Working from home, whether for the first time, at a whole new level, or even business more or less as usual can be challenging, especially if you have other people living with you who aren’t used to so much home time together. Many friends and colleagues – with young or grown children at home, stay-at-home or working (and now also working from home) partners or parents, or living and working alone – have asked for advice and tips. Here’s what I’ve learned from working from home for more than 20 years.
1. Prioritize you
There is a reason we’re told to put on our own oxygen masks first. We all are responsible for our own health and wellbeing, and we need to take care of ourselves for ourselves and for our others, and for the people who we don’t know yet. When working from home, it’s important to step away from work and your workspace at home, to seek balance and tend to our physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual selves. Whatever your current practice, keep doing it. When it feels right, or you get inspired, try new practices that prioritize you.
2. Be kind to yourself
Do what feels right. We know what we like, and what we don’t like. We know what makes us feel good, comfortable, and at ease. Working and living in our preferences makes us feel good and energizes us. Do as much of the things you can in the way you like to do them. Prefer to email over phone calls? Good, you know what you prefer. I like to apply the Dale Carnegie ratio of at least 3:1- three things that feel true to who we are for every one thing outside our comfort zone.
3. A Moment Alone
Start every day with calm and silence. What time is this? When you wake up. Before everyone else wakes up, even for a moment. I am a morning person so for me it’s before the sun rises. The more you can add to take care of yourself the better. How we do that is different for everyone – a hot shower, meditation, journaling, exercising, coffee. Allow the first moments of your day to just be for you. Om
4. Start Anywhere
If you’re struggling to get started, start anywhere. Most of us work from lists – whether electronically, on paper, or in our heads. We know our priorities, what needs to get done today or at least put in the works today. I am all for priorities. But sometimes we need to warm up. It doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is that you do start. It usually takes no more than 15-20 minutes to get into flow.
5. Stay connected
In one of my favorite books, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz, the author writes about how dogs see the world and what we can learn from seeing the world from our dogs point of view. Different perspective. Attention to detail. A multi-sensory experience. We need to stay connected to ourselves, to nature, and to each other. Feeling the sun on our faces, hearing the birds sing, and seeing the flowers bloom is good for our mind, body, and spirit. Staying connected to others is important, too. Start with the way you’re comfortable – phone, text, social media. Conversations don’t need to be physically up close to be meaningful – although I admit I can’t wait for a return to those conversations – and in-person hugs.