A while back you may have thought a month of working from home would be heaven. BUT, my goodness there’s so many barriers that go with it.
You could be battling with slow video calls, kids screaming in the background or even pets accidentally spilling coffee over your laptop. How are you meant to meet the same deadlines and goals with all of this going on?
It seems all of us are adapting in some way during the coronavirus outbreak.
After a year of working from home I’ve learnt a fair few lessons. Some are straightforward like setting up a separate space and putting on work clothes. I’m sure you’ve heard these already.
BUT, after a bit of thought I’ve realised there are three alternative ones that have transformed the way I work. They’ve helped me to become more relaxed, more productive AND have seen greater results.
Here are my three alternative tips for working from home during coronavirus (that your boss won’t have told you)
Lower your expectations of yourself 10 fold
Let’s be honest, the systems are going to be slow until everyone gets used to working from home. You can’t expect to deliver your work in the same way as you would in the office. There will be some differences.
So be kind to yourself and lower the bar.
Allow yourself to work imperfectly, don’t beat yourself up if you need to push back a deadline and most importantly, don’t feel like a failure if you spend 3 hours messing with IT systems and don’t do any work.
Key action – Challenge yourself to identify the expectations you’ve unconsciously set yourself. You may find it useful to write them down. How high is your bar over the next 2 weeks? Do you expect to meet all deadlines? Or that you’ll learn a language in the time you had for commuting?
Now lower that bar by 10.
Give yourself the space to breathe and adapt. And if you end up with more time and capacity THEN you can start raising the bar again.
Set yourself ONE main task each day
If you have pets, housemates, parents, kids, vulnerable parents or even live alone, there will be distractions. Your time will be pulled in a multitude of directions which at times may feel impossible to manage.
Even if you live alone you need to battle with your guilty self-critical conscience which takes up time. (We waste a lot of time overthinking and overanalysing!)
To avoid overwhelm you need to limit the number of tasks you set for yourself each day.
Key action –Write down everything you need to do (if you’ve not already). Answer this question. What is the ONE item that you must do today? Even if this isn’t work related that’s fine. If you’re looking after someone, they may need to be your priority.
If you’re worried about delivering in both work and life then try this:
Set yourself one key WORK item and one key LIFE item.
Only expect yourself to deliver one task in work and life, if you do anything else, that’s a bonus.
Stop Caring so much
If you usually beat yourself up, think you’re stupid because you don’t know something or feel you’re not good enough (I used to!)… this is the perfect time to SLOW DOWN and STOP CARING so much.
When are you going to get another chance to do this guilt free because the whole world has literally stopped? (Hopefully not for a long time).
I’m not saying stop working or setting goals, I just mean throw the usual work pressures and perfectionism aside. Give yourself a break from your self-critical mind.
Key action – Recognise that right now you have the opportunity to relax, take a step back and focus more on you. Caring less about your work will actually help you to perform better before you’re more relaxed.
Say this out loud right now:
“If I focus on myself for the next 3 weeks, I’ll be stronger, happier and more energised when I go back to work.
The whole world has slowed down, and I give myself permission to slow down too.
I allow myself to care less about my work, and more about myself.”
So in short I challenge you to TAKE THESE THREE ACTIONS over the next 3 weeks:
- Lower your expectations – the world is different, don’t expect identical results
- Set yourself ONE key task each day – avoid overwhelm and give space for you
- Stop caring so much – give yourself a break from your critical mind
And if you’re feeling anxious right now about the whole situation then check out my post about reducing anxiety when loosing control.