Are you going Cra Cra yet?
Well, who wouldn’t b
e? Between work, family, schooling children, housework, pressure to learn new sk
ills, remaining relevant, working longer hours to stay on top, trying to keep your job and keeping up with social media. It’s a recipe for mental disaster.
Unless. Unless we realise that this Work from Home, isn’t really Work from Home, its simply working at home. We don’t have a choice in the matter. So it’s not the “normal work away from the office to get stuff done kind of scenario”. Which means you need to re-strategise your WFH situation to make the best of both worlds.
Here are my tips to find some sanity amongst the roller coaster of emotions, so you don’t lose yourself:
1. Manage energy not time. We each have moments of heightened energy and awareness – our peaks, and then we have moments where our bodies and minds need rest, our troughs. Also, every person is unique. Each person’s peaks and troughs run differently. If you’re a mom, you will also need to tune into the peaks and troughs of energy that your children have and try to schedule accordingly. Take a minute to write down the nap or quite times your children have and schedule meetings accordingly. Then figure out when you are best at doing what. I know for me...my mind does it's best creative writing as I'm preparing to sleep. I am best at answering emails in the morning...but I'm on autodrive between 3 and 5...knowing when I'm the best me and scheduling meetings during quite time means I can be more efficient at doing my work.
2. Communicate, Communicate, Communciate. I can’t actually say this one enough. You need to let YOUR people know what your circumstances are, what your plan is and if you are doing ok or if you need help. Your people include your home support system, like husband, aunt, gran, nanny etc. While some of these individuals might not be able to be physically present thanks to the Pandemic, they can help you with other things. Like, managing grocery shopping and having it delivered. Also, Your People, include your manager, colleagues you can trust and HR rep at work. Have a frank conversation about what life is like for you right now and how you plan to manage the situation as best you can. The trick here is, to be open about the realities of your life. Don’t sugar coat it. A lot of people struggle to put themselves in another shoes, so its up to you to help them see where the issues are. If you don’t have a strategy to deal with the situation, be honest about it and ask for help.
3. Boundaries. People complain a lot about not having time. But to be honest, it is not about finding more time; it is about doing less. Stop doing so much. You do not have to put your hand up for everything. Finding time is about finding the will power to say NO. By saying no to others, you are saying YES to yourself, and not only is that Okay, but as a woman it is absolutely necessary. Put boundaries in place with partners, with work, with friends, with colleagues, with yourself. What did that look like for me? Daddy Time. Instead of me feeling like I had to put my son to sleep each night, we now take turns, leaving mom with 2 hours of extra me time to do with as I please. #Joy!
4. Space. A tip from my home-schooling-mom-of-2 friend. Physical boundaries are as important as emotional and mental ones. Create your personal workspace and own it, make it yours. Make sure that when you move into this space, that whoever is at home with you understands that it’s your work time. It could be a corner in the living room, or a desk in your bedroom, or even the back seat of your car. But when you are there, its full tilt work time with a serious DO NOT DISTURB line that is not to be crossed. Same goes for kids and school. Find a spot to make it their school area and the same rules apply. When they are there its time to concentrate and get things done. It also means, when you exit that space, you are physically entering into the “Home” and doing so has the same effect as commuting would have, pre-covid, minus the traffic.
5. Be practical. We forget how much our children can actually do for themselves. Great tip I got from a dear friend who is a working mother of 3. Leave lunchboxes of healthy food, snacks and drinks where they are easy to reach. That way, you aren’t getting up needlessly each time your child wants something to nibble. Not only does it free you up, it breeds independence in your children. P.S worry about the mess later, nobody is coming to visit anyway. #covidsilverlinings
Taking proactive tips to find the right balance in our new world of working at home is essential to experiencing a state of well-being in all aspects of our lives: physical, emotional, mental and financial.