We already know that it’s challenging to avoid taking work home with you. Our devices mean that we are working longer, answering emails at evenings and working on reports at weekends. Right now, more than ever, we risk slipping into a work-life fluidity where our days and spaces blend together that can make it hard to relax and fully recharge – at a time when we know how vital it is to take care of our mental and physical health.
This article will help you to deliver on your professional outcomes whilst being able to care for yourself and your loved ones. At Breakthrough, we believe that the key to reducing stress and anxiety is to seize control of your time and activities. Building a routine and schedule (see our Breakthrough Principles for Working Remotely) will help clarify boundaries between work and home routines and also free up extra space to allow you to virtually check on isolated relatives and teach and play with any children who are stuck at home. You’ll even regain some time to work on yourself!
ACCEPT & FLOW
Give yourself permission to adjust. This is an EXTRA-ordinary time! With many feeling uncertain and anxious, it is important to prioritise our mental and physical wellbeing. Accept the current reality. Accept the uncertainty and the inability to plan into the future. Once you do this, you can then focus your energy on what is inside your circle of influence.
As human beings when we are stressed, we see less possibility, become less motivated and are less likely to identify solutions to problems. Give yourself and your team some slack! You will not be able to immediately perform at your highest standard. Ensure that your team is aware and understands this. Communicate regularly to build psychological safety and allow them (and you) to feel more at ease – which counterintuitively will lead to more efficiency, not less.
BUILD A SET OF OUTCOMES & A SCHEDULE FOR EACH WEEK
On Monday morning, draw up a set of outcomes and plan a schedule for the week. Include mealtimes, hobbies, exercise, home improvement projects, play time and lessons with your children, virtual check-ins with family members, as well as your virtual meetings and business tasks. Remember to write a Not To Do List too! Maybe there’s a day when you won’t watch the news, or times during the day when you won’t let your kids interrupt you.
MAKE A DAILY ROUTINE
Chunk time for yourself before, during and after standard working hours. You’ll be saving time each day by avoiding a daily commute – this is golden free time! Instead of switching on the news straight away or jumping into your inbox, take some time when you first wake up to meditate, read or do some exercise. Then get dressed and enjoy breakfast together with your family. If you are living alone, organise virtual breakfasts with friends so you can eat together and enjoy a coffee.
DESIGN YOUR SPACE
If you have the luxury of a home office, make the most of it! If you don’t, be intentional to set up and tidy away your workspace each day. Avoid the temptation to dive straight into answering emails until you are properly set up at your workspace.
Put active thought and planning into activities to do at home. Inevitably, our relationship to our homes are changing – some may associate their space with a negative connotation and feel trapped. We need to ensure that our free time is spent intentionally to encourage feelings of productivity and achievement. Play board games, exercise, hang those pictures you’ve been meaning to put up, re-pot some plants, arrange virtual coffee, drinks, and dinners with friends, relatives and colleagues.
TAKE A FULL ON LUNCH BREAK
Leave your laptop and phone in your office or another room (you could even zip it away in your bag) and re-create the home space. Prepare a lunch to enjoy together for an hour, or use this time to exercise. If you find that you keep missing this time out or are overrunning, set yourself an alarm so that you avoid skipping lunch!
MANAGE YOUR TIME
Our inner clock can play games on us when two worlds suddenly collide. Keep an eye on the time throughout the day. Remember that your usual office working hours still apply. You may find that you are working more than usual. It is common to feel an irrational sense of guilt about being at home – rather than in meetings, travelling or commuting – which will propel many to feel the need to work more and harder. Instead, focus on how you can maximise outcome delivery, rather than input of hours or tasks.
Hygiene has never been more critical. Even so, with everyone stuck inside, it is easy for our homes to get cluttered and messy. Keep your space clean and as clutter-free as possible: to reduce stress and distraction. Tidy spaces help us to foster soothed and tidy minds. Likewise, connect with nature by spending time on your balcony or garden, or even growing and using fresh herbs from your windowsill!
Curious to learn more? Register your interest to our upcoming Webinar about being Full On at Work and At Home, led by Breakthrough Global’s Managing Director Zannah Ryabchuk, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.