Hey Guys! So it’s official, these series are doing well and I am glad you’ve popped by today to read another article to help get by the COVID crisis. The topic today is close to me, I work in IT and working from home is not NEW for me. At times, I am super effective and at times things aren’t as good as it may seem. Working from home, is not for everyone, but if you apply the right principles, I promise you that you can THRIVE.
The moment you start taking “working from home” as an opportunity as opposed to a limitation, things start to change. Today on the blog, we have Sandy Dibden who is a health and performance coach and shares with you 4 pillars of making “working from home” WORK.
Just a few weeks ago the idea of working from home, with fewer commitments, may have sounded like an ideal solution to restoring the elusive work/life balance for many. No commute, freedom to exercise and eat when you want. Basically more TIME.
Yet the reality (particularly if you have kids home too), can be an entirely different experience, with days full of frustration, overwhelm and guilt. So how do we make “working from home” work?
I’ve been speaking with many companies and entrepreneurs over the last few weeks to help them establish a new, short term, optimal normal. Having run my own health and performance business, I have been working from home for over 10 years, firstly with toddlers now with teens, I understand that the constant juggle is real.
There isn’t a perfect or the only way to balance it out! But there are definitely some essential pillars that HAVE to be installed in order to work from home effectively. So here are the 4 foundations I find are my consistent non-negotiables:
First up has to be routine and consistency. If we only work when we feel like it and when everyone and everything else is organized, it’s unlikely much work will be done!
Early years of my home working life, my coach advised me to schedule everything. I resisted like crazy – freedom was my highest value and I love spontaneity! Yet these days I’m a HUGE fan of the google diary to map out work and personal time all in the same place. Client appointments, administration, lunch, exercise and family time all in there and color-coded helps me stay in a complete REALITY of time. This one is particularly important especially if you are a time optimist and always overestimate what can be done in an hour.
Treat this period of confinement as a marathon and not a sprint, if you were used to 8 non-stop meetings a day in the office, you might have realized by now that you need to re-work your normal routine. There must be breaks factored in, 10-minute breathers between calls – time to look at the kid’s assignments (or break fights), move your body or maybe just rest those eyes.
Virus or no virus, eliminating stress and including wellness fuels performance and creativity. So if our health has suddenly become a collective priority, then our routines also need to prioritize it in the same order. Stress massively affects our hormones which can reduce the efficiency of our immune system.
Next up, boundaries. Do those around you at home know when you’re working? Is it clear to them when you work from your family space or would your life be better if you rearranged your workspace?
I also make an announcement to everyone at home, “I am off to work” as I step into my office. I have seen this has proven to be effective as opposed to addressing problems such as “I can’t find my iPad or no milk in the fridge”. Clear and simple rules such as if the door is closed, no coming in to interrupt or just popping by for questions is something that works.
Delegation can also help enormously. Most women wear many hats, which makes working from home particularly challenging. There’s no time like the present to train up partners and children with the essential tasks required to keep the house running. ‘Who else could do this?’, is one of my favorite questions of all. Who else in the house can cook? Prepare meals? Help with the laundry? If delegating is done graciously then it can be a huge benefit to everyone. Communicating in ways that work best for your family to divide the tasks remains key. Many like to write things on a notice board so it’s clear and also reduces the nagging! However, choose what works for your family.
MOVE – OFTEN
An essential habit right now has to be “movement”. Not only does it feel good for your mind and body, but it also helps your overall well being. You can’t be running marathons in your gardens and apartments, but short bursts through the day work brilliantly to balance energy and boost productivity.
As a physical therapist, the #1 exercise I teach my patients and clients is to breathe and to breathe well. I have also covered this in my recent blogs, but for starters just observing your breath (breathing through your nose and seeing your stomach rise) is a revelation.
Our immune system needs moving muscles to pump the healing lymphatic system. Our lungs need us to breathe well to keep our respiratory systems as healthy as possible. Here are 5 simple yet effective ways to keep moving:
- Take 3 breaths through the nose and diaphragm as you sit back to read an email
- Do 10 squats between calls or tasks.
- Stretch or do a favorite yoga pose whilst you chat to others in the house or on the phone.
- Intersperse your work with active jobs like sorting the laundry, the gardening or even a walk while checking up on emails.
- Add a walk to your routine, you could do this whilst taking a call, chatting with your partner or even catching up with a friend.
Last but definitely not the least, mindset. Fiercely protecting it and being proactive to master it are the keys to everything and the above 3 tips will help you do so. As we learn to master our mindset, we start to better manage every decision, habit, thought and emotion we have.
A daily mindset practice during lockdown might include:
- Minimizing news exposure
- Being mindful of who you connect with – on your phone, on social media – does it feel like they are they energizing or draining your energy away?
- Reading motivating books or listening to podcasts to program your mind with quality input(s)
- Having a simple meditation routine helps you detach from thoughts and allows you to manage your emotions.
More time often means more opportunity for the monkey mind to take over. The monkey mind is that part of the mind that has incessant destructive thoughts – which can plague one with anxiety, guilt, and other uncomfortable feelings. Coping with these feelings becomes a big problem to deal with during isolation. Knowing and using sources of support during this time is of paramount importance.
So while there are challenges for us during this time, it’s important to appreciate the small gifts that help switch perspective. Appreciating the luxury of a long lunch break, time with your loved ones or maybe even the extra sleep. It’s important to check in with your life and work on the areas which require healing; when you do that, this period becomes a very precious opportunity.
Sally Dibden is a health and performance coach, physical therapist and a yogalates teacher for both businesses and individuals. She specializes in burnout and stress-related health conditions by managing hormones to optimize both body and mind. All services are currently offered online. She will be hosting the free Monday Mindset Meditation over the next few weeks over on the Wellbeing Consultant’s Facebook page.
Stay tuned for more resources, we have some great content lined up with experts in various fields – marketing gurus, coaches, wellness experts, chefs, and teachers to get you through this tough time. Stay safe and healthy! Make the most of your quarantine with My Swiss Story.
To read more articles from this series, click here.