How to Work from Home Effectively

After hearing that so many are struggling working from home, I wanted to share some basic tips. Many of you did not choose to work from home but were sort of forced into it as times have changed so quickly. Many of you are also expected to homeschool your children in addition to working from home which is an entirely different topic for a different day.

The most important thing to remember is to give yourself some grace as expectations placed on us by others and by ourselves seem to have changed and increased. Keep kindness toward yourself in mind and I hope these tips help!

  • Space: Designate a specific place where you will work from. Whether it is a separate office, bedroom, or place at the kitchen table, do your very best to keep all work activities and materials in this place only.
  • Time: Develop a daily schedule just like you do (or should) when you are at your office with specific blocks of time where you are working and are in your “office space.” During the time you are at your workspace, you are at work, when you are scheduled to be off for lunch, break or for the evening, you will walk away and leave work behind. Do not take it with you and do not answer the phone or respond to work emails.
  •  Family/Roommate Boundaries: Communicate where and when you will be “at work” with the people you live with and ask that they respect that time and not interrupt you unless it is an emergency, or be specific about how they can contact you with needs during this time. You may even develop some type of sign that says “do not disturb” or “work in progress.”
  • Get Dressed: It is really difficult to get in work mode in your pajamas, get dressed, even if it is a shirt you would wear to work and sweatpants (my go to). Engage in at least part of your normal “getting ready” routine to tell your brain “it’s time to work.”
  • Move Around: It is easy to sit in one place all day (if you don’t have kids) when working from home which results in poor posture, poor eating habits and allows stress to build up in the body. Incorporate time to get up and stretch, move, eat, and get outside if at all possible, into your daily schedule.
  • Solo Self-Care Time: If you do live with others especially, but either way, set a period of time where you are alone and can engage in any number of relaxation or wellness activities to help keep you centered. This could be taking a bath, reading, exercise, meditation, etc.
  • Bonus Tip– EVERYONE HATES INTERNET MEETINGS: Try your best to manage stress when it comes to trouble with Zoom meetings, or coworker’s odd behavior, or your dog making an awkward appearance. Do some deep belly breathing and tell yourself that everyone struggles with these equally.

Remember that this is a major adjustment and it takes some work to manage your mindset around turning work on and off when you are at home. It will get better and it will be okay.

and Wayfinder Contributor Cherie Paller

How to Cope with Unwanted Questions During the Holidays

Ouch that break-up, what happened? Are you ever going to get married? Are you planning on having kids anytime soon? Still sober? What happened to what’s her/his name? Sound familiar?

For some, the holidays are a time of joy and time with those we love. For others, it is a time that may remind us of painful memories, or responsibility to others at our own expense. Sometimes going home for the holidays or having family and/or friends to visit can mean being badgered with unwanted questions about your personal life or things that may have changed that you do not want to explain. Here are some ideas for managing these uncomfortable situations.

  • You do not owe anyone a response, period. It has been ingrained in us, that in order to be respectful, we respond when spoken to. This does not mean that if someone has asked us about a topic we do not want to discuss, that we cannot be assertive and respectfully decline to respond.
    • Assertive communication means effectively and appropriately sharing your wants, needs and boundaries.
  • If you feel the need to respond, you can try one of the following:
    • Evasion: “Thank you for asking.”
    • Divert attention: “I have had a busy year, what have you been up too/how is so and so?”
    • Direct: “I’m not comfortable answering that” or “I’m working on myself and would like to keep this private.”
    • Have a “buddy” to help you dodge these questions. Maybe your sister is particularly supportive and understanding, make sure she knows that you do not want to be asked about your DUI, or your divorce, etc.  Let her run interference for you.
    • Or, just walk away!
  • It can be really helpful to practice some of these communication skills in advance, especially if you are not used to asserting yourself in this manner, or you have been feeling particularly vulnerable.
  • Our frustration or sadness around these questions does not mean we do not love or care for the people that ask them. People show they care in different ways, and sometimes it takes reminding them that their words can hurt to change their behavior.

If going home, or having people over causes you undue stress, anxiety, depression, panic or any other overwhelming emotion, don’t do it this year (or ever)! Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give. You are working hard enough, spend your time doing what you want to do, with who you want to do it.