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Kris Carr

Abundance

How to Adapt to Working from Home

Hiya Gorgeous!

People often assume I’m an extrovert. I can’t blame them, given my penchant for speaking in front of thousands of people and connecting online every day. But the truth is, I love being alone. Solitude is my happy place, and working from home has always come naturally to me.

That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Many find it easier to focus at an office. But as we practice social distancing to flatten the coronavirus curve, many of you have suddenly found yourselves with remote jobs… whether you like it or not.

If you’re feeling the whiplash, you’re not alone.

Folks all over the world are dealing with sudden, unexpected life changes, myself included! But since I have been doing the work-from-home thing successfully for a long time, I’m hoping I can help make this transition a little easier. So today I’m sharing what I’ve learned about what it takes to stay happy and productive while working remotely.

We’ll also talk about ways to create and maintain BOUNDARIES. Full disclosure: This is the area I struggle with most. I love what I do—it’s my life’s work! And if I’m not careful, that line between work and life gets pretty darn blurry.

When our world is turned upside down, it’s easy to bury ourselves in work or lose sight of what’s best for us. But I know that I’m happiest, healthiest and best-equipped to lead when I prioritize self-care and keep my boundaries strong. I think you’ll find that to be true for you, too!

Pulling back the curtain on common work-from-home pitfalls.

So, practically overnight you may have gone from commuting to the office to commuting to the… kitchen table (or home office if you’re lucky enough to have one!). That’s big, and on the surface it might sound like a dream come true. No more sitting in traffic or putting on real pants, right?

But with the need for social distancing accelerating at lighting speed, you probably didn’t have much time to prepare. That means you may be missing out on some of the best practices that can make working from home a win.

Whether you’re brand new or a seasoned pro at working from home, these symptoms indicate that remote work isn’t working for you. (No worries, though. Tips on how to make it work coming soon!)

Look out for these common pitfalls:

  • Breaking frequently because you’re distracted by household chores like laundry.
  • Not taking ANY breaks and sitting at your computer for hours at time.
  • Eating meals at your desk.
  • Rolling out of bed with only a few minutes to spare before work.
  • Working into the evenings instead of shutting down at day’s end.
  • Being constantly distracted by the people and pets you live with.
  • Difficulty balancing work with caring for your kids.
  • Having more anxious thoughts or dreams about work than usual.
  • Feeling isolated and disconnected from your coworkers.
  • Feeling like you can’t disconnect and transition into “home mode” at the end of the day.

I didn’t write this list just to stress you out. But if any of those sound familiar, there are some proven practices you can engage to protect your productivity (and your mental health!) while working from home. Now, ready to talk solutions?

How to Quickly Adapt to Working from Home

These practices have been essential for cultivating my balanced work-from-home life. I hope they help you stay happy and productive, whether you’re working from home or just staying home more than usual. And it doesn’t end when you go back to the office—you can keep using these ideas to improve your work/life balance, no matter where you are!

1. Create a consistent schedule with start-up and wind-down times.

Establishing start and stop times for your work day helps you maintain boundaries. I encourage you to try this out, even if you normally keep a flexible schedule! Your day is no longer bookended by getting to and leaving the office, so this gives you back that definition. Plus, establishing routines can provide a sense of normalcy in uncertain times.

Take it a step further by creating start-up and wind-down rituals. That means that the first hour of your day is dedicated to getting grounded and set up for success with the work ahead—and the last hour is dedicated to wrapping up that work so that you can “clock out” on time. My team and I started doing this recently and it has been a game changer!

2. Set clear objectives for each day.

This might be something you do during your start-up ritual! Pick two or three top priorities and keep them visible all day long. (I write mine in my Results Journal, but do whatever works for you!) Whenever possible, batch activities like meetings, inbox time, etc. together on your calendar. That way, you’ll have long periods of dedicated focus to work toward your top objectives.

3. When it comes to hygiene, act like you’re going to leave the house.

Take a shower, put on clothes… you know the drill! I’m not saying you have to do full hair and makeup—if yoga pants are your jam, go for it. But good hygiene is part of taking care of yourself and maintaining your routine. Plus, it can make you feel more centered and motivated.

4. Establish a dedicated workspace.

All of a sudden, work is home and home is work. Whaaat? When the two share a space, it can be pretty hard to maintain boundaries. Don’t worry if you don’t have an office, just be intentional about creating separate spaces for work and the rest of your life (aka don’t work in your bed!). Also, tidy up your space. Chaos in your workspace creates chaos in your mind.

5. Take real breaks.

When you go to the office, you automatically get a little fresh air and movement, even if it’s just walking from your front door to the car. You’re also more likely to walk to meetings and water cooler chats throughout the day. Fear not if you feel a bit stagnant or sluggish when you first start working from home—it’s totally fixable.

The key is to take real, mindful breaks. Take a few minutes for deep breathing in the morning or for stretching in the afternoon. Avoid the eat-at-your-desk trap and give yourself recess! Eat lunch outside if you can or do a quick yoga session in your living room. Just make simple self-care breaks a part of your day.

6. Connect virtually.

If you’re new to working from home, you might feel disconnected at first. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to connect virtually. Have video meetings whenever you can using a tool like Zoom. Use Slack to check-in with your coworkers about work-related topics as well as fun stuff like photos of your at-home workspace and wins for the day. Just don’t keep chat notifications on all day. I’ve been there and it’s a recipe for getting nothing done! 😉

7. Have kids? Read this.

I know that many of you aren’t just dealing with a surprise work-from-home scenario. You’re dealing with a whole new paradigm of parenting during the day, too. (You deserve a medal for this, by the way!) Trying to work while your kids are home can be really tough—and that’s especially true if you’re suddenly having to homeschool them. One of my amazing colleagues, Suzie Barbour, is a pro in this department. She’s a busy COO and also the founder of Homeschool Vibes, who homeschools while working from home on the reg! Here are a few tips she shared to help you succeed…

  • Keep a routine, but it doesn’t have to be rigid. Set clear boundaries between school and play time, and make sure everyone knows what to expect.
  • Plan for together AND alone time each day so you can all stay connected while still having your space.
  • Make a list of activities to choose from and get your kids’ input. If they’re bored during free time, they’ll have a resource to go to.
  • Be gentle with yourself and seek support. If your partner is home, work out a schedule to trade shifts with the kids. Lean on your loved ones and fellow parents, too. Even if they can’t be with you in person right now, they can still be there for you from afar. (There may even be a loving aunt or grandparent who’d love to read your child a story on Facetime if you need a quick break.)

These are just a few of the ideas Suzie shared to help those working from home with kids. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook for more guidance. (And let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in a blog post on this topic.)

And here’s my final tip…

Remember, you are a whole person who is likely going through a lot of stress right now. Please be kind to yourself. There aren’t hard and fast dividing lines between the many roles in your life. You’re a friend, parent, employee, boss, lover, artist, patient, thriver… all of these beautiful parts of you are intertwined. Try seeing this as an opportunity to explore those connections and to plug into the activities that give you energy and comfort. With a few simple boundaries, working from home can be a powerful way to bring all the parts of yourself together.

And as you adapt to this new reality, spread kindness around to those who can’t work from home. From medical and emergency workers, to the hospitality industry, to those who are keeping our supply chains running (farmers, factory workers, truck drivers, etc.)—many are braving traditional work climates because remote work isn’t an option. Recognize those who may be losing income or risking their safety to help others—and look for ways to help them in return. They’re looking out for us, so let’s make sure we have their backs, too!

Your turn: Are you working from home right now? If so, how’s it going? And if you have tips to share, please do!

Peace & boundaries,

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  1. Elaine Fourie says:

    I find the transitions between tasks need careful management. When you have completed a task it’s all too easy to get on the couch to check email, Facebook and spend an hour reading a lot of unnecessary stuff. The later the day gets the more intentional I need to be at these times.

    • kris says:

      Such excellent points, Elaine. It’s certainly a good time to practice mindfulness. Thank you for sharing! Stay safe and well. Xo.

  2. vic says:

    You are such a balm to all who follow you. Thank you for all you do for us. Bless you and stay safe and healthy.

    • kris says:

      What a beautiful thing to say, Vic. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m sending love and healing energy to you and your loved ones. Xo.

  3. Emily Christ says:

    Thank you for these tips. My first full day working remotely was chaotic, unstructured, and full of distractions with so many people at home. I had to create a schedule from wake up to bedtime that included my morning routine, workday startup routine, workday shutdown routine, and evening routine, as well as my meals and snacks. To mark the end of my workday, I go for a walk (keeping social distance, of course). This helps me transition from my workday to personal / family time. I still need to work on not checking my work email in the evening (which can be a trap) but I’ve made huge strides since that first day. ?

    • kris says:

      Emily, what a superstar you are! It sounds like you have created a beautiful and productive day for yourself. Big (virtual) hugs as you continue on this adventure. Stay well, sweetheart. Xo.

  4. Jessica says:

    A dedicated post with ideas for balancing work and homeschooling kids would be AMAZING!

    • kris says:

      Thank you for the idea, Jessica, I will add it to our “blog ideas list.” You’re certainly not alone in navigating this “new norm” (albeit temporary). Hopefully this blog was able to get you started on a new routine and provided some tips. Please take care of yourself and your family. ? Xo.

  5. Stephen says:

    The one benefit for many people is the ability to work from home. Consider if this trial of social distancing, self isolating was not available and people had to mix and work and the effects/impact of this virus were more widespread. There are people out in this crazy time: doctors, nurses, other health care workers, grocery store staff, pharmacists in the mix everyday. We are blessed by their efforts. Kudos to you for helping the transition to working at home. It’s a challenge but a doable challenge.

    • kris says:

      Stephen, I couldn’t agree more, nicely said! It’s a challenge but a doable challenge. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful healthcare providers, grocery store workers, etc. and communities are really opening up to help each other. It’s very heart warming. I’m so happy the blog was helpful. Xo.

  6. anabela milagros solis says:

    Best blog ever 😉 I really needed to read this. Thank you Kris.

  7. Aura Ramey says:

    Thank you for this post! I have been making sure the kids are keeping busy by allowing them to pick what subjects they want to work on each day so I can focus on my work at the kitchen table. They liked planning the week on paper with time of day included. Hopefully this will transition well into the new distance learning being created for them as we speak.

  8. Nancy Thelen says:

    Oh, Kris… I love you girl. You’re always there for us from stress management, to Crazy Sexy Cancer tips, and Crazy Sexy You and on and on. Thank you for this article it has really helped me get focused. I’m teaching online and also taking a childbirth education class online so I’m applying everything you said because I was breaking all the rules.?

    • Jennifer says:

      Hey Nancy, this is Jennifer from Team Crazy Sexy and I wanted to let you know I’ve passed along your comments to Kris and know she’ll love what you said. She always enjoys hearing that her message resonated with readers. Thank you! Sounds like you’ve got a full plate, my friend. Will you let us know how Kris’s ideas helped? Don’t worry, you can break a few rules and we’ll still love you just as much. Xo from the whole team!

  9. Thank you Kris for all you and your team do. Helping parents at home with kiddos is my gig. I’ve been both an elementary school teacher and a secular homeschool mom for over 20 years and have put all of that learned wisdom together at P.L.A.Y. – Passionate Learning All Year where I offer daily FREE content encouraging families to read, get out in nature, and play! I’d love to help folks across the country while they suddenly “school at home” or as I like to say “P.L.A.Y. in Place”. Love to be of service and support – spread the word! Sending hugs and a smile to help light the way. 🙂

  10. Ann says:

    Thanks for being beautiful inside and out, you have given me much inspiration over the years. Throughout life when an unexpected change happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think or prepare, I always seemed to find that it was the perfect way that I could add something different to my life that I thought about but always put on the back-burner because I already had my routine. Now that new routines had to be formed, I took this time to look at what I always wanted more time to do. My day used to include getting the kids ready for school, pick them up from school, run errands and shop, attend meetings, attend school sports from 2 -6 pm. Now I have the time to add the extra workout in. try new recipes, make fresh juice more often, work on my creative projects besides regular work, enjoy the extra family time. During this time, take a moment and think about what makes you happy and what you always felt like doing but didn’t know where it would fit in. When I added things I always wanted to do, it made what we are all going through easier because I found something positive to add to my life. It only takes one thing to feel good.

  11. Louise Matthews says:

    You need to be disciplined to successfully adapt to the new environment. It was incredibly difficult for me. More precisely because I am an introvert I like to be at home, but I am not productive at all because I am used to resting at home and not working.
    It was very difficult to convince my brain that I now have to work from home from 10 to 6 with one single break. But I got used to it over time, and only because I made a separate office for myself from a room that had not been used before. This way, I separate the workspace from the home.
    Thank you! Your advice is useful!

  12. deltastrike says:

    Try seeing this as an opportunity to explore those connections and to plug into the activities that give you energy and comfort. With a few simple boundaries. all of these beautiful parts of you are intertwined. I have been making sure the kids are keeping busy by allowing them to pick what subjects they want to work on each day so I can focus on my work at the kitchen table. They liked planning the week on paper with the time of day included.

  13. Chleo Boule says:

    In my opinion, the most important thing to do while working from home is to exercise every day.

  14. I’m a teacher and in fact, working at home is really tiring and depressing, I believe that the ones working at home can understand me.

  15. Jivan Dios says:

    Wonderfully helpful tips! Thank you 🙂

  16. silvia says:

    Thank you, great tips!

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