One Percent

The whole concept of time has changed amid the quarantine period. People have taken on the reality of managing their life from a kitchen table or living room couch. Some of us are lonely, bored and anxious. Some of us are overstimulated by duties that tripled overnight. How do we manage our time so that it still serves us?

1. Create a schedule
For those of us that suddenly have an empty social life or those that are overwhelmed by working full-time and making sure kids finish school, our schedules have changed dramatically. One of the best ways to take back your power in this situation is to create a schedule that gives your day meaning and ensures that you care for yourself. Schedule live fitness classes on Zoom, run outside two miles a day, attend a virtual happy hour or networking session, attend a drive-by birthday party, etc. Make sure you delineate between your work and when you do other things so you don’t end up in front of your computer all day. Try to keep it normal, but if you end up working a few hours in the evening because you spent three hours helping your child with schoolwork during the day don’t sweat it. Just make sure you don’t work all night. Keep it realistic. Don’t worry, you can write a new schedule every day if you want to!

2. Exercise
Make time for exercise! Don’t give up on your new year’s resolutions just because life changed significantly. There are so many online fitness courses to take right now and gyms have quickly ramped up online classes for members. If you absolutely need people to work out with, there are even several organizations that offer live virtual fitness classes to keep people motivated. If all else fails, go outside and walk around the block several times a day. If you have kids, take a daily break from school and work at the park or in the backyard and make sure that it is equally about you as it is for them. Play soccer, create family-friendly obstacle courses, race each other … just make sure everyone’s heart is racing. This is an excellent opportunity to make exercise a habit for everyone!

3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Work on your communication skills with the people you live with, as well as those you work with. If it’s not working for you voice your concerns and frustrations, as well as suggest a compromise that might work for everyone. It might take you a few tries to get it right, but eventually you will. Don’t be afraid to bend the rules a little bit. You aren’t living or working in your normal space right now and emotions are high. Give yourself, your co-workers and your little ones the grace and space needed to feel comfortable. However, make sure you set boundaries (this ties back to creating a schedule!) to make sure that you accomplish tasks by the end of every day. For example, schoolwork has to be done before 2 pm, no work calls after 6 pm, run every morning at 7 am, etc.

So many of us talk about changing things in our life to make ourselves feel more empowered. This really is an opportunity to assert yourself more at work, incorporate more exercise, try a new hobby, engage with family members more, carve out time just for you or to ask for more help. We all make choices every day, and ultimately, we choose what and who is part of our life. I like to think of this as the One Percent Rule. Do one percent better than the day before and before you know it you will see a difference!

Tips for Working From Home

Today there are millions of people conducting local and global business from their homes. Given the heightened concern for maintaining social distancing due to the coronavirus, a significant amount of these people are new to working from home. And, the people working from home might not even be alone given that a large number of schools have switched to virtual classrooms. I have been working remotely for more than 13 years and I wanted to pass on some tips that might help make working remotely successful for an extended amount of time.

Technology

Obviously, a trusted and working computer is essential to being successful. Whether it’s your computer or the organization’s computer, make sure you have the appropriate software and applications and you are aligned with what everyone else is using.

A lot of people transitioned to working from home quickly, but if you have time make sure that the technology works and you have everything necessary to succeed, including dependable Wi-Fi. If your bandwidth is low and is struggling, shut down other programs to lighten the load. If on a video call, turn off the video and participate with audio only.

Communicate

When first starting out, it’s okay to over communicate with team members. The cadence will probably be different than it was when you were all in an office together, but you will find your rhythm. Providing regular status communication will keep projects on track and show what each team member is working on.

More prep might be required from leaders. Remember that not everyone needs to be included in each video call, conference call or webinar. It’s pretty important to be respectful of time and other people’s schedules.

Work Environment

Every working environment and work culture is different. Leaders should give team members a chance to contribute to the conversation and figure out what works best for your team. Are there times of the day that leaders expect a timely response? Is a response window of 2 hours expectable? Or times of the day that team members are not responding immediately? Create the basis of trust. Don’t threaten to make random workstation checks and call-ins three times a day. Be aware of how other team members work best. Are they an early morning person? Are they in a different time zone? Be flexible and intentional to have alignment and trust.

Distractions

Right now people are living with the reality that their children are home all day and don’t have another person to care for them. Or people are scrambling to ensure that older and more fragile family members in need of immediate assistance are taken care of. It’s important as a team member to know that and respect it.

Grace

Have some grace. There will be a transitional time if your team is not used to working remote or if they are needing to care for other people. Have empathy and learn what your team members might need to make the transition easier. It’s okay to expect the best from people, but also necessary to show respect to others before you even get it.

Time Management

Make sure you use your time wisely! A time tracking application is a great way to manage time and I have been using OfficeTime with a lot of success. Be sure to create a to-do list at the end of each work day to prioritize the items that need to be tackled the next day. This way you start each day with a clear agenda of what needs to be accomplished.

Personal

On the personal side of things, I book time on my calendar to ensure that I get regular exercise and get out of my house every single day. Additionally, I block out important family obligations for each week/month.

Be sure to have some fun through scheduled morning coffee video meetings or lunch meetings. Show and share what you are drinking or eating. Take a few minutes to care about your people and then focus on work.