For nearly two weeks now, families across American have been forced into a unprecedented situation as schools and offices and schools have shut down with strict shelter-in-place government orders in effect to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many have reached that point where working from home with kids feels unsustainable. While the country navigates this current situation, here is a reminder to go easy on yourself.
While the situation feels impossible for two-parent homes where both partners can work from home, while attempting to help educate their child, it can be exponentially harder for single parents, kids with special needs, and parents who have to work outside of the home. Add to that the increasingly worry of finances, the lack of proper technology for online distance learning, and new challenges of grocery shopping and managing outside time, all while social distancing, it can feel downright overwhelming.
As many Americans adjust to the new norm of working from home, there can be a lot to get used to. Here are some work from home tips to help you get more acclimated:
1. Create a clean workspace.
You lose focus is a messy area. Your kitchen table is most likely going to be your work desk for the next couple months. Clean off all the year-old coupons and stacks of mail and get organized. You will feel less overwhelmed without clutter surrounding you.
2. Separate your workplace from where you relax.
You need to have a separation between work and home life. This can be incredibly difficult to differentiate when you work from home. Slumping on the couch will make you less productive and sleepy as the day goes on.
3. GET. DRESSED.
It may seem like a dream to get to work in your pajamas. If you want to do that for the first couple days of working from home, go for it. After that, you need to get dressed each day. Even if you wear sweats and a t-shirt, get dressed. Changing your clothes gets you out of lazy/sleep mode and into work mode.
4. Plan your workday around when you are the most productive.
Are you a morning person? Do your work right after you get up. Night owl? Do you work at night. The best part about remote work is choosing your own hours. So, do what’s best for you.
5. Make a to-do list with goals each day.
Make a to-do list on a piece of paper with a checklist so you can cross things off as you go. Being able to physically check something off your list makes you feel more accomplished.
6. Take Breaks to Socialize.
This does not mean to go meet your friend out somewhere, especially right now. Facetime your mom, Skype with coworkers or a friend. Being lonely can make you feel depressed. Just because we can’t hang out with friends in person, doesn’t mean you can’t still talk with them throughout your day. Facetiming is perfect for this. Also stepping out side and getting some fresh air is a great way to re-energize (kids included!)
7. Schedule breaks.
Take a break. Take lunch. Don’t squeeze all your work into one period of time. Take your time and pretend you are at the office. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
8. Stick to a routine.
Juggling meetings, deadlines, all while playing home school teacher and lunch lady is a lot. Plan ahead and work out a routine that works with all members in the home to get through the day as efficiently as possible. This includes routine wake ups, bedtimes, meals and breaks.
Some of us are just beginning our journeys of working from home. It will be an adjustment for sure if you are someone who has never done this before, but it something many of us must do to protect ourselves and others around us. This is simply a part of us each doing our part to flatten the curve.