Cooped up…

Thank God It’s Friday

Cooped up…

Did a bit more gardening over the weekend and I think it’s fair to say that most people’s gardens have never had so much attention since the lockdown.

I do find it a good place to unwind, now that I’m at home with the family 24/7 and working from home. I’m used to be being out each and every day on appointments, so like everyone else, it has taken a while to adjust.

I’ve been my own boss since 1993, so being in charge of my own actions and not being told what to do has its pros and cons. Maybe you used to work at an office before the Coronavirus outbreak, but now that you’re working from home, are you finding it a challenge to motivate yourself?

So from my years of managing my own days, here’s a quick guide on getting the most out of each day. And even if you’re not working, you might still find these helpful…

I’ve slotted this in at number one for a reason, because getting up in the morning and then thinking what to do each day is such a time waster. Always plan today what you’ll do tomorrow. Could be a work project that you’ve been procrastinating on, or a simple task that you’ve been putting to one side.

It’s important to have some alone time, especially if you have little ones like myself running around the house all day. My alone time is from 4.45am until 7.30am. I use this time to meditate for 30 minutes Monday to Friday, followed by a 10-minute back stretching routine. And then on two days of the working week, I go out for a 6.5-mile run. And on the days I don’t go for a run, I focus on the most important task for that day; something that helps me move forward.

I find this alone time a good way to slow down the mind and to evaluate where I am and if I’m focusing on the most important things in my life. I’ve been meditating for around 7 years, and it does take time to learn the art of doing it, because the default setting for the mind is to drift and keep busy, busy, busy.

The biggest distractions for me working from home are the kids. I love my kids to bits, but it’s so incredibly hard to keep 100% focus when you have them popping into the office throughout the day. My son’s getting to an age where he sorts of understands that Daddy has to work and needs to be alone to concentrate, but his little sister has absolutely no concept of this!!

So last week, I remove the slider lock that was on the outside to the inside of the office door. Simple but very effective!

The other most common distraction I hear of is the fridge. I personally don’t find this a challenge and I’d say this probably comes down to either an avoidance of getting something done or boredom.

Maybe you’re used to being in an office but now that you’ve been forced to work from home, you’re finding that the structure has gone all to pot.

Best advice I can give here is to get the tasks that’s most important to you done at your most productive time of day. I’m very much a morning person, so doing anything creative like writing these emails will always get written in the early hours. Any jobs that I can do without thinking too much gets left till later on in the day when my mind is not quite as effective.

And the big one when working from home is to have a cut off time. If you’re not used to managing your own time, you could easily find yourself getting up and 10.30am and working until 9 or 10pm. My advice is to replicate your office working hours to those at home.

Another thing I do is go for a daily 20-minute walk with the family after lunch. It’s good exercise for the body and mind.

If you’re finding it a real nightmare being cooped up at home, remember that this will all be a thing of the past. I’d love to say sometime soon, but the truth is, we don’t know.

When all this is over, you may have learnt and realised that working from home is a habit you’d like to do more of. That’ll be a chat for you and your hopefully understanding boss!

Have a good day.

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