A lot of us have been working from home for the past couple months and it seems like this could be the norm for a while. Some companies have even announced more permanent work-from-home policies. Maybe you’re not working right now, but have been teaching your kids and taking care of your house and family–a full-time job all on it’s own. And even if working from home was normal for you pre-pandemic, this new way of life is definitely anything but.
Here are 9 coach-approved tips to set yourself up for success while doing the heel-toe carpet commute.
- Stick with a routine. Be disciplined about when you go to bed and when you wake up. Consider using your normal commute time to take a walk or fit in a morning stretching routine or workout and make a healthy breakfast.
- Put on pants. Getting dressed helps us feel like we’ve left bed behind and are ready to face the new day. While it’s safer and healthier to leave shoes at the door, designate a pair for inside use only to complete your WFH outfit.
- Create a dedicated work space. Carving out an office nook is important for transitioning away from house duties and into work mode. Decorate your new space with a photo or two, flowers or a candle. You can also experiment with essential oils–try orange to energize and lavender to destress. If possible, make your bedroom a work-free space designated for sleeping and free from blue light distraction.
- Set regular work hours. Try creating fun visual cues that let your family know when you’re busy, suggests Coach Anne. Hang a sign on your workspace door or in your working area to communicate when interruptions are okay and when you are laser focused. Perhaps something like, “Cookie dough is in the freezer” could buy you some peace and quiet.
- Take breaks. Without the need to “leave the office” for lunch or stop by a coworker’s desk for a chat, you may find yourself sitting for the entire day. Try the “Be Focused” app to alert you when it’s time to take breaks. For example, Coach Elaine recommends setting five-minute break reminders every 30 minutes, or 10 minute breaks every 60 minutes. Get up and stretch and go outside for brief walks to give your circulation a boost and recharge your energy reserves. (Switching up your environment will also keep you from going stir crazy.) Coach Kathleen suggests planning self-care into your day to help make your new routine enjoyable and sustainable.
- When your work is done for the day, put it away. Leave the house around the same time you’d leave the office. Getting out of the house is important to create a clear division between work and home life. Use this time to go for a walk, run an errand or do a social activity
- Silence work notifications during personal time. Check your work emails during set work hours only. This will help reduce the urge to reply to a work email as soon as it lands in your inbox.
- Track your time. If you feel like you’re not getting things done as quickly as you’d like, try one of the many free time-tracking apps in the app store or use old-fashioned pen and paper in a pinch. Consistently keep track of your time for three days. Once you’ve identified your “challenge areas,” make adjustments that help you manage your time more wisely. Then track your time for another three days with these new changes in place and observe any differences.
- Make lists. Coach Gayatri finds it’s helpful to keep a calendar of both work meetings and deadlines and personal activities, including meal prep, friends and family phone or zoom time, exercise, laundry, shopping and other household chores. If the to-do list becomes overwhelming, delegate to a family member.
“You’ll have the most success creating boundaries and routine when they align with what you care about most,” says Coach Cassie. So think about what’s important to you, write it down and stick to your new rules and routine. You and the people around you will be happy you did.
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