Many of the people in our industry, like industries everyone, have been displaced from their place of business and now are working from home. On top of that, many are having to juggle having their children at home, their spouse working from home and other family members or roommates doing the same.
Working from home is a challenging endeavor in the best of situations and what we find ourselves in, as a family, as a community, as a country, is far from the best of situations.
I started working from home about three years ago and it was a shock to my senses from being in an active, people filled office every day. At first, I thought ‘how wonderful’ to walk in my slippers to my home office holding my coffee cup in my pajamas. ‘How wonderful’ to be able to start a load of laundry at any time. ‘How wonderful’ to take a well-deserved break to watch my favorite TV show because didn’t I take breaks at the office? I thought to myself that I am still being very focused and feeling very productive. Then, about a week of this behavior went by and I had to honestly look at myself…I wasn’t very focused and I wasn’t very productive. The old adage of ‘squirrel’ was true. Anything would break my focus and lead me away from my desk. On the other side, I also found myself sitting at my computer until 9:30pm several times a week. There needs to be a happy medium.
So, what did I do? I already had a designated work space and I had all of the tools necessary but I needed to learn best work from home practices. I needed to set office hours and abide by them. I even began to set alarms for ‘lunch’ and ‘quitting’ time.
I learned that I needed to get up and get dressed and not sit in sweats all day. Feeling good and positive relays to keeping your mind sharp and focused.
I had to avoid distractions. I put a sign on the door to my office to let everyone in the house know that I was working and to enter at their own risk! In today’s current situation, distractions sometimes cannot be avoided as we have children at home. However, children (and other distracting members of the household) also need to learn that work time is necessary but you may have to adjust your ‘hours’ to coincide with naps and homework time.
Self-discipline is tool that needs to be learned. I found that I needed, more than ever, to actually put constraints on my time. This seems counterintuitive but time constraints can be one the most powerful forces behind ingenuity. If you are trying to create or refine a concept, give yourself a very short period of time—no more than 20-30 minutes—to generate as many ideas as possible related to a specific prompt. Then work from there.
In the home office setting, it is easy for you to become your own worst enemy. Shut off your personal email account, turn off the TV news (especially right now!), log out of your social media accounts, stick to the structure of a ‘normal’ office work day and above all else, set goals for yourself for daily tasks. Using your CRM to its full capacity is especially important right now. Make sure that you are working as efficiently as possible by fully taking advantage of the automation available to you.
Hold yourself accountable while still remembering that we are living in trying times…so also forgive yourself.
Written on April 7, 2020 by Peggy Corbett