Strategies for Working from Home - Part 1

Wow!  What the hell just happened?  There we were and now here we all are - like this! 

There have been plenty of times over the last 12 years of self-employment that I’ve said "I wish the world would stop and allow me to catch up..", however I never thought it would happen!  Heck!!  Thank you universe for hearing my plea, although it’s not quite the way I envisaged it, at all.  If you’ve never asked for this in your life, I apologise – my fault.  I’ll remember to be careful what I wish for in future!

Working from home and thriving – how can we do it well?  This year was the first time in my 12-year history of self-employment I’ve worked from an office in town and I’ve been loving it!  Now, I’m back at home again and it feels wonderful and comfortable too, like a pair of old slippers (which I’m wearing today because autumn has arrived and there’s a chill in the air). 

Over the years I’ve created many routines and practices to ensure I stay focused and productive as it can be easy to get distracted working from home.  There's a number of strategies that I've implemented that have worked well for me so I'll share them here over the next few days.  

Routine.  Create one if you don’t have one already.  Yesterday I thought about what I’d like to remember most about this time, and it was all about how well I utilised the time we’ve been gifted.  We have a wonderful opportunity to ‘un-busy’ ourselves, be creative and flexible, be productive, learn, connect, share and grow.  One thing we do know for certain is that this incredibly surreal situation will come to an end.  I believe that a regular routine will provide structure in these unstructured times and help to transition back to work/school when the time comes.  Strategies that have worked well for me when working from home have been:

  • Getting up each day at the same time you usually do;
  • Eating meals at set times;
  • Going to bed at the same time to ensure you get enough rest;
  • Scheduling your home tasks and projects, same as you would if you were working;
  • Remembering to stop for lunch and taking your regular half or hour lunch break.

Manage the distractions.  Get your family on board by having a group planning session.  Use sheets of blank paper, if you don't have paper, use the inside of cereal boxes to write on and find some coloured pens to make it fun.  Remember, you all have a daily routine – you at work, your children at school or pre-school, each day. 

Collaborate as a family to create a list of what’s important over this holiday/work time.  Ensure that you hear each person and acknowledge what's most important to you and to them.  From here you can create a daily and weekly timetable that meets everyone’s needs.  Once you're all agreed, follow the timetable for two days and then get together to review how it’s working for everyone in the family. 

When you review ask two questions.  Firstly, What’s going well?  Ensure you hear from everyone about what's working great.  The second question is, It would be even better if we ….?  Remember to listen and ensure everyone is heard.  Once you have everyone’s comments, adjust the plan and run it for another two days and repeat the process.  Remember, we all love routine, our physiology is designed for it and we've all be running on routines and structures up until yesterday.  If we know that the fun stuff will happen among the boring routine stuff, it makes it bearable.  Plus, this process will teach your children a robust planning process that they can use anywhere. 

And, if you want some great advice on looking after your children’s brains during this time, Nathan Wallis has some fantastic video posts on his FB page.  You can check him out here.      

Whew!  That's enough - I'll follow up with a few more of my strategies for working from home in the next day or so - keep an eye our our FB page.  Be safe, be kind and look after you.