Updated: Apr 21, 2020
OK, so we came to the conclusion that we are in a time of war. But you don’t have to be a POW. Even if you are in your bachelorette pad, your quiet and controlled sanctuary, the WFH glitter has probably dissipated, converting to dust on the computer screens you now use to see the world, every day. Your current WFH digital isolation merely needs a reboot- a "do-over" if you will. The facts: Homes weren’t made for work (if unplanned typically) just as work wasn’t designed for your children, significant other, dog, Lazy-Boy and/or Kitchen-Aide everyday. Having that much unworklike activity in a home while you are attempting to work is a set up for disaster unless you redefine your home life for work/home balance success. Time for a the WFH Reboot! Here is how in three steps, with an additional bonus step for good measure! Step 1. Take a moment. I am a huge advocate of “taking a moment” especially with the chaos of the Pandemic consuming your whole world- work and personal. It has turned into Virtual Reality and the walls of your lovely abode are closing in, along with the computer screens that burn your eyes and the humans you used to enjoy being around when you had time away from them.
Schedule 30-60 minutes to have your favorite cup of coffee/ tea, alone. This is your time to breathe, think and make a plan. Have something to write with because, yes, this is an exercise. Start the Pro and Con list for your own WFH experience thus far. This will help you determine what needs work (cons-for now) and what remains positive (pros-the things you can be grateful for). You don’t need to come up with solutions for any of the cons just yet or go into a daydream with the Pros you’re proud to come up with. Solely focus on getting them all written down in two columns. Writing can help ease anxiety and is a fantastic starting point for the planning phase. Step 2. Make a plan. Once we have established these pros and cons, it’s time to brainstorm, and there are so many tools and resources available to help you during this phase (subscribe below for more tips and resources). So, your con list shows that you have been sitting at your desk too much since your “war from home” started? If you have a laptop and an ironing board, I promise you have an opportunity to move from your desk to a standing position while you work, if only intermittently throughout the day. Are the kiddies, hubby and/or pup, walking aimlessly by your screen when a video conference is clearly in progress? (I mean you are in your PJ pants and a button-down blouse... obviously they should know better, right?!) Perhaps this is an opportunity to institute a sign that goes up near your work station, alerting your new honorary coworkers to stay away during that time.
These may only be quick fixes, and you can go for more permanent and expensive ones now or in the future, but the point is- do something to make the change and improve your situation however you can. NO EXCUSES. And the calendar! Ah the calendar. Schedule, schedule, schedule in the plan phase. If it’s in writing on your calendar, paper or digital, you are forced to acknowledge it. Step 3. Execute. This is the hardest part- the execution of your WFH Reboot plan. But, it’s just like a diet and exercise plan. Let's face it, we've almost all been there- make a plan on Sunday to only eat salads and work out for an hour a day starting on Monday. By Wednesday (sooner for me) chocolate cake sounds like a better idea and then you feel defeated, give up, and decide you will deal with it at a later date, some time in the future, when it is more convenient, etc. It isn't a long-term, healthy plan. If you jump into this reboot, full-force, expecting to get everything accomplished immediately and return to your seat as the queen of your kingdom (perfection), you are setting the stage for failure and simply overwhelming yourself (and probably those around you) even more.
The point of the WFH Reboot is to stop, recognize what is and isn’t working, and act on the facts. This is when the calendar part comes into play big time. Schedule yourself to reboot. You didn’t onboard your job in one day in the office. It takes some time to acclimate...for you and your new coworkers. For example, one day, take time to deal with the ergonomics of your WFH situation and focus on that throughout the day. Another day, maybe adjust your calendar if you are finding you can’t focus on work tasks or all you do is work. (You definitely don’t need burnout right now.) Bonus Step: Be Grateful, Be Kind, and Be You. As you do the WFH Reboot, these three items are key throughout the process:
Be Grateful for the good things you have around you. They still exist- possibly masked as a puppy on your feet all day, little ones running and screaming at the most inopportune work times, or a significant other making a guest-star appearance on your video conference to ask what you're doing for the tenth time. But, they are yours, and they are there, keeping you company through this storm.
Be Kind to yourself and others. This is an adjustment for all involved, both in your home and many others. Cut yourself and your loved ones some slack. And reach out to others you can't be with right now. They probably need another voice as much as you do.
Be YOU, even during a time when anxiety, stress and pure isolation may lead you to feel pretty crappy and forget who and how wonderful YOU are. Take time to be by yourself and recharge, if only for a short time, to enjoy being with YOU. For more tips and resources related to the topics in this blog, please subscribe below!