WFH can be a struggle! So what can you do about it?
Even experienced WFHers are struggling. So why can’t you get anything done?
And what can you do about it?
1. TOO MUCH ANXIETY:
Stress and worry makes it harder to concentrate because you don’t have headspace for anything else.
- Switch off the constant Covid-19 newsfeeds – you need a mental break or you risk having a mental breakdown.
- Set yourself clear deadlines to achieve specific small targets in a short burst of time. So, 1 hour to finish a pitch. This will help you focus on one task at a time. Don’t look too far ahead – nobody knows when this will end. Just plan a day and or a week at a time. You cannot control the coronavirus, so focus on what you can control.
- Every time you achieve a small goal you will boost your dopamine levels (the reward centre of your brain). So, make sure you have plenty of them in a day.
- Combine this with regular exercise to reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
2. A LACK OF ROUTINE:
Without the daily rhythm of the commute, lunch breaks, meetings and an evening spent winding down, you might feel lost.
- Ever heard that saying 90% of what we do is habit? Well, we are creatures of habit…you just need to create new ones. Get up at the same time each day, shower and dress, “go” to your workspace, plan your day – including your breaks – and you will put yourself into work mode.
- Plan your downtime too – it will give you something to look forward to. For example, at 5pm I will switch off my computer and sit on the balcony/decking/lawn and have a nice cool drink while chatting to friends on the phone. A clear differentiation between work and rest, will enable you to ‘get away’ from work even if you are still in the same physical space.
3. FEELING ISOLATED:
If you are used to a busy office, constant interaction with colleagues and clients, demanding deadlines and a mountain of things to do, sitting at home in isolation can leave you feeling flat.
- Recreate the office vibe at home. You and your colleagues can use apps like HouseParty or Microsoft Teams so you can all see each other during office hours – and get input from the team (remember to mute your voice if you don’t want everyone to hear everything going on in your home). Or Skype or WhatsApp so you can “see” people and work collaboratively.
- Work is not just about work – for most people it’s also about socialising. Recreate Friday night drinks on HouseParty or have a virtual lunch break each day when you sit and eat or snack while chatting.
- Also boost your network – sharing with others is key. Procurious has a great feed that you can follow either online or on twitter. The added bonus is that you will link to more people and that could lead to more opportunities or great ideas for doing things differently.
4. TOO MANY DISTRACTIONS:
While some are struggling to stay focused because their home is just too quiet, for others the opposite is true. Noisy children, several TVs all blaring at once from different rooms or flatmates/partners who want to chat all day, make it impossible to achieve anything.
- Have you have spotted people conducting conference calls in their cars while still parked on the driveway? It’s probably the only quiet place they can find during lockdown. Do the same, find a quieter space… even if it is the car/shed/basement.
- If you can, agree a “quiet” time for you to get work done. Also, consider when you do tasks that require concentration – for example, do your report writing in the early hours or later at night.
- Either invest in noise-cancelling headphones or listen to music on your earbuds to drown out background noise.
5. YOUR TECH IS NOT UP TO IT:
This is a difficult one to deal with – while tech stores might not be open, you can order plenty online. However, there’s probably very little you can do right now to upgrade your internet connection. This can not only be frustrating but leave you feeling that you just can’t get anything done.
- Keep your work tech for work – if you are spending your day laughing at silly memes or watching funny videos, you might (inadvertently) download a virus or click on a link that gets you hacked.
- Ask your employer – can someone send a laptop to your home? Or can you be provided with remote access to office servers?
- Restrict your household’s use of the internet during your peak working hours – so that your internet access does not lag (or lag too much).
6. YOU DON’T SEE THE POINT:
You might not have a job next week or next month and you could fall sick and end up on a ventilator. So, completing a project or meeting a deadline might not seem worthwhile.
- Focus your energy on doing something positive. Set yourself some interesting, challenging and achievable goals. Do a 75-hour coding course, build a personal website or even KonMari your house…anything that will give you a sense of achievement and purpose. It’s highly motivating, so try it.
- If your job is under threat, online learning is a must. Many courses are free and you might have plenty of free time to complete them. Pick courses that lead to recognised qualifications – the ones in demand by employers.
7. YOU HAVEN’T GOT ENOUGH/ANY WORK:
This is almost worse than having too much work. You might find that it takes you all day to complete what you used to achieve in a few hours. Or you are forced into job creation mode – trying to come up with useful things to do from clearing out your inbox to updating your online profiles. Without a little bit of adrenalin pumping through your veins you feel like you are just plodding.
- Take on a few extra commitments: Volunteer in the community – it will force you to complete your work more quickly. Or set yourself a home fitness challenge. If you are a bit of a deadline junkie, it will give you the motivation to get your work out of the way.
- Relish this time – in a few months, you may be firefighting at work to get things up and running and might look back on this time and wonder why you were stressed about not getting enough done. Perhaps we should all learn to enjoy living at a less frantic pace.
Want to share WFH tips and tricks with other procurement & supply chain professionals around the world? Join our Supply Chain Crisis: Covid-19 group and connect with professionals all around the world in the same position as you.