• Chris Miller

Working in the COVID-19 Age

Thanks to the Coronavirus and COVID-19 scares, it seems everyone is now working from home these days. Well that got me thinking maybe I should give you all some tips for working from home if you aren't used to doing so. It takes a certain level of self-discipline to work from home, and if you are aren't prepared for the changes it can be a difficult transition.


The following tips should ensure that you keep your production output high and get your job accomplished without too much difficulty.


First and Foremost - Make a Plan Every Day

Before you reach any destination, you need to know two things: where you currently are, and where you need to end up. One you have this information, you can then plot a course to get you there. This is true in the business world, as it is in life in general. Every morning, or the night before if you wish, you should start by planning your day. Write it down and break it up into concrete lists of tasks to complete along that journey from start to finish. Then once you have the list, get to work on it and ,this is the important part, don't stop for the day until everything on the list is complete. You might be temped to say to yourself that you can finish it tomorrow , but don't do that or you can quickly find yourself behind.


Secondly - Dress As If You Were Still Going To Work

I know it seems silly to you to do this, but getting up in the morning, showering, getting dressed for work, having that morning cup of Joe, it all matters. You have been training your brain to get into work mode when this happens for years. It is a habit at this point. Conversely, you have also trained your brain that when you don't do this, it is not time to work. Getting up and dressing for work sets you in the right frame of mind to get things done and you will be more productive than if you don't. It is a fact, not fantasy.


Thirdly - Limit Distractions

When you work from home it can be super easy to allow distractions to take your focus away from work. You will want to turn on the radio, or the TV, or take more frequent breaks. Now, you might even have the kids around as well because schools are closed. You have to limit these distractions as you would in the office and get into your routine if you are going to be successful. Trust me on this. I closed $1.4 Million dollars worth of business this month working from home. If you have a room you can use as an office, go in there and shut the door. Talk to your kids head of time so they understand what is expected of them as well. Get that work done, and then go play.


Fourthly - Breaks Are Still Important

So when you work from home you want to limit your down time, and out will find there is plenty of it if you are not careful. I myself have fallen into the trap many times over the years wherein a whole day can go by and I feel as though I accomplished very little. Obviously this is not the norm for me, but it happens to even the best of us occasionally. You will want to limit your breaks so that you don't spend to long goofing off instead of working, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take them. Here is a little trick I use. I use drinks. I like to keep a steady supply of iced tea with me while I work. As I work, I drink my tea, and when I run out, I take a short break to go and re-fill my tea. During this time I get to take a moment to check in on my son to see how he is doing, make sure the dogs have water, etc. I take maybe about 5 minutes to do all of this and then I'm back to work. It's a good system. I get plenty accomplished and I never feel like I'm pushing myself too hard.


Fifth - Get Up and Move

I think people often forget how much they move in an average work day. Going to the break room, getting copies done, walking around from department to department to discuss things for a customer that you need to get done. There is a lot of movement in the average working day. That said, working from home involves much less movement in many cases. Everything is done by phone and email. The printer and copier is right beside you most of the time. Heck some people even work right from their bed. The point is that they are moving less. You need to get the circulation flowing every now and then. Get up and move around. If you don't you open yourself up to health concerns such as colon cancer as an example. Colon cancer is the number one cancer in America and guess how it is formed in the body. . . inactivity. That's right my friend. Sitting on your ass really can, and does, kill people every single year. More people than the coronavirus does by far.


Lastly - Take a Real Lunch Break

I know it is tempting to grab a snack while you work from home, but don't do it. Take time to stop, prepare a real lunch, and sit down and eat it with your family. The psychological and chemical benefits to your body of doing this are immense, and you will find yourself much more productive in the afternoon than if you haven't. Your kids will appreciate you taking the time to spend with them as well.


To recap, working from home isn't everyone's thing. Some of us are not built for self-discipline in that regard. That said, these habits can be learned in order to do well in this changed working environment. I hope you get something out of the items on this list and that your week and month is super productive and fun. Remember, at the Leader Tree, our goal is to help you be the best you that you can be, because strong roots equal strong skills.

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