But hang in there! While the novelty of the situation might be gone, we’ve got some tips and tricks to make your days work for you.
1. Separate Out Your Work Location
Have you been working from your bed? How about your couch? The first week of working from home — that’s practically a right of passage. You’ve got to do that at least once to just to say that you did! But now that we’re in the nitty-gritty of the situation, you need to carve out some very intentional space to call your “office.” This can be a breakfast nook that you’re commandeering for a bit, a corner of your bedroom that you can pop a table up in or even the dining room table if you need it.
The idea is to set a space aside JUST for work. Sometimes balance doesn’t look like juggling, it looks like blocking out distractions.
2. Audio Matters
If you’re used to a general office chatter, the quietness of the home is a little daunting. It’s REALLY tempting to turn on “background TV” here, but let us warn you — TV has a way of always looping you in and cutting into your productivity. We highly recommend finding an instrumental playlist that helps to soothe your soul, stimulate your mind and keep you motivated. This can look like EDM, classical piano or soul hymns. Whatever it looks like for you, make a habit of turning it on to help set the tone of your “workday.”
3. Find a Rhythm With Kids
Some of you are used to working from home, but it’s the addition of kids that’s really throwing you through the loop. It’s so easy to get caught up here in worry, to-do lists (more on that later) and balancing being a good mom, employee and now teacher. Rhythm is really important here. You can spend all day fighting your kids into a schedule that you think will be PERFECT, but if you don’t take rhythm into account it will be a long uphill battle.
Take a day this week to pay attention to the natural flow of things. When do your kids need the most attention? Are they super energetic in the morning? Do they CRAVE your attention at lunch more than they actually crave food? When your kids need you — if you can, set work down and give them the attention they need. Maybe their down-time is actually 3pm and that’s when you can crank out the majority of your work. Maybe you need to wake up an hour earlier to crank out emails — or maybe stay up an hour later.
At the end of the day, wrestling your kids into a schedule will take so much time and energy you’ll be exhausted by the time you get to your lists, so pay attention to when time lends itself to help you get what you need to be done.
4. Take Intentional Breaks
We say breaks and we immediately think of “grabbing a snack” and while sometimes that’s exactly what you need, most of the time it’s not. Instead of grabbing a snack, think about a quick sweat sesh! Do some yoga, walk around the block, try a hit class or run up the stairs. Or, do some tidying around the house (again, more on that later!) Maybe a break is a good time to play a quick game with the kids.
You need to take brain breaks, it’s important to your workload, so take them in a way that is special to get to work from home. After all, this is a special time, so make it a special occasion as well!
5. Make Your To-Do List
Working from home shifts the daily work mindset. It goes from an “8-5” to a “get this done” kind of situation — so make the most of it! Start each day by knowing exactly what needs to get done, prioritizing urgent needs. We like to think about breaking this up into three categories.
What NEEDS to get done today? This typically looks like project completion and is the top priority, and the workday cannot end until it is complete
What do I need to maintain? This is a task looks like emails, inbound calls, scheduling and planning. You need to maintain things as they come in because you don’t want things to pile up and become urgent daily needs.
What do I need to prepare? This looks into the future. Knowing what you need to do to prepare for what’s coming around the corner can help keep your daily tasks balanced. If you’ve got a big project due date coming up, taking the time to prep for it in advance makes a huge difference in your daily work load.
Having these three categories helps you draw a line and define the “right now” needs and “the future” needs to assess when you can close the computer for the evening.
6. Keep Your Home Tidy
This seems like a tall task in the midst of this craziness, but trust us — it makes a huge difference. Try implementing a nightly “round up” where you set everything in place to start the next day off on the right foot. You’ll be surprised at how well this helps your mindset in the mornings, and each day you implement this makes the following day that much easier.
When you sit down to get work done, if you’re looking at a pile of dishes that will inevitably make dinner take a little longer — you’ll be tempted to stop work early and tackle the load. The same thing goes for laundry. Give your brain some peace of mind and use this as a time to develop home-keeping habits that have a SIGNIFICANT impact on your mental clarity.
7. Get Dressed
We can’t advise this enough — getting out of your PJs every day makes a HUGE difference in your sanity. While this is a great time to let your face breathe without makeup, or your hair heals without daily heat, putting on clothes that you didn’t just spend the night in puts you in a totally different mindset that helps put your brain break away from relaxing mode and into “work” mode.
Even if it’s a ~chic workout set~ if you didn’t sleep in it, it’s a-ok.
These times are crazy, but they also offer something to savor. Own it! Make your space your own, make your home a place you really want to live in and cherish the time you get to be with your kiddos. This is crazy, but we’re all in it together.