Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
The sudden shift to working from home was a defining moment in the pandemic. You may have thought this was going to be the only easy part of lockdown. Well, now that madness is over.
When you first started working from home, you probably had visions of more time to exercise, eat a gourmet lunch, do laundry, and more. When those big plans didn’t materialize, you began to unravel what it’s really like to be a professional working from home.
Sharing private life with work life is not easy. When I started working from home over a decade ago, I envisioned myself as Cinderella singing happily while I work with little birds circling around me to help me. Well, this fairy tale came to an end quickly. Even if you don’t live up to those dreamy expectations, keep trying and prepare for disappointment every day. And then comes the awakening – it’s time to be your own fairy godmother and establish a new approach to working from home success.
How do you turn your plot around? Be honest about your ability to focus amidst distractions at home. Instead of setting yourself up for disappointment with lofty goals, set up your work-from-home schedule to contrast your real you with your imaginary you.
After years of working from home, I’ve learned that being honest with yourself and being able to adapt are key to the work-from-home lifestyle. Here are some tips for scattering that fairy dust throughout the day.
Also See: Cut These 10 Work From Home Habits to Boost Productivity
Notice how your day is actually unfolding
How often have you planned to have lunch between midday phone calls or go for a run after a few answered emails? But lunch and the run just don’t materialize. How do you feel when your plans get thrown off course because of an incoming email or phone call? Probably not that great. you are behind You play catch up. Not to mention leaving you stressed and hungry.
Well, it’s time to take note of how your day is actually unfolding and create a new plan that you can actually build into. If you’re having a busy day of calls, why not prepare a simple meal or protein smoothie to slurp up during your meetings? If the workout and shower never go as planned, accept the fact that you may need to do them first thing in the morning before work does its magic. Examine your actual workflow closely and develop solutions that allow you to have the day you want to have. You’ll feel more in control and maybe feel like the princess of your kingdom after all.
Use technical tools
Once you have a realistic game plan for your day, use tools to help you stick to your schedule. There are many apps and calendars to help you organize your time. Whether you’re using a digital calendar to block out time on your projects or using the Google Calendar Tasks feature to create a daily to-do list, find what works best for you to help everyone day to create your magic.
I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off five minutes before a meeting. I quickly learned that if I don’t want to get stuck with a pumpkin wagon, I need an alarm to get me out of what I’m doing and make sure I’m on time for the next task. When you really need to focus on a big project and your incoming emails are distracting you, turn on your out-of-office notification. Tech tools are your helpful storybook birds chirping in your ears. Set yourself up for success.
See also: The art of working from home
It’s okay to ask for help
The home environment offers many distractions. From barking dogs and mountains of laundry to children; They all distract you from work. If you have the means, hire support. If it’s your dog that’s always interrupting your zooms, hire a dog walker. If housework is getting in the way of your concentration, hire a cleaning service. If you don’t want to scoop your budget for outside help and your fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, reach out to your family for help. Talk to your partner about how best to divide up household chores and create a chore chart for your children. Ask for help – even Cinderella can’t do everything. Do whatever it takes to eliminate household distractions so you can be productive at work. And when you do, you’ll find that your life at home becomes happier too.
The pandemic has turned our schedules upside down. It’s time to bring back what grounds you. Escape the old four walls and go to your favorite place for lunch on Wednesdays? Or maybe you’re better off working at a coffee shop one day a week to focus on a creative project. Or are you the most productive brainstormer while strolling around the “palace grounds”?
When it’s safe, bring those pre-pandemic rituals back. Be sure to adjust your schedule. When the kids are home for the summer, you need to revise your schedule. If you have house guests, make a schedule of somewhere to hide when they are occupied. In everyday life, things often don’t go as planned. Don’t be too rigid; You have to be flexible to be successful. If a sudden customer call messes up your schedule, just look at your remaining tasks and meetings for the day and move things around. Sometimes you even have to put things off until the next day. Be mindful and roll with the change.
Related: Best practices for working from home, according to a six-figure social media entrepreneur
be nice to yourself
Don’t be hard on yourself, even Cinderella sometimes drops a shoe. The most important thing I learned is the importance of living authentically and letting your reality be your fantasy. At noon still in your morning training clothes? It’s okay, you get your work done and you’ll eventually get to that shower. If you don’t accept that you can still be productive in sweatpants, you can become distracted and stressed. You will feel behind on your day, maybe even tired and catching up. Instead, acknowledge all the good work you just did in your workout clothes and move on. Let go of the rigidity again. You’re doing it all like royalty. Give yourself a round of applause, you’ve found a shoe that fits and you’ll take care of everything.
Working from home may not be a fairy tale, but if you use these five tactics, you will succeed!! Separate home and work by setting boundaries and developing routines that really work for you. It’s a new world and it really can offer a better work-life balance IF you approach it honestly with your true self. Just like Cinderella, she didn’t change who she was — she simply asked for help to get what she wanted.