A Work From Home Survival Guide - The COVID-19 Edition
Mar 18, 2020
Life looks a little different for most of us these days. With the COVID-19 pandemic there are alot of us working from home, some for the first time. While working from home sounds like a great option in the beginning (hello pajama pants and Netflix) it's not always as exciting as we might think.
Usually the first day or two is pretty nice - sleep in a little later than ususal, thanks to the lack of a commute, then open your laptop while simultaneously turning on the tv and sipping your coffee, settling in for a full day of work from your couch.
It's day 3+ that it starts to set in. The lack of social interaction and lunches at your favorite cafe can cause you to feel isolated and alone. It might even start to feel like you might so stir-crazy.
If you have kids at home with you it can be extra difficult to get any work done, while simultaneously keeping them entertained.
A while back I shared a Work From Home Survival Guide on my blog, and thought I would re-share some of the tips - updating it for the COVID-19 quarantine we are all living in. I hope it helps you find some balance and sanity in these crazy days.
I figured if I was starting to feel trapped in the loneliness of working from home, some of you might be feeling the same way too. So I have come up with a list of some of the ways I have found to break the monotony and solitude of working from home.
- Find a network-There are tons of online networking groups that offer a fun and easy way to virtually meet and hang out with others in your industry. If you work with a team, plan a weekly online meet-up so you can check in and keep up with what is going on in your business.
- Go for walks -This one might seem overly simple, but let me tell you....it works. When the weather is nice I try and go for a walk at least once a day -outside (not on a treadmill). It's kind of a win-win for me because not only does it keep me sane, but it's a great time for my kids and I to do something together. Some days I put on music or a podcast and somedays I just enjoy the silence. They aren't always long walks. Somedays it's only 10-15min and other days we walk for 30-45min. There is something really calming about being outdoors and in nature that help me re-focus and re-energize.
- Online exercise videos -One of the things I envisioned for my work-from-home life was daily trips to the gym...and I started off strong. I had a routine of getting up, going to the gym for an hour, then getting to work. Obviously these days hitting the gym is off limits, so instead we are opting for online workout videos. My kids love Cosmic Kids Yoga and I have found a few boxing and cardio workouts that we can all do together. We will do these at various times during the day. If I find that I need a break from work for a few minutes, or my kids are extra restless, we turn on a quick 10-15min video to get our blood pumping. BONUS: my kids will usually keep doing the videos long after I have stopped which gives me some un-interrupted work time.
- Create a dedicated workspace - I learned really early on in my work from home business that I couldn't work from just anywhere. I needed a dedicated workspace in order to be productive. Having a space that was just for work allowed me to focus more on my tasks and get less distracted. For me it's a desk in our guest room with lots of natural light and a door to privacy when I need to make calls or record podcasts. If you don't have a full room you can dedicate you can always set up a work area on your kitchen counter or in your dinning room. It can even be a corner of your bedroom if needed. The main thing to remember is that you need to keep your space free of as many distractions as possible. I figured out pretty quickly that I don't work well with a tv on but music is fine. Figure out what conditions you need in order to be productive and make sure you set up your workspace so that you can get as much done in a day as needed.
- Stay connected with friends - Just because you are on lockdown doesn't mean you can't be social...from a distance. One of the best ways to avoid going crazy while staying home is to remain in contact with your family and friends. Set up FaceTime chats or happy hours over Skype. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference in your mood
- Disconnect-This is one of my favorite things to do! I spend most of my days on social media, writing blog posts on my laptop or editing photos in the office. So when it all starts to feel like too much I disconnect. I put the technology away and just relax. When you work from home it's hard to separate your business from your home life. You don't have an official end to your work day so it's easy to let your work take over all hours of your life. Being intentional about shutting down and taking a break can keep you from burning out and forgetting about the other aspects of your life!
- Use a timer - When you are working from home the days don't feel as structured as they would at your office. If you find that you are taking longer to complete tasks, or forgetting to do certain things, try using the timer on your phone (or Alexa if you have one). Set time limits on how long you take a break for lunch or how long you have to complete a task. And avoid turning on the tv or starting something that you know will be hard to walk away from.
- Stay off Social Media - If your office usually blocks social media sites then it can feel liberating to have all day access to Facebook and Instagram. BUT, these are also major time sucks. You log on for a moment to 'catch-up' and find that a full hour has gone by before you know it. use the tip from above and set a time limit on how long you can check social media site OR only allow it during your lunch break if needed.
Even though working from home isn't always easy, it has some perks (did I mention the pajama pants??) If you start feeling lost or lonely head over the Girl Means Business Facebook group
and join us in a virtual community that are here to help you through all the ups and downs ahead of us!