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Work (much) from home?

So how is it going? Working from home? Are you getting what you need to get done? Or are you stressing because you feel disconnected in your isolation? Are you distracted by the other people that are home with you now too? Are you trying to multi-task by doing laundry, cleaning baseboards and listening to a webinar?

If you are still having a tough time managing your days at home, I have a few recommendations for you, starting with these:

1) Prep the night before

2) Set the stage

3) Take regular timed breaks

4) Stretch, do some exercise, go outside and take a walk

5) Connect with others in a meaningful way

A little planning goes a long way. Take a look at your online calendar the night before and make sure you are ready for an early morning meeting on zoom or by phone. Map out your day just like you would at work, by scheduling your tasks and your breaks. Write it down (in pencil) on a paper calendar where you can see it from your workspace to keep you on track. This should take a whopping five minutes a night, but it will save you so much time the next day. Remember to use your mornings for creative or detailed work, as you are just naturally more focused then.

What do I mean by setting the stage? Very simply, have a well-defined workspace carved out that has what you need to get things done. A laptop or PC, with printer, good lighting and a comfortable chair, for starters. Paper, post-its, a nice big cup to put your morning coffee or tea in, and a jug of water nearby.

Additionally, you may want to add the following to really get you in the zone:

  • An aromatherapy diffuser to scent the air

  • Some essential oils (peppermint and orange are a good combo for revving up your energy, while lavender and frankincense create a more soothing atmosphere – depends on what you are working on).

  • Plants

  • Background music (classical is great)

I don’t know about you but if I sit too long, my a** aches. Yep, I get really stiff sitting in one spot, in one position for a length of time. One of the most beneficial things I have started to do is set a timer on my google calendar to pop up to remind me to move.

And more importantly, I do. I have some ankle weights, hand weights and a yoga mat nearby and I quickly get into exercise mode when I get a notification. I might do some bicep curls, squats or planks for about five minutes and then stretch a bit on the mat -done. During lunch breaks, I now go on a walk either outside or inside depending on the weather. If inside there are some great walking workouts you can do for anywhere from 12 to twenty minutes. And I take another walk at the end of the day.

Number 3 and 4 are kind of co-mingled together because breaks are perfect to get a little exercise in, that leaves you feeling more alert, focused – and fit, each day that you do it.

It is also important to take a lunch break, which some of us don’t really do at work. You know who you are. You power through some task while eating cheese crackers or a Pop tart. Not good. Take the time while at home to make yourself a healthy lunch and eat it away from your desk. If your desk is the dining room table, please move your lunch time break to the kitchen. It is so important to take the mental break too. Spend some time chatting with a loved one or catching up on a novel. Switch gears from work.

No one is happy to be sequestered at home against our will, however many of us are finding some great benefits such as spending time with a beloved pet. Your dog, cat or guinea pig is really enjoying all of the attention you are able to give them by being home and loves you right back. An unexpected bonus of connecting is reduced blood pressure too.

And perhaps you are finding better and more engaging ways to connect with your spouse, partner and children during this unanticipated time together. Maybe you are playing games or putting together a jigsaw puzzle together after work, because you now have more time, without the commute. Or maybe you just have a little more patience with everyone because you don't feel so jammed up.

Last, but certainly not least, reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, just to say “Hi, I was thinking about you. Are you OK?” Especially your older friends and family you might have normally visited, but now can’t. They are really feeling the isolation and could use a boost.

There is a silver lining to even the most daunting of challenges.I hope these tips help and if you have some, share them here.And when all else fails, reach out. I am here for you.

Have a productive week,

Coach Michelle

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