Shine brightly while working from home!
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A recent featured Trail Blazer, Jamie Billotte Moses, totally inspired us with her can-do attitude about working from home. So, if you, too, have traded days in the office for a remote work environment, read on for a few tips to help you shine brightly from your home office.
1. Get Dressed Up: Change into "work clothes" for work hours. While yoga pants and your favorite tee work just great, putting on a new outfit for the work day will help you stay focused on the tasks at hand. Think about it, do you wear your pajamas to work? While some days you may wish that was an option, probably not, so tumbling out of bed and working in your pjs will be disorienting. Taking the time to change into work clothes will help you to differentiate between the different parts of your day.
2. Wear Your Shoes: This may seem silly, but like transitioning out of your pj’s, there is something about lacing up your shoes that says, “I’m ready to tackle this day!”. So, slip on your best kicks and channel that focused work mindset.
3. Maintain A Schedule: It is completely understood that with spouses working remotely, children and pets at home, and more, winning an Olympic medal may seem more realistic than adhering to this advice. But, since a schedule will give you a sense of normalcy and increase productivity, consider these tips:
- Communicate: If there are others in your home, remember that your spouse, child or other potential helper is not a mind-reader. Facilitate a conversation about how the members of your household can work together to make this the best possible experience for each other. Personally, I’ve previously made the mistake of blaming my partner for not being helpful, when in actuality, it was a two-way street – I never told him what the heck I needed help with! When we stopped playing the blame game, reviewed our task list, and divided up the assignments, more was accomplished, we spent time together, and we were much happier than when our efforts were not coordinated. Applying this logic here, try to determine, for example, how you and your spouse can best split childcare duties. Agreeing that the kids are one parent’s responsibility in the morning and the other’s in the afternoon will allow each of you to enjoy a half-day of focused work instead of fighting all day about who’s “watched the baby the most” while you both accomplish nothing.
- Consider a “Shift Change”: When my career first started, I did my best to arrive early to the office and power through so that I could leave in time to enjoy the evening. If interruptions delayed this plan, I was annoyed that a beautiful night that could have included a relaxing run or happy hour with friends was wasted. As a now 40-year-old with a child and dog, such a schedule is impractical. Nowadays, I start working later to enjoy morning time with my family, and to compensate, oftentimes work the post-bedtime “nightshift” when the house is quiet and the constant barrage of emails and phone calls don’t distract me from accomplishing that day’s (err, night’s) tasks. The days that I try to work when around my family are always regretted, as I accomplish little actual work and instead, wish I had just enjoyed the time with the people who mean the most to me. The point being, over the coming weeks, working a traditional work day (whatever that means to you) may or may not be practical. If it is not, try adjusting your hours to maximize the time with your family when you’re together and your work productivity when you can make time to be alone.
- Take Breaks: Research shows that taking a short break every 45 - 90 minutes makes you more productive, not less. So, although it may be tempting to plow straight through the workday while isolated at home, doing so will erode your motivation and productivity. To avoid this, set a reminder to stop working at least once an hour to take a short walk, listen to some relaxing music for massage therapists, get a drink of water, or do something else that will help you consistently maintain your energy throughout the day.
4. Eliminate Distractions: If you don’t usually watch Netflix while working at the office, binging on the latest movies while at home won’t impress your boss. If you have not done so already, carve out a space where you can best focus on your job. And, if the urge to Marie Kondo overcomes you, save household chores for when you would usually take a water-cooler break.
5. Pack Your Lunch: As often as I’ve worked from home over the years, this tip was just recently suggested – it's awesome! It perfectly dovetails with #3 above – if you usually meal prep and pack a lunch for work, maintain normalcy and continue the same practice at home. Not only will it bring consistency to your workday, it will help you stay on track so that you can timely finish your tasks and (hopefully!) enjoy this extra time for yourself or with your family.
6. Engage Accountability Partners: Many people find working from home isolating. Engaging accountability partners will provide you with companionship while also ensuring you stay on top of your task list. Consider having a set time at the beginning and end of each work day (whatever that means for you) to FaceTime or text about your top goals for the day and whether they were accomplished.
Hopefully these ideas help you crush the work days ahead. If not, not to worry - we'll share more ideas over the weeks to come. Speaking of which, do YOU have additional tips that should be shared with the SYS community? Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or message SYS on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter. We love hearing from you!
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