As global panic over coronavirus ramps up, more and more of us are finding ourselves spending additional time at home.
Companies large and small are making it possible for their employees to work remotely, while some parents who don’t work are self-isolating and keeping their kids home for the health of their families and others.
Whatever your reason for staying home over the next few weeks, know this: working from home can be empowering, lonely and stressful in equal measure, especially if you don’t manage your expectations from the get-go.
Working from home means missing out on camaraderie with your workmates, being the only one responsible for your time management and taking a good, hard look at your procrastination habits. But yeah, you can totally “attend” meetings in your pyjamas, so it isn’t all bad.
Here are our top tips from working from home – whatever form that work may take.
Be strict about setting (and meeting) your own deadlines
When it comes to working from home, deadlines are everything – self-imposed or otherwise. If your work isn’t checking in to make sure you’re hitting your deadlines – or you don’t actually work for someone – it can be hard to make sure you’re sticking to them. Writing a planner that you can fill in with all of the tasks you need to complete each day is the best way to see how much you need to get done, and how long you’ll have to dedicate to each task. Whether you want to have all of your paperwork or bills done by 3pm so that you can enjoy a leisurely few hours cooking dinner, or know you need to finish one stage of your latest project immediately to stay on track, writing down your deadlines is key to holding yourself to them.
Find ways to communicate with your team
This isn’t just important for your own sanity – it’s also vital to ensuring everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done, and when. If you’re working, this could mean regular catch-ups on video call to see where everyone’s at, and if you’re not working in the traditional sense, it might mean setting up a family planner to keep everyone on task. There are so many ways to communicate remotely now (hence why so many of us are able to work from home in the first place!) so utilise them.
Resist the urge to “do it later”
Yes, technically you could finish off those emails in front of the TV at 8pm, or get up early tomorrow to afford yourself an early clock-off today. But it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” and we low-key think he was talking about people who work from home. If you don’t feel like doing it now, chances are, you definitely won’t feel like doing it later when it’s been hanging over your head. Spend your time off enjoying the feeling of having finished all of your work, not worrying about how much more you have to do.
Reward yourself with mindful mini-breaks
With all of that being said, it’s still really important to treat yourself to some mindful breaks. Taking five or ten minutes in the middle of the day to have a quick stretch, sip slowly on a cup of tea or even take a brisk walk around the block will keep you refreshed and help you stay focused. Save any breaks that you know you’ll get sucked into – whether that’s watching a quick episode of your favourite show, listening to a podcast or baking something yum – for after you’ve finished your daily tasks, as a bigger reward to end the day with.
Identify your procrastination triggers
We all procrastinate – it’s a fact of life. But some situations will make us procrastinate more than others, and it’s important to identify which situations trigger procrastination for you. For example, I procrastinate most when I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. If I have a clear course of action, I find my mind wandering a lot less than when I’m confused and, thus, unmotivated to get something done. When I find myself procrastinating, I stop and ask myself, “Which step do I need to complete next?”. If I don’t know how to complete that step, I brainstorm a solution or ask for help. Recognising this trigger has seriously helped me address my procrastination.