Since the UK government announced the necessary lock-down measures on Monday 23 April 2020, to support prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus, many of us are now working from our own homes.
I went self-employed about 5 years ago and I learned quickly that there were things I could put into place to make working from home much more enjoyable and productive. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a checklist of things you can do in your home to ease the transition from office to home, while lock-down in the UK continues.
1. My Space
Make sure you have a delegated space in the house to work from. This may be difficult at the moment, especially if you have children and your partner is also at home, but in my experience, it is much better to be able to switch off at the end of your “working day” to be able to enjoy quality free time in the evenings.
2. Establish Rules
I don’t have any children staying with me anymore, but I do have a husband! Try creating a timetable and setting out times when you work, eat, spend time with the family, and exercise etc.
Colour code it and display it somewhere in the house so the kids and other family members know when you are planning to work, when they will have your undivided attention and when you go for your once daily walk etc.
3. Dress Code
I always get dressed as if I’m going to the office. Okay, maybe I don’t always put on make-up, but never PJs! For me it’s all about state of mind and if I’m dressed for work then I will work.
You might want to change up your wardrobe during lock-down so it’s a bit more casual – unless you really enjoy wearing a full suit to work at home! – but avoid PJs at all costs.
4. Set Goals
I’m a great believer in writing things down so I always set my goals for the week. It’s such a great feeling to be able to tick your to do list as the week progresses.
Hands up! I do admit that my tasks can change as the week develops, but I’ll simply carry forward anything I didn’t manage to complete that week to the next week. The point is, it really helps to write things down and get them out of your head and onto paper!
5. Set Priorities
These will naturally tie in with my goals and plans for the coming week, but if you have created a timetable setting out times when you work then it could be easy to take this to the next level by writing down your priorities during these times.
I always start my day by checking emails, forums etc and if life were simple I’d do the same at close of play. Sometimes though, I can get distracted during the day and I’m sure you will too.
I’m an early riser and find I can get a lot of work done before my husband gets up. You may find the reverse true, that once the kids are in bed that’s when you can get the bulk of your work done.
Schedule conference calls that fit in with your family and let people know that you may have to attend to a child/the front door etc. People will understand. I actually attended a Zoom Conference Call this week and someone had to drop out momentarily to attend to a puppy.
When you’re finished working, always leave the space, go to another room and watch some tosh on the telly, play with the kids, cook, exercise.
Love them. One for me, one for work and one for inspiration (blogs, new clients, ideas). Now is an ideal time to be thinking about how you are going to progress with your business once this is all over. If you could start your business all over again, what would you change?
It’s kind of difficult if all of your staff are furloughed at the moment, but you can sit down with your partner when you’re creating your timetable and see if you can help each other.
Even if it’s “I’ll feed the kids tonight and let you work”. But, remember your accountant may be able to help during this period and I’m pretty sure they are still working!
8. Restore Balance
Some days/weeks will be better than others and don’t expect things to always work out the way you planned them to.These are interesting times and a great opportunity for you to spend time with your family. Don’t get caught up in what you haven’t achieved today, but look at what you have done. Your children will love having you at home with them.
Finally, I would say make time to meet people which is difficult to do during lock-down, but you can chat to people and see them at the same time. And…it doesn’t all have to be work colleagues. Catch up with friends, family, organise the weekly quiz at the pub on a Zoom call, meet a friend for a drink and a chat at 7pm or a coffee and a scone at 11am with your mother.
Above all else, stay safe and sane, see you on the other side!
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