How to juggle responsibilities and stay (mostly) sane in this new era of #WFHlife
The MARKETLINK team has had the privilege of working from home for quite a few years. Our staff members have always worked remotely, and we have definitely tried everything in the book to figure out the best system. If this experience is new to you and your firm, here are some of our suggestions that might help you get—and stay—on track.
Plan Ahead and Stick to Your Routine
I’m guilty of working in my pajamas and not washing my hair for days. Some days it just feels like there’s no point. However, the days when I have a set plan and routine are the most productive for me.
Stick as close to your office work routine as possible and you will succeed at home. Get up, make your bed, and get ready as if you were going into the office. Routines are helpful because they provide a structure. This pushes away feelings of anxiety and helps to maintain a sense of control. Figure out what works for you and start the day off with the right mindset.
Establish Working Hours and a Designated Space
Sticking to a routine also means sticking to set work hours. As a mom, wife, newly appointment schoolteacher, and a small business owner, I’ve realized it can be challenging to designate time for all of these important aspects—especially when everyone is home and demanding your attention.
Establishing set hours and finding a designated work area has allowed me to be more productive. Create a space that is organized and inviting—consider an area full of natural light.
Block Out Your Time
Block scheduling is a simple productivity method that works for almost anyone. If you are using any type of calendar system, you may already be using “blocks” to schedule your time.
When you use the block-scheduling method, you designate blocks of time for each item on your list rather than listing off appointments and to-do items with no timeframe. This way, there’s a specific start and end time for every task. Time blocking isn’t limited to appointments! Use this scheduling method for all the activities you want to accomplish during the day.
One great approach is to review your to-do list and prioritize. Take the top priorities from your list and slate them into set timeframes. For example, if you’ve got a proposal deadline, you may want to block time between 8 am and 10 am to finish it. Then, you may want to block in some time to check your emails and take care of any small tasks. After a half-hour for “check on kid’s homework and laundry,” book the next item on your to-do list. Time blocking typically works in 30-minute increments, but adjust for what fits your needs.
Even with your routine set and your “office” set-up, distractions are inevitable. Unexpected phone calls come in, technology mishaps occur, kids need help with homework. My biggest take-away as I have been working from home is that flexibility is key.
Schedule a Break
Now that we are spending the majority of our time at home, taking meaningful breaks to unwind and recharge is especially important. Taking a walk around the block, doing a quick at-home workout, or taking a moment to meditate can help lower stress and refocus your mind. Plus, after being inside all day, getting some fresh air will be amazing!
Stay in Touch
Even though this adjustment has been difficult, one silver lining is our revived desire to stay in communication with one another. For many of us, it provides a sense of normalcy and is becoming the status quo.
Keep your typical weekly meetings scheduled. Make the time to reach out to your coworkers and team members. Even though you may not all be in proximity, you are still a team, and it is important to maintain morale. Staying in touch with clients is just as important. I participated in a virtual proposal/presentation debriefing recently and was amazed at how natural it seemed. It gave me a newfound sense of “business as usual” when performing client relations and business development tasks.
What are your tips for working from home?