, not just for your physical body, but also on your brain.

We are allowed to go out to exercise each day, as long as we stay away from other people, so why not 'commute to work' by getting ready at the same time you used to, and walking/cycling around the block before coming home to start work?

6. Be kind to your partners and children

We've all seen the video of the news correspondent trying to work from home whilst the wife desperately tries to prevent the children from interrupting him. If there's one thing I've learned from my time as a Wellness Advocate, it's that having a family doesn't = unprofessional.  

Many respected leaders host large video trainings and meetings with a baby in their arms or a toddler on their knee. It has never made me respect them less.

In fact, as more and more people are working from home, it's not unusual to see people in video conferences whilst cooking dinner or working on a jigsaw with their kids. Just make sure you have an appropriate microphone set up so zoom isn't picking up your sizzling stir fry instead of your speech!

I'm actually looking forward to everyone tolerating the visibility of family more. I think it will create a softer society that is less work driven and more accepting of boundaries and recognizing that people have lives outside of work. It's harder to ask someone to stay late or work all night on a project when you can see their children patiently waiting for them in the background.

I certainly don't hide my children from my clients, they're more than aware that I work from home, and they don't expect me to drop everything and answer them immediately when they call, they know that I always get back to them in a timely manner, it's just not always instant. I'd love for people in all industries to have a little more perspective about the demands they place on people's families with their work culture.

But more than that as you are working from home, you're spending more time together. Be kind to one another, and maybe it will be a great time to connect with your partner about what it is you do at work. You never know, they may have a new perspective or technique that could bring you the breakthrough you need on a project.

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