As we work together to slow the spread of Covid-19, many of us have been asked to temporarily work from home. At the same time, schools are closed, and parents are being tasked with teaching their children from home. Add in the stress of college courses and/or trying to gain traction in a new career, and you are likely feeling overwhelmed. So how can you succeed in all these different areas when they all seem to blend together?
- Develop a Routine
Going for a jog, making a cup of coffee, or getting dressed will signal to our brain that work is about to start. Begin each day with a purpose and try to begin work at a specific time. If possible, start earlier to provide extra time without distractions from children. Studies have shown that productivity is highest during the first few hours of the workday. Use this to your advantage by minimizing any distractions during this time.
- Change the Room or Environment Between Activities
This will help to reset your mind and prevent stress at work from carrying over into your time allotted for school. If changing rooms is not possible, sitting in a different chair or changing the lighting in the room may also help. Make these subtle changes every day and keep them consistent with each activity.
- Set Ground Rules
It is important that the people you live with, including children, know what you expect from them in order for you to succeed. If a child is too little to understand, perhaps say goodbye to them as part of your routine, just as you would if leaving to work or school. You may even try to keep your workspace a secret. If/when your cover is blown, be sure to lock the door behind you each day as you enter.
- Take Advantage of These Rare Circumstances
While there are many challenges that come from mixing work, school and family lives all under the same roof, look for the silver lining. For many, eliminating the daily commute is saving them both time and money that can be spent on more enjoyable things. When the pandemic is behind us and we return to our past routines, what are you going to miss? Identify the positives that come from these rare circumstances and take advantage of them while you can.
Keep in mind, there are millions of people who are dealing with the same challenges you are. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from coworkers or classmates. Reach out to those around you. When you find something that works for you, stick with it and don’t be afraid to share your ideas with others.