How to Effectively Work from Home During the COVID-19 Crisis
As a seasoned work-from-homer, the transition of post-COVID19 was an easy one for me, even with kids under foot. My main office has been at my home for several years, partly due to the global nature of our business and partly so I could homeschool my son. It’s not always easy juggling everything – especially as no one seems to take working from home as seriously as if you were to go to an office – but with a bit of creativity and flexibility, it’s not impossible.
To save you some heartache, here are some tips for you noobs out there. That’s game-speak for newbies – thank you, tiny humans for making me hip and cool. Except really, I’m not. ‘Cause I just googled the term and it’s seen as offensive, as in “you’re really bad at this.” But you probably are, so read on for some guidance from one who has graduated from the school of hard knocks.
Myspace is Still a Thing
Even if this is a just corner of your bedroom with a wicker chair and a fold out table (yes, I’ve been there!), make sure you have a little spot to dedicate as your workspace. This will help you get in the right mindset and help to keep your sanity. A “cloffice” (an office set up in a closet) can be spun to sound chic and cool, kind of like a “Cockapoo” is just a fancy way of saying you have a mutt. This fun word will detract from the fact that you have no sunlight or air, and are hitting your funny bone every time you try to check your email.
The Early Bird Gets the Work Done
I like to get up early before the house wakes up. I stumble to my desk all groggy-eyed and morning-breathed and work in my pyjamas for a few hours before the dog needs a pee, the kids ask about breakfast, and my body knows I’ve deprived it of a lie in. (If you need help sleeping so that you can wake up early, might I suggest PrizMAG pure magnesium bisglycinate for a fantastic night’s sleep?).
These two hours of distraction-free time are golden and often my most productive. After that, I get dressed, eat and start the day off as I normally would, and as a bonus the workday feels like it goes by so much more quickly.
Which brings me to my next point:
Routine is Paramount (If you don’t believe me, ask a Proctologist)
Listen, I know all too well how easy it is to get up, work, realize it’s 11:00am and you haven’t eaten, gotten dressed or even brushed your teeth. Bad habits will creep up quickly on you. Take it from someone who has learned the hard way, make sure you don’t fall into this rabbit hole. Not only will it keep you in a better headspace, but your mate and dentist will thank you.
I highly recommend a nice warm mug of MAG365 as a part of your morning routine. It not only helps keep you awake and focused, but it helps to pay my mortgage (hey, you didn’t think I was just writing this article out of the goodness of my heart, did you?)
I’d also recommend staying on schedule for bedtimes. This isn’t a vacation, folks. It’s a working staycation. There is a big difference, and Pina Coladas shouldn’t be free flowing!
Boundaries Must Abound
Many of you are working with kids underfoot, an arduous task on a good day. I’ve been told it’s frowned upon to lock them outside and claim you’re doing a homeschooling fire drill so instead you’ll have to sit down with them and set some boundaries. Try setting a Pomodoro-style timer such as 50 minutes on then a 10-minute break, and make sure you give your kids your undivided attention when it goes off. Headphones are a good way of signalling “off limits” to kids, and as a bonus you can pretend you don’t hear them when they try to break the rules and talk to you. And make no mistake – they will.
If your spouse is home, the rules apply to them as well. If they don’t listen, try the old “forgot to brush my teeth” bit I mentioned earlier.
Blessed are the Flexible, for They Will Not be Bent Out of Shape
There will be distractions. Lots of them. Learn to be flexible and you will feel much less stress. This “bane of your existence” is also the beauty of working from home; it doesn’t necessarily have to be a 9-5 job. If you have kids, take an hour off to play with them and make some memories. Or take advantage of the midday sun to soak up some Vitamin D and boost your immunity and your mood. Remember that both MAG365 BF and PrizMAG Plus have a lot of immunity-boosting ingredients.
If you heed my advice and work those two hours in the morning, it’s a great way to get a jump start on the old eight hours so you can fit in more distractions. And if all else fails, just blame your lack of productivity on COVID-19. Some good should come out of this pesky virus.
Don’t Worry, I’m a Professional
Remember to maintain some semblance of professionalism and resist the urge to become completely slovenly. Yes, you can eat chocolate all day with no one to judge you, and I encourage such coping mechanisms in these desperate times! But just remember to wipe your face. There’s nothing worse than being caught on a Zoom call with broccoli in your teeth or chocolate smeared on your cheek. That little video of yourself in the corner isn’t a mirror, so resist the urge to pick the food out of your chicklets; whatever you see, they see it ten times bigger. It’s better to avoid this unfortunate situation all together.
Other infractions include not brushing your hair, still wearing your jammies, and a general air about you that screams Castaway. And remember that if things get desperate, feel free to cough politely and mutter something about the coronavirus.
What are you Packing?
Pack a lunch just like you would if you were heading to the office. This saves you from reaching for the unhealthy convenience foods because they are quick and easy. It makes sure you are eating the rainbow (no, Lucky Charms cereal doesn’t count) and keeping your immunity up. And speaking of immunity, a MAG365 BF mocktail is a great afternoon delight to keep your immune system strong. As an added bonus, packing a lunch could save you from that chocolate smear across your face during a video meeting with your boss.
Friends and Family Don’t Always Get It
Thankfully a lot of us are in the same boat when it comes to working from home right now. With the self-torture isolation we are all gallantly trying to pull off, hopefully uninvited guests won’t be an issue, but take it from me when I say that people don’t take your work-from-home job seriously. They will ask you to babysit, they will stop by unannounced, they will call to chit chat, and they will generally act like you don’t have a to-do list that’s as tall as Big Ben.
Gently remind them that their lives aren’t nearly as important as yours is, and if all else fails, you now have two tricks up your sleeve for driving them away: not brushing your teeth and the old chocolate on your face trick.
Move to the Rhythm
Find the rhythm that works best for you. My colleague loves to log on after the kids go to bed and get a feel for how the day went while cleaning up any unfinished tasks. I like to log off early afternoon once the kids are home from school (a moot point in this apocalyptic era) and have the evening to hang out with the fam-jam. There is no right or wrong way here, there is only your way. Or the highway. Which you are not allowed to travel on unless it is essential.
Movement is Necessary
Make sure you get up to stretch, connect with your people, and get out for a walk each day. It’s easy to start throwing off vibes of just getting out of solitary for shivving your cellmate if you aren’t deliberate about getting out of the house (COVID-permitting) once a day, even if it’s just for a walk around the block.
Fight the Feeling
If you find you are missing your colleagues or craving social interaction, try starting a group chat on What’s App, organizing a Zoom call, or set up a virtual coffee break date with your bestie. In fact, skip the coffee and drink MAG365 instead. Your nerves (and my bank account) will thank you.
The most important thing is to find your own groove and do what works best for you and your family, and don’t forget to give yourself some grace during the many changes and stressors you find yourself facing. This is a huge change for you and your family, and it is really, really hard if you have kids at home. You are trying to keep some semblance of normalcy and learning, and that isn’t easy on a good day. There will be days that your motivation is as hard to find as some grocery store toilet paper, and sometimes stepping away for a bit is the best thing you can do.
Without exception COVID-19 has the biggest (and longest) distraction I’ve faced in my years of home-based working. There is the national and local news, family chat threads, updates of the virus and how close to home it is hitting, displaced children, and general difficulty concentrating with all that is coming at you. This doesn’t even take into consideration the regular nuisances that come with working from home, so again – go easy on yourself, and hopefully your boss will do the same.
If all else fails and you’re losing it as soon as you wake up, remember that mimosas are a perfectly acceptable breakfast drink. And let’s not forget about Irish coffees – they were created for a reason. But a note of caution: if you don’t heed at least some of my warnings, your crazed zombie vibes just might give your mimosa-soaked self away.
This article was written to be entertaining. The author does not condone drinking on the job or during the day.