We are living through unprecedented times and I certainly won’t be flying the it’s “business as usual” flag, which is the stance many are presenting online at least at the minute. We are living through a major world event and for most of us the safety of our family and friends is foremost in our minds, and keeping up with news, events and impacts is very challenging to say the least. For many, we are also having to learn to adapt to an entirely new way of working. As an employer I never quite got down the fully agile and “working from home” route which some firms have done, so for the team here at Meraki we are adapting to a new online and remote working world. It’s fair to say I miss going into the office and catching up with the team and our customers.
Here are some of the key lessons we’ve put together to ensure we manage our way through this unforeseen time:
Get into a routine
As Nicola Sturgeon said in her speech on Sunday, if you don’t feel as if your life has been disrupted by this crisis then you are likely doing some thing wrong! This new, and temporary, world we are living in is likely to last more than a few weeks, so it is important you establish a new routine quickly, yes to be productive, but primarily to protect your mental health. Take time to write down your new “work from home/socially distanced” daily routine. On a workday, ensure you schedule time for meals, exercise, rest and to spend time with the kids.
Make a to do list daily
Tony Robbins (yes, I’m leaning on the big man in these hard times) states the key to happiness in life is progress. The normal ways in which you add value to your clients, colleagues and stakeholders might not be as effortlessly available to you as they normally would be. Take time to plan and put together your to do-list and review, mid-morning, after lunch and at the end of the day, taking time at each juncture to enjoy ticking off what’s been achieved.
Take Time Away from Screens
Last week all my disciplines about leaving the iPhone downstairs when going to bed, turning off the TV at 9pm to read, and not going down the rabbit hole of social media went out of the window. I was subsumed by the need to check news website and twitter from 5am to 11pm. This constant screen-time was counterproductive and certainly didn’t help with getting quality sleep which is of course essential for your health and mind to maintain perspective. This week the disciplines are coming back in and time booked out to go for a walk and spend screen-free time with family.
During the 2008 Global Financial Crisis I was a junior recruiter in a Financial Services specialist recruitment firm. As many clients pulled their active recruitment, such as many are now, I became obsessed with checking the financial website to see where the FTSE and NASDAQ were at, as if any short-term rise or fall would have an immediate impact on my own pipeline of work/job security. Yes, these macro level measures are important but don’t get paralysed by them and let them stop control your micro – i.e the daily steps and measures you can take to add value to clients now and to build for the future and inevitable upturn.
Shut down properly
When you approach the end of your working day, take time to reflect on what you’ve achieved and then put together your “to do list” for tomorrow. At that point make sure you consciously shut down both your laptop / Phone but also the headspace you give to your work. It does no one any good to be carrying those stresses and distractions into your evening and is indeed, counterproductive to performing well the next day and I’m a big fan of this tip and others from Deep Work by Cal Newport.
In conclusion, the situation is changing daily, but it is important to focus on the future. Things will get better and will get back to a new normal, and who knows I may even work from home more often! We would love to hear how you are managing the current situation, and how you are staying connected to you colleagues when working from a distance. Just read about a team who are having a pub quiz with all of their staff over Skype! Let’s hear your other ideas and suggestions.