We are delighted to welcome guest writer and friend of In The Country, Tara Punter, to share her tips on getting the most out of working from home.
If you’ve found yourself working from home for the first time thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, how are you finding it? Did you have some preconceptions about what life as a homeworker would be like and have found it is actually nothing like you expected? Whilst it’s absolutely possible to work in you PJs and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional chocolate-based breakfast, there are perhaps some good boundaries to set.
When I speak to people who are struggling to adjust to working from home it’s not the clothes or food that is the main thing that is bothering them. It’s more that they often find it hard to get in the right frame of mind or that they see their motivation dip during the course of the day.
With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to share these top tips to help you get in the right frame of mind for successful home working so that you nail it! As we don’t know how long this new ‘normal’ will go on for, it’s important to get into a comfortable and suitably productive swing sooner rather than later.
Put in place a morning routine (and stick to it)
Did you know that what you fill your mind with for the first hour of the day is the pattern it follows for the rest of the day? If it’s the news, your email inbox or social media, then you are on track to be less productive and more distracted by those things during your working day. In fact, scrolling social and checking emails has been shown to make us 40% less productive for the rest of the day. so be firm with yourself and don’t be a smartphone zombie in the morning.
Focus on the good in your life
So instead, first thing, trying making a list of the things you are grateful for. This could incude pets, horses, family, a great cup of coffee or your own good health. List, or say out loud, some positive statements about yourself. We can be programmed to let negative thoughts overpower positive ones, but by thinking and verbalising positive statements instead we can train our unconscious minds to be more positive all the time. Clever, eh?
Keep a clear desk
Once you get to your desk, which it’s wise to keep as uncluttered as possible, work in designated blocks, of say 45-60 minutes – whatever works for you. After each block, get up and move around; make a drink and stretch out. It can be easy for hours to slip away when you don’t have co-workers to speak to, so be sure to give your brain a rest and wake up that body once in a while! You’ll work more efficiently if you’re refreshed.
Disconnect where possible
Unless you need to be constantly making and receiving calls, try to put your phone on silent and away from your eyeline. This will remove the temptation to respond to each and every notification when it comes in or to ‘just quickly’ check Instagram or Facebook when your brain is looking for a distraction. Instead, try to get into the habit of checking it and replying to urgent messages say once an hour.
Be mindful of scrolling
Apps are amazing in so many ways, but never forget that they are designed to keep you scrolling and consuming content for as long as possible. Getting likes and comments trigger the pleasure centres of our brains…rather like sugar. The downside, or ‘crash’ is we can get gloomy from comparing ourselves to others and feeling as though our own life isn’t as good, or even ‘enough’. Try to get a balance and if you feel like social media isn’t making you feel good, step away from it.