working from home during a pandemic

Many of you have found yourself, unexpectedly, thrust into working from home.

I know adjusting to working from home can be challenging, especially at a time when the world feels chaotic. Anxiety and apprehension is a normal response at a time like this. The learning curve is steep and adjusting to rapid change is a trip for any human.

Honoring social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 is necessary, from one human to another – thank you for doing this hard thing to keep our world as safe as possible.

I am with you – working from home, seeing clients virtually, homeschooling my kids, and staying confined to a small space.

I’m lucky to have started working from home ten years ago. I began practicing tele-psychology five years ago and there was a year in my business where I was entirely remote and working from a van.

In many ways, life prepared me for all these changes.

It’s still hard.
I’ve still had moments of struggle.


Rapid change and infinite uncertainty is a trip for any human to navigate.

Here are some ideas and strategies to help you stay well {and stay motivated} while staying home.

motivation

When we come out the other side of this strange and stressful time, the self-motivation you develop will be a great side-kick to help you live a life you love.

To be self-motivated means you have the intrinsic motivation {not a boss or external source} to do what you want to do. It’s when your motivation to take good care of yourself, produce good work, make good money, deliver good value comes from inside yourself.

By turning to yourself, you take your power back. You are no longer looking for permission or approval from out there you are finding it in here {imagine me with my hand on my heart}.

morning

Wake up around the same time each morning and make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep. No commute = more sleep. Yay!

Keep your morning routine predictable – go through the same steps you would on a morning you are going to work. It helps get you in the groove.

One exception: wear what you want to wear.

I’m not an advocate for “getting work ready”.


Welcome to the joy of autonomy!

If putting on makeup feels like wearing a mask you’d rather not wear – skip it.
If you’re most productive in workout gear – be comfortable.
If you feel best with your hair done – style it.
If you want to suit up – be fancy.

space

Create a space that is dedicated for work – the office, a desk, kitchen table – and work from that spot the whole day.

If you need to have a private space with a closed door and don’t have an office, use a corner of your bedroom. If you have a walk in closet, you can use that. I’ve even worked from my car while parked in my garage when I needed to.

Our minds love association, when you are in a space or surrounded by stimulus that is not associated with work, it’s easy to get distracted {turn off your phone, remove the paper clutter you don’t need, don’t walk by the pile of laundry that needs to be done, avoid working from bed if you can, try not to work where others are watching TV, avoid checking social media, etc.}. Declutter to avoid distraction.

Gather everything you need for the day – fully charged laptop, headphones, notebook, pens, water, a cup of tea, a great playlist.

Set yourself up for success by giving yourself what you need

rituals

Create rituals throughout your day to take care of your mental and physical health.

Before you dive into your workday, do something good for yourself – journaling, making tea, doing a few yoga poses, exercising, listening to a great song, meditating. Pick one thing, stick to it, and do it every morning.

During your workday, take breaks every hour – go for a walk around the block, stretch, do a few laps on the stairs, go to the kitchen to make some tea, make yourself a nourishing lunch and slowly savour it, take a nap.

At the end of end of your day, create another ritual to finish your work session – checking off your to-do list and creating your fresh list for the next day, doing ten belly breaths, playing a song that tells you work is done, take a shower, call a loved one, make dinner, workout.

presence

It’s good to know what you want to accomplish in a week, but after you know where you are going, switch your focus to one day at a time. Procrastination loves overwhelm. Avoid procrastination by focusing one day at a time or one task at a time.

Each morning or evening, create a checklist of priorities {my top five priorities for the day are…} and focus on checking them off, one at a time. Make your checklist do-able to avoid burn-out.

Be the best boss you’ve ever had.

time

Choose when you’ll be working, when you’ll be taking breaks and when you’ll be done for the day.

Throughout your day, look at the tasks you intend to accomplish and give yourself a set amount of time to accomplish them in.

One of the biggest challenges in working from home is feeling like you are never finished. It’s easy to feel like you should be working more because you are in the ‘office’. When your work time is done, it’s done. Shut down your computer, give yourself a hug and step away for the day.

Give yourself days off. Guilt-free, lazy days to sleep in and watch movies. To take a bath for an hour and get lost in some brain candy, to spend the whole morning in a cuddle pile.

Create boundaries around your time and stick to them.