Have you suddenly found yourself working from home?
By Kathy Schmidt, Broker Owner of Schmidt Realty Group Inc.
As a REALTOR® and business owner, I’ve always mixed my time between office, home and outside appointments, so being at home full-time isn’t as big a shift for me as it might be for many of you. If you’ve gone to a certain building from 9-5 daily for years, it can be disorienting not “going to work” and not being in your familiar environment. At the same time, you might be discovering some of the benefits… like a 30-second commute to the den vs a 30-minute drive to the office! To help you make the most of your new “home office” I thought I’d share some tips that have worked well for me over the years:
- Set up a plan for your week and your day. While it may feel like everything is all over the place in the Covid-19 crisis, now that we’re a few weeks in it’s time to establish a “new normal” for yourself. Creating a weekly and daily plan not only ensures you get the right stuff done to move your work forward, it will also give you a sense of control… something we could all use a little more of right now.
- Set up a space that is designated for work. One of the reasons you might be feeling a bit unsettled is you’re missing your usual environment. The next best thing to being in your familiar work setting is to create a new one. You might be working from home for a good while, so it’s a good investment of your time to set yourself up a space that will ground you in a work-oriented mindset. Whether you’ve got the luxury or taking over an entire room or you need to use a corner of the dining room table, establishing one place as your “office” will really help you move into a productive mindset more quickly. Put something uplifting in that space as well. Even a mug with a quote that inspires you can be helpful. Using that mug only when you’re “in your office” can be a positive reminder that you’re in “work-mode”.
- Set up a time (or times) that is designated for work. Following up on setting up a space for working, whatever you do, avoid keeping your laptop by the sofa and sliding from work-mode to home-mode constantly. Trust me, I learned by experience that doing this leaves me feeling like I didn’t get must work done and I wasn’t really “off” or relaxing either. Having kids at home, and perhaps home-schooling may mean you can’t work as many hours a day as you thought you would. Be gentle with yourself and be realistic. Establishing a few time-blocks during the day when you check email, work on projects and book meetings can be helpful. Discuss this with your family and share with them how setting “office hours” for yourself will help you shut down work and “head home” to really be with them at the end of your day.
- Set up a schedule to take care of your body! Because we’re all on Zoom instead of standing up and going to a meeting down the hall, it’s more important than ever to make sure you move regularly! Set a timer every 30 minutes to remind you stand up and stretch. Use those breaks to clean up the kitchen or put a load of laundry in. Your body, and your family, will thank you! And whenever possible, stand when on the phone or on a Zoom call. Consider investing in a stand-up desk if your budget permits and you think you’ll be working at home for more than a few weeks.
- Set up accountability to keep you on track. I’m a big believer in coaching, and the outcome of working with a great coach is learning to coach yourself. Set some goals for each week, everything from cleaning out the garage to finalizing that business proposal you’ve been putting off and create a reward for yourself. Maybe you’ll order in from your favourite local restaurant (a great way to support them during this crisis by the way!) Or maybe you’ll open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Mutual accountability with a friend or colleague can be helpful right now as well. A daily check-in at the beginning or end of the day (or both if you’re a keener!) can keep you on track and feeling connected!
We’re all dealing with so much change right now, and it can feel overwhelming. Creating a bit of structure in the way you work can be a huge help. If you’d like to chat more about this, I’d be delighted. Personal productivity and planning are kind of my jam. Insert nerd hashtags here lol! Reach out anytime at Kathy@WeSellEdmonton.com I’d love to hear how you’re making working from home work for you!