Working from home can be a boon or a bane. With the Restricted Movement Order in effect since 18th March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home is a new norm. Although it is easily doable, performing effective work is a challenge. Constant distractions, miscommunication and fatigue are common reasons that hinder effective performance when working from home.
As a business that is run 100% from home since two years ago, I might know a thing or two that can help. In between my commitment to my clients on deadlines, attending to The Grammar Helpline subscribers, writing for my blog and creating upcoming products – I have four children between the ages of 8 and 1 to attend. So I fully understand if one feels stuck and clueless.
More important than ever, such trying times prompt us to evaluate our priorities. With clarity on our priorities, we become aware of our purposes. As we focus on our purposes, the allotted 24 hours for each day is enough for everyone to live fulfilling lives. So let’s look into my three tips to work from home effectively.
TIP NUMBER 1: Have FIVE main tasks to tackle each day.
It might seem too little, but completing five main tasks that are aligned with your purpose and goals is better than 10 random tasks that you react to.
When working from home, it is easy to be reactive to each and every work email, although most of the time we are being CCed and no action is required from our side. The anxiety with emails and office instant messages can quickly build up, and cause unnecessary stress. Having a list with FIVE main tasks to tackle keeps you proactive and focused.
Working from home effectively requires one to honestly assess their task list and classify its importance. Being in an email ping-pong is definitely not an effective way to solve a problem and a definite waste of time. Reducing the amount of time spent working on reactive tasks is the key to work effectively from home.
Taking ownership of your FIVE main tasks each day, will lead you to your purpose and achieve your goals. More importantly, it gives you control over how you run your working day at home, despite the chaos happening in the background.
TIP NUMBER 2: Maintain a schedule.
Keeping a daily schedule is important when it comes to working from home effectively. Waking up at the same time each day, having your meals (and the kids’) at a fixed time will establish discipline and routine for yourself and your family.
Although this is the chance to slumber in until right before work starts at 9am, this is not a recommended practice. Benefit from the time you don’t have to use for commuting to learn a new skill, or to bond a little longer with your kids over breakfast. Messing up your circadian rhythm (your sleep-wake cycle) might aggravate your anxiety and appetite. Inadvertently reducing your performance when working from home.
It is easy to slip into holiday mode when working from home. Just as it is easy to build up beneficial routines to help you and your family cope with the RMO. For all we know, this could be the best time to teach ourselves and the kids some discipline.
TIP NUMBER 3: Be mindful with what you do.
We have probably heard of the term mindful but never really got into practising it. Or we might think it is an overrated slogan that is used by meditation practitioners. The truth is, mindfulness can save you if you knew how and when to practise mindfulness.
There are two ways to achieve mindfulness which is by focus and by awareness. In order to work from home effectively, you need to use first route – focus. Being focused on your work while working from home is paramount in order to give your best.
Placing your workstation where there is the least distraction is one of the best ways to achieve focus at work. Use a ‘baby monitor’ so that you are aware of the safety of your kids, but not distracted by their activities. This way, your kids get some time to play independently (without direct parental supervision) and you can have your work done in peace.
However, there are times when you will still be distracted by a child’s needs. And this would require your mindfulness in the second aspect – awareness. Being mindful of the bond you’re creating with your kids by accommodating to their needs is priceless. Heighten your consciousness by being aware of the shape of their eyes when they squint, by being aware of how grateful you feel that you are given time to be with your family – being grateful with what you have now gives impetus to do your best at work and at home.
Focusing on your purpose and goals, practising discipline with your schedule and being mindful with whatever comes your way are the keys to working from home effectively. If anything the COVID-19 pandemic is giving us, it is the chance to be together, to simplify our processes and to reassess our priorities.
I hope these three tips help you with making the best of such trying times. Which tip do you think would be most beneficial for you? I would love to know! Leave a line on the Comment section below. Or if you are a Baini Mustafa Weekly Email subscriber, simply reply to me with your thoughts.
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If you would like to read more soothing blog posts from me in regards to coping with the Restricted Movement Order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find it here.