Well, I totally dropped the ball on blogging last year but one thing I have learned over the years is that we need to give ourselves grace. Progress over perfection. I was too worried about it being perfect to put the pencil to the paper and then hit the submit button. But everything worth while is uphill. My hope is that when I look back a year from now I will giggle at my first few blogs and be proud of how far my writing and content has come. I hope this is inspiration to those of you, who don’t feel fully ready to pursue your dreams, to just do it and learn along the way!
So, I am no stranger to working from home but I know a lot of you are, so I’m going to consider myself your expert on this topic, haha! Many of us are trying to navigate a new normal, which means changes for ourselves, our families and especially our littles, which can be scary for them. I have so many tips but here are my top 4.
1) Set expectations and priorities: Working from home can give you flexibility but if you are being constantly interrupted by your little ones it is going to be a lot harder to get things done. Front-load your day with the most essential tasks. Schedule your important calls and
tasks when your kids have just gotten up and aren’t “bored” yet. Give your child a nonverbal "Do not disturb" when you need quiet time. Perhaps you could wear a tiara when you're on the phone to signify that kids are not allowed to make noise or interrupt, unless there's an emergency. If you have an office door, tie a red ribbon on it when you're not to be bothered. This tactic is best for older kids. My daughter knows the quieter and uninterrupted she leaves me, the faster I get my work done for the day and have time to play with her. Expectations have been set with her from day 1 on what it's like being home with a “work at home mommy”
2) Take real breaks to help avoid distractions: Don’t work through your lunch, especially during quarantine. I suggest going outside and getting some fresh air. Minimize distractions and set a timer for online scrolling. If you are working on a computer it can be way too easy to fall into a trap of scrolling through social media. While I actually find it relaxing to sit and scroll sometimes, I know its not productive so I ask Alexa to set a timer for 10 mins so that I don’t fall down a rabbit hole and waste an hour of unproductive activity. Close all tabs with Facebook or other social media open when working. When you take your lunch break, get up and move to a different room and don’t go back to your work station or office for the allotted time you gave yourself. One of the best ways to stay on task is to stay away from personal tasks. This is one of the biggest challenges for working from home. To keep your brain in the right mode, avoid doing non-work tasks during your work time. For example, even though you’re staring at that pile of laundry and think a quick break to do it won’t matter, it will lead you to more distractions (potentially back to social media).
3) Create Triggers to start and end your day: When you work from an office the getting ready and commute helps your brain get ready for your day. When you work from home it can be harder to self motivate and get in the mindset to concentrate on work. Starting your day with making coffee, exercising, showering and getting dressed out of your PJs can help trigger your brain. One of the most important aspects of a healthy work-from-home routine is creating boundaries. Log off for the day. And not just from the computer. Say a phrase to yourself that will signal your brain that its time to stop thinking about work. Have an idea that comes up “after hours”? Jot it down but wait and come back to it tomorrow. Just because you have access to work anytime doesn’t mean you should be logged in 24/7. If you must work in your loungewear: brush your hair and teeth. If you appear pulled together you’ll feel and act more professional. Here are my favourite looks for cute comfy loungewear.
If you have a video call: wear something more dressed up on top and loungewear on bottom. It will be our little secret ;) (Click image to shop!)
4) Video Calls: Speaking of video calls, it’s also important to not forget about your co-workers. Again, this pandemic is a special circumstance — for once, you’re not the only one working from home. Everyone is in this together.
It’s important to check in on your colleagues, whether it’s a text message or a work channel and to try to have meetings over phone or video when possible. There are many platforms like Zoom, Skype and FaceTime that can let you connect through video calls. It’s hard to shift from being in an office environment, where you can walk down the hallway to talk to a colleague…to all of a sudden being in self-isolation.
It’s also important to make time for your (virtual) social life. Whether it’s a weekly happy hour over Skype or long phone calls with your closest friends, social connection has never been more important.