Our lives have fundamentally changed over the last few months and a large proportion of us are working from home. To make this work well, we’ll need to look at how we can stay sane and mentally resilient during this time.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! If you can work from home at the moment, this is a blessing. Think about it this way, you’ve drastically cut down on your carbon footprint and cost of travel by not communicating to work and you’re able to stay safe from this nasty bug.
High fives all-round, right? Not so fast, this new arrangement also has the ability to drive us all nuts, so how do we keep motivated?
1. Start your day with an energising morning ritual to stay motivated
Get up early and start your day with a ritual of some sort. I’m not suggesting that you commit to a Nordic ice bath routine, although you can if you’d like, but do something that energises you.
My morning ritual involves listening to motivating music at a relatively high volume (mind the neighbours), along with the normal things like eating breakfast and getting dressed. Once all that is done I settle down in a quiet space for a 15-minute meditation before I start my day.
Whatever morning ritual you choose, make sure that you manage your state of mind during this time so that you set yourself up for a successful day.
2. Get dressed and comb your hair
When working from home, it can be easy to just work from your bed in your pyjamas all day. However, this is not going to help your mental state in the long run.
Get dressed, wash your face, comb your hair and brush your teeth. If you enjoy getting dressed up for work normally, then do the same at home, I prefer to keep it casual, but do whatever puts a smile on your face. Who cares if you’ve spent 30 minutes styling your hair for yourself, if it makes you feel great, do it anyway!
3. Eat breakfast and have a coffee, tea or whatever you fancy
Take care of yourself. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, make yourself a tea or a coffee and take a second to enjoy the fact that you do not need to elbow your way onto a train just to sniff someone else’s armpit or garlic breath today. The air in this space is yours to do with as you choose, fill it with the smell of fresh coffee or incense, that’s much better right?
4. Set office space aside
As mentioned above, your bed is not a suitable office! Set a bit of space aside to work in, even if it’s a small table or a comfortable armchair. Make sure the chair you are using is good enough to sit in for 7.5 hours without killing your back and neck muscles. There is no option to go for a message at the moment, so you’ll have to check your posture throughout the day.
5. Start your workday with a 15 min team scrum call
Taken from my time as an agile project manager, the one thing I still enjoy doing with my team is a scrum call. Some people call it a daily standup meeting, but I’ve always found that the physical act of standing up can seem awkward so stand up if you will, but take 15 minutes every morning to catch up with your team. The best format for these calls is to give each team member a chance to state; what they’ve achieved yesterday, what they intend to deliver today and if there are any blockers that they need help with. This meeting is not there to micromanage, it’s designed to inspire collaboration and teamwork.
6. Go for a walk or get some exercise to help productivity
It’s easy just to power through your day when working from home, but you’re still allowed to take a lunch break. Why not take a quick walk or go for a run before you grab lunch. Going outside will clear the cobwebs, just remember to keep your two-metre distance from others.
7. Put the radio on, not the 24-hour news channel
Given the current situation, it’s tempting to put the news on to play in the background all day. Don’t do it. It’s going to affect your mental state, the idea here is to stay motivated and positive. Rather stick to a radio station you like, they normally have news on as well so you’ll stay updated in the process.
8. Try a group working session to get everyone motivated
If you’re working on a project with a group of people, you can always have a virtual working session. This doesn’t mean that you need to talk to each other constantly during the session, see it as your virtual office space where you can all work as you would in an office and discuss things when you need to. It’s more about the company and camaraderie than having a structured meeting.
9. Finish your day and do something fun in the evening
Working and unlimited Netflix each night can get a little monotonous. But luckily so many people have made their offerings available online that you are spoiled for choice at the moment. Why not learn a new language, learn to play an instrument or even sing? Many professionals and teachers will welcome your custom during this time and you’ll gain a wonderful new skill in the process.
10. Remember that this too shall pass, even the bad times won’t last
Keep your chin up, if you feel demotivated don’t worry these things happen on occasion, you’ll eventually come out the other side. Don’t resist feelings of melancoly, acknowledge, accept it and slowly it and let it go. The saying, what you resist persists and what you stare at dissapears is so true even with your own mental state.