So much has been said about the importance of structure. From the time we’re small children, we’re taught the benefits of routine, which include emotional and social development, creating a sense of security and competence, and helping us develop self-discipline. Why would this be any different when you’re working from home? Keeping a schedule helps streamline our thoughts and our actions and quiets any outside noise that can distract us from the task at hand. It helps reduce wasted time and energy by removing the need for making unnecessary decisions, and just as it did when we were children, it helps create the discipline needed to embark successfully on this new work from home journey.
Below, you’ll find some of TEAM RLC’s favorite tips and tricks for creating a schedule and finding a balance while working from home.
My tips are simple - retire and rise at relatively the same time every day, even on weekends - and get into a daily routine that provides some level of structure similar to what you’ve always done, and can be committed to and replicated across your week. Get ready in the same way you would if you were traveling to the office, although more casual attire is fine (it's really more about the process of showering, getting dressed, etc.) and make sure to schedule meals and breaks so you’re sure to take them. Take lunch outside in your yard (if you can) or take a quick walk around the block on breaks - fresh air is really important to clearing your mind and helping to reset. I try to end my day with a walk to clear my head and help me transition from work to family so I can be fully present to both. Remember, success is really about progress, not perfection. If you can’t achieve 100% success out of that gate, that’s okay. Start small - maybe rising and showering every day is the best you can do right now. Master a couple of things, and then add additional structure so as not to overwhelm yourself, and if you fall off the wagon and have a bad day, remember that every moment is a chance to begin again.
For me, creating structure in my workday is essential for a successful, productive day. I start my day by showering and getting dressed as though I am going into the office, and working from a designated “office” area. My goal is to take lunch away from my work area and check out at a set time, but I have to admit I’m still a work in progress in those areas. As far as communication goes, I prefer video conferencing over phone calls – a look, a comment, and an inflection are incredibly important and impossible to read over the phone. I make sure to have weekly check-ins with my team, as well as quick daily check ins so that they know I’m available. At the end of the day, it’s easy to get stuck in all the challenges, but my team has been focused on strategies and tools to overcome them.
What’s kept me sane and on schedule is taking online yoga classes every morning. I am trying to not only stay in shape during this time but keep my anxiety down (which is such a struggle), and I always feel really good after doing yoga. I like to start my day by setting clear intentions so that I manifest positive things into my life. I also like to have a clear headspace when I start working because I am way more productive that way. There are tons of amazing and free yoga videos online, and I’m loving trying different teachers and different types of yoga. And while my goal is to take a class each morning, I also try not to be too hard on myself since this is such a weird time. If I slip up and sleep in, I take it as a sign my body needed it and try to be better the next day. Remember, be kind to yourself – we’re all going through it together.
I keep structure in my day by committing to walking my dogs every day at lunch. It’s the perfect way to break up the day, get some Vitamin D, and get my body moving. It’s actually the time of day I most look forward to now. Also, I totally get why our dogs get so excited for walks – I’m just as excited to get out of the house as they are these days!
Having to entertain two young children and maintain my work schedule has been difficult, but we’ve finally found a routine that works for our family. We start the day off with structure – wake up, eat breakfast and get dressed at the same time every day. This helps to set our day up for success. I’ve found it extremely important to manage my kids’ expectations for what’s to come every few hours. I let them know if I have a meeting coming up and encourage them to choose an activity to do during that time. This gives them structure and also minimizes the push back on things they don’t prefer to do, like Distance Learning or nap time. Lastly, maintaining a positive attitude is incredibly important for me and my kids as well. I feel incredibly lucky to enjoy this time with my family.
Staying focused – It’s easy to get distracted being at home, especially with so many things happening with the virus situation, it means a lot of things are constantly changing. We have to react to what is happening, while planning ahead, but it is important to not lose sight of your normal work flow. Stay focused to fight through the flog of virus related problems, and push through to make sure you are still making progress on your other projects.
Be proactive – We are all so connected now that there is no reason to delay any type of communication. Instead of writing a note down to bring up on a scheduled call or meeting later, I’ll just send a quick text or make a call, or ask to get on a Zoom meeting. It’s the COVID equivalent of popping by someone’s office. It speeds up productivity and avoids having to deal with email lag.
Don’t overwork yourself – Having your work now inside your home all day makes it easier to work much longer hours. The work is always going to be endless whether you are working 8 hours a day or 20 (a la Dr. Fauci), but you have to be respectful of your personal health. I definitely burned myself out in the first two weeks, but have since found a balance. Prioritization is key!
I have two tips for finding success while working from home. The first is to create a designated work area – ideally not on the couch if you have space. Once I set up my home office, I became much more focused and productive.
My second tip is to find an outlet for your anxiety, stress, frustration and all the feelings that come along with this chaotic time. For me, that’s sticking to a daily workout schedule – it’s my time to get away from the computer, phone and TV and do something for myself. There are so many amazing trainers and apps offering free workout routines that it’s actually become one of the things I enjoy most about quarantine. I’ve been able to do so many different workouts that I normally would never have had the chance to try. Some of my favorite workouts are Pilates by Amanda, Kaylie Crane Fitness, and just about everything on the Peleton app (take advantage of their 90-day free trial!).
My tip for successfully working from home is to treat my mornings as if I was going into the office. I wake up at the same time every day, get dressed and do my skincare and makeup routines. Doing my makeup makes me feel ready to conquer the day (and my endless Zoom calls).
Going from the office to working from home has been a big change for me, especially since I have two young boys that also require a bunch of attention! I’ve finally found a rhythm though – here are a few of my favorite tips.
My best tip to stay sane and productive during quarantine is also my favorite way to start the day. I start with a cup of Matcha tea with almond milk (my all-time favorite) and then sit down with a pen and paper and take 5 minutes to write down positive affirmations. This simple action helps combat any negative self-talk that arises (in a big way), and I believe there’s a little magic behind the words I AM. This is how I ensure I have a good day and I wish all of you a safe, happy and healthy day!
Since I live in a small apartment, cleanliness is a huge deal to me. One thing I do to set myself up for success and kick off my day on the right foot is make my bed. It may be small, but it keeps me in a routine. My bed is made, coffee is brewing, and now I’m ready to conquer the work day.
Your mom… she’s impressive. Often casual, sometimes elegant, she is always confident in her own skin. She’s still the woman you strive to be.
This Mother’s Day (or any day, for that matter), why not give her a gift to help beautify and revive her favorite assets.