During the unprecedented times Coronavirus has brought, it’s important to stay positive for the sake of our mental and physical wellbeing. Our primary message is that we are #strongertogether in fighting this and a sense of community spirit is vital to all of our success. So, our objective is to keep you motivated and moving forward with things like this blog and the #positiveseries videos we have been running on our social media channels @boundcoaching.
Today, we give you some hints and tips based on practical experience, on staying happy and productive during these challenging weeks and months ahead. Some people may regularly work from home and have an established routine and set-up, others may be new to it. Whichever group you sit in, hopefully you’ll find some useful takeaways.
Our Top 10 tips:
- Begin with the end in mind. A Stephen Covey classic and one that never fails to set the tone to any task. Start by thinking ahead to a time when this has all ended. What have you learnt? What kind of person do you want to be on the other side of this? What kind of organisation do you want to work for? Keep in mind the simple mantra; ‘this too will pass’ as it helps to lift you into a future state of positivity.
- Shift mind-set to ‘other’. Despite the difficulties we all face at the moment, there is certainly a positive movement towards thinking of others first. Hopefully we have put the ‘selfie’ era behind us and can put move our focus to caring about other people and our communities. We hope this isn’t just a temporary measure but something that sticks because it promotes togetherness.
- Appreciate the small things. One thing we have been given is time and space to reflect. A break from the chaos and hectic nature of our everyday lives. During this period perhaps we can draw our focus onto the small things which we may have overlooked as we rushed around. Things like the beauty of nature and the spring blossom, a child’s smile or kind gesture from friends or loved ones. We encourage you to find your calm and take stock.
- Turn off notifications. We caveat this one with ensuring you stay up to date with the daily Government advice. However, as anything, it’s about frequency because the bombardment of your phone buzzing every second with the latest headlines can hinder your mood at a conscious or unconscious level. Our top tip is to watch the daily government news briefing at 17:00 or set parameters around how often you check your phone. It’s important to keep up-to-date but not become overwhelmed.
- Structure your day. To get the best out of your day, it’s important to structure it. It may sound simple and something you’re used to, but there any many more distractions at home including family, pets and children moving around. Maybe spend some time on Sunday or the first part of your Monday morning planning your week and structuring your tasks into digestible chunks. For us, an easy structure to follow is two blocks in the morning and two in the afternoon. You can time these as you see fit but it could be up to two hours in one slot. The structure helps the mind focus and know what’s next just like children’s school timetables which organise activities and help concentration levels throughout the day.
- Build in breaks. When planning your day, it’s absolutely crucial to plot out your breaks. 30 minutes every two hours is a good start but think about how you’ll spend that time. Will you sit in the same seat and check through your phone or will you get up and go into a different space for a change of scenery? The breaks are just as important for productivity as the work itself. We all hit blockages in thinking and it’s important to recognise that and ‘pen down’ for a while before restarting. Remember also that we are not machines and just because we’re not commuting and we’re staying in the comfort of our own homes doesn’t mean we can be expected to feel more energised or refreshed. Be reasonable about what you can achieve rather than over-committing. We are all human.
- Incentivise yourself. You may be familiar with the AGILE way of working which moves tasks through a series of stages towards a completion and debrief of what could have gone better. It’s a useful efficiency tool to ensure projects move forward. This can of course be done remotely but there may be other ways to keep your personal goals in check. For example, you could get creative and use lego blocks to represent different project milestones. Once the task or project is finished you could have a tower of bricks as a physical manifestation of what you achieved! On a simpler level, you could give yourself a healthy snack or chapter of the book you’re reading as a treat when you’ve completed tasks. Whatever you are motivated by, ensure it is written down or put on the wall to remind you to treat yourself as a reward for good work.
- Exercise + move. The temptation is to sit down all day in the home and not prioritise exercise. We are big advocates of a healthy mind and body working as one positive force. Perhaps your incentive could be to run around the garden a few times?! If not, make sure you plan some exercise each day. It could be as easy as swapping your chair for a Pilates ball to encourage good posture or performing some stretches during your breaks. Little and often is the key here – stay mobile and hydrated on water to help stay healthy and sleep better.
- Role model flexibility. It’s an ideal time to really encourage your employer and leaders to embrace flexible working and respect others. If you have to work from 8am-4pm or some other fully flexible hours, to juggle childcare, ask the question, get it signed off and champion it. It’s time we all put our pre-existing ideals such as working hours aside and embraced a new way of doing things which is dynamic and agile. It’s amazing what we can achieve when we set our minds to it. The old saying work/life balance has come to mean something different – it’s just balance now as work and life become blended into one. We see that as an exciting opportunity to change how things get done.
- Remember to laugh. To end on a high is important because it’s so easy to forget to laugh during these troubled times. Rather than your serious box-set, maybe select a comedy to wind your day down. Look for fun games to play with family or tell jokes. A smile and laugh goes a long way to relieving stress and we all need that right now. Try and keep things light and this is particularly important when it comes to being patient with partners and children. Staying positive and sharing in some fun activities together will help enormously because life is and will go on.
We hoped you’ve picked up something useful from reading this and please stay tuned for our next blog when we outline a few simple hints and tips for remote team working. Please stay in touch as we are here for you and want to help in any way we can to support you. If you would like a virtual cup of tea with us or some professional coaching, then please get in touch. Stay safe and well. #BoundTogether