In times like these, filled with uncertainty and instability, getting work done in any capacity can often feel overwhelming.
How am I supposed to do my regular job when everything going on in the world is so irregular?
While it might not be easy, overcoming that voice in the back of your head is necessary if you want to be successful once we trek back into our offices. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up since we’ve started working from home that have helped keep me focused on my work during these tumultuous times.
Start Your Day Off Right
When you work in an office, this is easy. You wake up, get ready for the day, and commute to work. Structure is built into your morning without you even realizing it.
Working from home, I quickly discovered that, without the bus I had to catch at the same time everyday, my morning routine was in shambles. This forced me into a weird situation where I was simultaneously getting ready for the day after it had already started.
I realized I needed to create my own morning structure so that I could be ready to work by the time work started. I’ve always been more of a morning person, so I set my alarm 30 minutes sooner and now begin my mornings by doing the dishes and tidying up from last night.
This has replaced my commute and puts me into a productive mindset first thing in the morning and allows my body and brain to warm up before reaching out to prospects.
Don’t Do Chores During Work
I have a full load of laundry ready to be washed right now.
Should I get it started during lunch? Laundry doesn’t really take that much time out of the day anyway, right?
While you might only spend 30 total minutes interacting with the machines (or any other chore in your case), it’s still not a good idea for two reasons:
It throws off your schedule
In the words of Morgan J Ingram, “If you have an organized schedule, you’re going to have organized results”. Like I mentioned, maintaining a routine is paramount for work from home success. Your breaks are a part of that schedule. If you’re in the middle of account mapping when you need to switch your laundry you’ll be forced out of the groove you were in and have to start over after you move your clothes.
It’s not a real break
When you step away from your work for a quick respite, you should actually be doing something relaxing. Watch something on Youtube, read an interesting article, scroll through social media for a few minutes. Taking a break to do chores is just continuing to do work but with extra steps. When you return to your desk you won’t feel rejuvenated because you never actually stopped working.
Create a Space for Yourself
You don’t need to have a desk to create a “desk like environment”. What you need is a space that you can set up and leave in place.
At the end of the workday I leave my laptop, monitor, notebook, headphones, etc. – all things I keep on my desk in the office – exactly where they are (on one end of the dining room table). Then I spend the evening passively avoiding that area because it’s for work, and I need to maintain my work/life balance even when working from home.
Stay Connected to your Colleagues
For all of you extroverts out there this might be obvious, but it’s important for introverts too. While we’re all practicing social distancing it’s vital that we’re proactive with the types of social contact that we can have.
Because of this, video calls are essential. Instead of sending a chat to your coworkers, give them a video call instead.
Many people believe that 93% of communication is non-verbal. By video calling your colleagues you’re able to see their body language, better understand their tone, and listen to more than just the words they’re saying. It allows significantly easier communication than a simple chat or voice call.
This is also something you should do with prospects. After all, it’s important to be multi-threaded when you reach out to prospects, so why wouldn’t you want to use multiple channels internally too?
Using a tool like Drift Video or Loom allows you to show prospects that you’re all in a similar situation and you come across as more relatable and approachable because you’re exposing a side of yourself that they weren’t expecting to connect with.
At the end of the day, everyone has different strategies for making the most of their work from home situation, but by following these general guidelines I’ve been able to develop a daily routine that allows me to get just as much work done as I did in the office, putting me in an excellent position to continue successfully once we return to our offices.