Photo credit: @thewhitehoneyhome
I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where remote work is quite familiar to me. Don’t get me wrong, the whole world-turned-upside down thing makes it more challenging these days with my kids at home 24/7...but I’ve managed to establish some decent tips and tricks to keep myself focused and diligent over the years, and more recently, some new ideas when you’re trying to balance being a mum and a business person literally at the same time! So without further ado, here are some tips and tricks for working remotely during Covid-19.
Create A Nice Space
If you’re anything like me, if your surroundings are cluttered and disorganised, your mind feels much the same. So before you even get started on any of that new remote work, get your space looking and feeling clean, neat, organised and if you can, inspiring! Get a chair that works for you, or maybe a yoga ball if that works better. Break out your favourite pens and notebooks, get organisers for your desk, have a calendar on hand and get some photos up if that makes a space feel lovelier to you! Choose some tunes that aren’t distracting but helpful enough to make you feel less like you’re being sucked into a vacuum of silence. Trust me. It helps. It needs to also be said that creating a workspace and making it clear to kids who are at home that when you’re in that space they need to be respectful of your work time is also important, as we’re in a time when adjustments, flexibility (from all parties) and communication is even more imperative.
Create Lists and Set Priorities
Creating lists and prioritising your goals will help you to feel less overwhelmed, less stuck and more on top of your work. Each evening before your next workday begins, make a list of what you want and need to accomplish the next day. Don’t go crazy and make it insanely long, or else you’ll be left feeling like you’ve failed or like you can’t keep up. Be realistic and be kind to yourself. You need to get used to this new way of working.
It’s also a good idea to create another list for your long term goals for the week and the month ahead to help keep yourself on task. Prioritise your work and your projects so you don’t fall behind. Again, no need to create added stress for yourself!
All that list-making and prioritising ties into scheduling. Creating a schedule can help you focus on your list of tasks and goals without jumping from one to the other willy-nilly (I really wanted to use the word willy-nilly). Set out chunks of time for each project or task that needs doing. Even set out (loose) breaks for yourself.
Scheduling becomes exceedingly important if you’re also trying to balance taking care of your kid(s). Trying to map out as a family when you need to work without interruption and when they can have your undivided attention is so important. If you have a partner who is also home for work it can be easier to ‘tag team’, so to speak. Regardless of your situation, you need to communicate clearly and with love when you explain to your kids what you’re doing and how you can all help each other during this strange time. And at the end of each week, maybe some kind of celebration will be in order for all of you having made it through successfully, and as a team.
Take them! Unless you’re in flow then take a few minutes to step away every now and then for a walk, a wee, a stretch or a snack. Whatever keeps you focused and energised. Think about it, if you’re at the office, you’re not staring at your computer for 8 hours straight without getting a glass of water, a cup of coffee or talking to a colleague. Take breaks to stay fresh. That also means give yourself a proper lunch break, too! If you have kids at home, create breaks where you can give them much needed attention and affection and, when you can, take even just 5 minutes for yourself. In all of this, self-care remains so important. You can’t give your all to the people you care about and your business if you aren’t giving yourself the self-love you deserve. For real.
When you work from home, distractions are evveerrrywhere....seriously. Everywhere. Laundry. Dishes. Television. Children. And on days when your mind isn’t totally in the job, distractions become your best friend and it’s super easy to grab them as opportunities to step away from your work. Be strong. Don’t do it. You’ve carved out your work time so stick to it!
Put Some Pants On
As much as the idea of working in your underwear makes for some great GIFS, Memes and content for your social, brushing your teeth and putting on some pants can help you feel more put together and in turn more focused and ready to work. Perhaps your pants are yoga pants. But they’re still pants that aren’t jammies or underwear. So. Pants. Wear them.
When you’re working remotely, it’s much easier to feel a little stir crazy and disconnected from both the outside world and any colleagues or teammates that you may be used to working alongside. So stay connected. Some people find having Google Hangouts, Slack or the like up and running for intermittent commentary and conversation throughout the day helpful. Others find it distracting. If you’re the latter, set up certain times during your day when you’re going to connect with others and touch base. Make sure they’re on the same page so they can respect your wishes and you can respect their need to stay informed. Don’t be afraid to give each other feedback so you can remind yourselves you’re all still part of a team.
Take Advantage of Tech
The advantage of a pandemic that causes us to have to work from home during the 21st century as opposed to the 20th century is that we have technology in vast amounts. Yup. Tech. It helps. Take advantage of technology to help you get through your workday as efficiently and as sanely as possible.
- Slack: Share files and stay connected with your teammates via messenger.
- Trello: assign projects, attach files, add due dates and comments, this bad boy is super handy for project management. And the kicker, it’s free!
- Zoom: Great for video conferencing and virtual face to face meetings. The only hitch here is that after 45 minutes you have to pay. So if you aren’t up for a number of separate calls, try something like Skype or:
- Google Hangouts: Great for video meetings as well as being a handy messenger system for individual or group team DMs. Better than Facebook where you can get more easily distracted.
- Spotify: Great work and focus mixes or you can create your own. Stay out of that silence vacuum!
- YouTube Exercise videos are a great thing to have on standby for a 15 minute stretch or cardio session to keep you feeling energised and healthy both mentally and physically. MadFit and Blogilates are two of my go-tos.
There you have it, friends. A dummy-proof list of tips and tricks to help you work remotely during Covid-19. As always, if you need a hand during this strange time, just shoot me a DM or we can set up a call. You’re not alone. You’ve got this. x