You may find yourself eating your words the last couple of days as you experience working from home, and all its glory and challenges. Remember that one time you expressed to the universe you wished you could work from home. Wish granted! Depending on your situation you will love or hate working from home. I have worked from home for the past 2 years and I for one love it. I get so much more work done, I am less stressed and I have time for my family. So here are some tips to help you make the most of, working from your pajamas!
1. You need a Workspace. The kids are home, your partner is asking where every utensil in the house is located and you are trying to work. I get it! The constant interruptions will ensure you get distracted more times than a squirrel with A.D.D. so how in the world are you to focus!
Setting up a space in your home, preferably with a door, is the ideal way to keep the "famjam" away and give you some time to focus. Pick an area, that is tidy and low traffic like your spare bedroom or even your own bedroom. Wherever, you can find space to plug in and work comfortably in silence. 2. Include the Family. Sit down with your partner and the kids and explain, you are going to work! Even though you are at home. Even though you are working, they need to only come to see you when they really need something. If you have small children you must entertain, set them up with their own workstation. Play pretend and send them to work with their lunch bag, an old cell phone, some pens and paper. You can give them little tasks like stamping or stuffing envelopes, get them to make a list of things you need done. Or even, put on a movie on their ipad and tell them it's time to watch a webinar. You are playing with them and working!
3. Set a Work Schedule. It is really important to set a schedule for yourself when you are working from home. Setting the alarm to wake up an hour before the kids, so you can answer emails before making them breakfast is ideal. Then post breakfast get them rolling on their first activity and head back to work for a few hours before lunch. Keep on a schedule that incorporates everything you need to do in a day. It will ensure that you actually get up and get at it, when it is so tempting to stay in bed.
4. Stay Organized. It is really critical to have the proper file folders or or organizational items you need to stay organized. You don't want to be spending hours next week trying to find that invoice you thought you paid. As you finish with paperwork you are required to keep store it away in file folders or even a shoebox and label it so you know what is what. Putting everything in a pile is not effective. Clean up your workspace each day so it helps you to stay calm and organized as you are working away.
I personally find it very easy to stay motivated to work. I probably work way more than most people, because I work from home. But, if you are finding it tricky to stay focused on work when you want to clean the kitchen or just watch a movie. Give yourself the break! It's ok to take breaks to workout, watch a movie and then go back to your desk. Unless you have strict hours, most employers don't care what hours you work during the day a long as you are getting the job done and are honest about it when it comes to being paid. If you are really lacking motivation, remember why you need this job in the first place and believe me they will know if you are slacking off!
6. Stay in Touch with Co-workers. It is really important to maintain a relationship with your co-workers during this time. So why not download your favourite app such as Slack or Zoom and have your morning coffee chat everyday. Its a great relaxed way to catch up with co-workers and make sure everyone is on the same page. Pajama's are welcome and no need to do your hair! You will also want to schedule some down time with your team, which can include a virtual team lunch with some brainstorming. Who knows what you will learn about each other.
7. Make a List and Check it Twice.
Stick to the habit of making a list of things you need to do each day and getting it done. It is hard to predict what distractions will come up, and what item you will miss as a result. Cross off each item on your list and don't leave things to the following day if at all possible. You do not know what tomorrow will bring.
8. Plan Ahead. If you know you have a conference call, make sure you have a movie ready to go for the kids or a quiet activity so you won't be disturbed. If you are disturbed it's ok, just mute yourself and deal with the situation, and return to the call. People are pretty understanding. If you know you are going to be short on time to make meals, do some meal planning so that you can simply pop something in the oven and keep on working. Cut up veggie sticks for the kiddos to grab and make them a list of things to do when they get bored. If you really need no distractions, put them on the phone to grandma for a Facetime chat, virtual babysitting!
9.Managing Stress. This can be a really stressful time for people. The economy is uncertain, we are confined to our homes, and there are a lot of distractions when you are trying to work from home. If you find yourself getting stressed, take a break. Go for a walk or schedule time for a workout at home. Do an at home yoga session with one of the free channels such as Do Yoga With Me. Ensure you are eating properly and sleeping properly . Do what you need to do to stay healthy.
10. Embrace It. There are worse things than being stuck at home in your pajamas, with your loved ones. Look at it as an adventure, some extra time you have been given to really enjoy your family. Get out the board games, create theme days and fun activities everyone takes part in. Take turns cooking a meal and give the kids a big project to complete. Go for walks together and play outside, cuddle in bed and watch movies. Teach them how to cook or bake, or something about your work.
I have three teenagers in the house, who are all technically savvy. You would be surprised how your teen can help you navigate technology if you are finding it a challenge. If you are a guru, maybe use this time to let them design a webpage or teach them a new skill.
At the end of the day we just got the gift of time, so lets embrace it! If you have any other suggestions or comments about this blog post feel free to share. We are all in this together!