8 tips to make working from home great during the corona crisis
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Alexa x - 29/04/2020

8 personal tips for a better focus and concentration while working from home

Working from home, a year ago we all wanted to do that more often! Sleep longer, no commute, starting the day in your pajamas, good coffee, and getting a workout in between. Ideal. Then the corona crisis hit and we were all forced to work from home. And what turns out to be the case? That extra focus you had when you were working from home occasionally, is very hard to maintain when you're home for weeks on end. 

That’s why in this blog I’ll be sharing my not so secret secrets for lasting improvement and concentration while working from home.

8 tips to make working from home great:

Tip 1: change “I’m working from home” to “I am working”

Tip 2: make a schedule that works for you

Tip 3: develop routines

Tip 4: write down thoughts immediately and continue what you were doing

Tip 5: no distractions, but definitely the essentials

Tip 6: schedule breaks

Tip 7: reflect!

Tip 8: kids? Accepting is better than frustration

Strong focus?

Is working from home something totally for you? Are you on a roll every day and do you end your day with a satisfied feeling AND enough energy for a night of video chatting with your whole family? Fantastic! Really.

I still think that most people do face daily challenges with working from home. 

The more people that are working from home the bigger the struggles are for people who don’t naturally have strong focus and concentration. And now all of a sudden everybody is at home in large numbers. With more struggles than ever.

Work wherever you want

Yes, I was - and are - one of them. “Oh nice! But is that feasible for you? Are you not constantly being distracted?”. My friend asked me these questions when I told her I was going to work at Vertellis, which is mostly from home. The fact is, Vertellis doesn't have an office building. Our team consists of enthusiasts spread out across the globe! 

We have Sijmen who lives in Bali and Moa works from Sweden. Hannes from Austria and Raphael from Germany always combine their work with their travels to the most beautiful places. So at Vertellis working from home is all we do. Wherever that home may be.

Anna also worked from Bali for a while!

Getting back to my friend's questions: thanks to the 7 tips below I am getting better to avoid any pitfalls that come with working from home. And because half of the globe is forced to do it the “Vertellis way”, I thought I would share these with you 😃

8 tips to make woking from home great during the corona crisis

Tip 1: change “I’m working from home” to “I am working”

You are working from home, that is correct. Does that mean you should be flexible with the hours you work? No. Let your family, relatives, and friends know which moments or days you are working to make sure you are not being disturbed. If you don’t do this, then you run the risk of your mom calling you to catch up. “Darling, I just wanted to see how you were doing?” That is very nice, but disastrous for your focus. Because let’s not forget how long it takes to get back into that nice flow. Try to become aware of the time that you lose by these types of incidents. 

In short, respect your own working time, then others will respect it too.

Reflect on your day with Vertellis Chapters

Tip 2: make a schedule that works for you

I had been making to-do lists for years. These were very long and the tasks were listed in a random order. Often they were without an end date. Result: no oversight, and no lack of stress.

Be critical and honest. Stop doing what doesn’t work. Give new ways of scheduling a chance.

I write down this daily question: “what is most important today?” and subsequently I write down 4 tasks - of which 2 are bonus tasks - in order of importance. I schedule these tasks in my day planner. This makes my day more visual, which works very well for me.

Tip: make sure there is a variety in your schedule. To spend a whole day in conference calls is not fun. Even more so: online meetings are much more exhausting than face-to-face meetings! Yes, even if those calls are with your favorite co-workers.

Tip 3: develop routines

Get up at the same time every day. This gives peace and comfort. Do you like to exercise? Already schedule this into your day. Do you like to do this in the morning, then put on your gym clothes right when you get up. This prevents you from “doing a little bit of work” before you start your workout. By developing certain routines, you’ll see that you’ll use your time more efficiently. And this brings you peace of mind.

Tip 4: write down thoughts immediately and continue what you were doing

You probably recognize this, a waterfall of thoughts that alternate rapidly. And always at inconvenient times. Luckily I found a way of dealing with this: my this-is-not-for-now-list.

The second I am distracted by a random thought, I write it down and continue with what I was doing. This way you clear your mind and you can go back to it later. Try it.

Tip 5: no distractions, but definitely the essentials

As soon as you get to your work spot, tell yourself you’re there to work. Prevent distractions that have nothing to do with your work, like a half finished grocery list or a vacuum cleaner ready to use. Turn your phone to silent and put it out of sight. Make sure that everything you need is there, a pitcher of water, your planner, and a notepad and pen.

Walking your dog can do wonders!

Tip 6: schedule breaks

Don’t skip breaks, even if you’re in hyperfocus. The state you are in when you are totally absorbed in your task. It makes you lose track of time and makes you forget everything else, like eating lunch, going to the bathroom, or turning on the lights when it gets dark. If I don’t remind myself by setting an alarm on my laptop, I run the risk that I “lose” myself in the task. That’s why it’s good to set an alarm and spring into movement when it goes off. Don’t take your break behind your laptop, but go to another part of your house. Or - even better- go outside for some fresh air. Taking a break without having to concentrate is really important. It’s up to you how often you want to take a break. 

Do what works for you

Tip 7: reflect

We can all use some support in these times. End your day with a short summary. In less than 3 minutes I look at my list of tasks and answer the question: “What are you proud of?” Look back and feel like a winner! 

Do you lie awake worrying about where this is all going? Every day before I go to sleep I write down my thoughts and experiences. Ever since I started doing this I fall asleep faster. Reflecting brings me new insights. I use Vertellis Chapters for this: my personal self-reflection coach in the form of a book. Vertellis Chapters offer a nice structure with all its questions, quotes, facts, and exercises. At least then I don’t have to think about it. 😉

Tip 8: kids? Accepting is better than frustration

Really all the tips mentioned above are ready to be implemented when you have kids running around the house. Agree on who is working when. Mom behind the computer, then dad goes in the backyard with the crayons. Make a schedule and develop routines with the family, like working out every Tuesday morning. For instance online wobbel yoga is also a lot of fun for parents!

Working from home is not easy with kids, but the most important tip is that you just have to accept it. And be honest, what is cuter than a toddler asking why the man on your screen (a.k.a. your boss) looks so angry?

Bonus tip: are the kids screaming for attention and do they need to be entertained? In this blog you can read about easy ways to entertain them at home.

I hope my personal tips will also work for you. Working from home offers so many advantages - also in these times - and I wish the same for you!

Do you have tips yourself or do you recognize yourself in this blog, please leave a comment. 

After all, inspiring = learning 💛

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