With all of this coronacrazy you’re probably sick of us all giving you advice on how to work from home so I thought I would mix it up with this post.
(Though if you do want remote work advice, you can read my latest for Fast Company: Panicked About Working From Home? Here’s How to Do It Right)
Instead I wanted to talk to you about how to make sure you’re taking time to not work while you’re home.
I’m noticing for myself that although focus with work is harder because of all the uncertainty, the most difficult parts for me are actually the things outside of work. Here are the two main areas where I’m trying to regain a sense of order after my strongly established routines were literally blown up in the last week.
Focus is not usually an issue for me but I’m finding that it’s been harder in the last seven days because I felt a much stronger urge to be on social media and there was way more texting than usual. It’s very sweet for people to be checking in but a lot more communication than normal. Because of this plus the emotional roller coaster of everything going on, I haven’t been at full productivity during the day. I’m still getting things done but not at 100%. That’s made me feel less like I’ve gotten to a good ending place by the end of the work day. Also with not having the normal times I would get together with people in the evening, it gives me less of a hard stop.
So…. Here’s how I’m trying to get back on track.
One is by drastically reducing the time I am on social media. This is not usually an issue for me but wow it was a big draw at the end of last week. Also, I hope the initial shock waves of this will all subside so there’s not as much emotional turmoil. That will help me to get more done during the day.
The second thing I need to do is to start setting a more strict end-of-work time, even if I’m not going anywhere. Having guilt-free downtime is so important for mental and emotional health.
If you’re struggling with the same thing, I encourage you to work with me on reducing distractions during the day and setting a definite time when you’re off the clock.
For some people, gyms and pools being closed is no big deal. But for someone like me this is a massive deal. Before this hullabaloo, I was at the Y at least five days a week, which was amazing for me socially and physically. So to go from five swims to not being able to swim at all and not seeing any of my friends is a dramatic lifestyle change.
This has been a real challenge because I need to completely re-work my workout schedule. And I’m not nearly as motivated because I love swimming so much and my favorite workouts are with groups of people. For those of you who also swim, do classes, or other gym sorts of workouts, I know that this is tough on you too! It’s sad from both not having the physical side but also being deprived of the stress release.
So… I’m taking this day by day. My morning routine that I had scheduled down to the minute is no more until they start to de-escalate everything. But the best I’ve figured out so far is that the night before, I can come up with a plan for the next morning based on what I think is most important. So for example, after prayer, I might exercise and then tidy up the kitchen before getting ready for work. And at least so far doing workout videos that have beautiful beaches in the background and fun music seems to be the best option. (The weather is currently in the 40s and 50s and rainy so outdoor conditions are less than ideal for walks or runs).
I encourage you to do something similar. You don’t need to do the same exercise as me. But I do encourage you to decide when you will do physical activity and what you will do. Motivation is a lot lower for a lot of us lately because we can’t do the exercise we love, be with the people we enjoy, and for those who compete all of our competitions and games are taken away. But physical activity is essential for physical, mental, and emotional health so we need to keep at it if we want to come back stronger than ever.
I hope these ideas help. I know that there are much more massive issues people are facing right now. But sometimes doing the little things we can do to improve our situation can make a big difference.
About Real Life E
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She was named one of the World’s Top 30 Time Management Professionals by Global Gurus. The Christian division of her company focuses on a God-centered approach to time management through Divine Time Management.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. FaithWords published her third book Divine Time Management: The Joy of Trusting in God’s Loving Plans for You. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.