One of the big impacts of coronavirus is that it has suddenly turned countless office employees into remote workers.
If you’re someone who has worked in an corporate office setting your entire career, this is a brave new world. I made the transition to a work-from-home entrepreneur back in 2005 and have learned a number of lessons along the way.
Here are some tips to help you find success and productivity in your new work-from-home reality:
Find the Sweet Spot Between Order and Freedom
When I first left the office life, I wanted to paint my face “Braveheart Blue” and run through the streets yelling, ‘Freedom!’ My career up until that point had been order: Early wake times, buses, trains, long commutes, meetings, wasted time, suits and ties, etc.
I was intent to put all my eggs in the freedom basket.
As such, I felt I had so much time in front of me and relished the idea of not keeping a calendar and taking every day as it arose.
You know what happened? I learned that “order” can be a prison, too.
It’s imperative to find that sweet spot between order and freedom. It begins with clearly defining your desired outcomes for each day (no more than three) and then reverse engineering them so you find the shortest, simplest, straightest line to those outcomes.
Then, time block those outcomes (which I’ll discuss in a bit).
By the way, those outcomes shouldn’t just include work, because…
It’s Time to Get Your Life in Alignment
You’ve been talking about … hoping for … “work-life balance” for years. So, what are you going to do now?
Well, first, it’s imperative to note that “work-life balance” is complete and utter bullsh*t. There isn’t work AND life, there’s just life.
The key to fulfillment isn’t “balance”, it’s alignment — aligning the three facets of your life (relationships, self, work) in a way that works for you.
So, working from home is the perfect chance for you to get your life in alignment.
- Spend more quality time with your spouse/significant other
- Play with your kids
- Change nutritional habits and eat healthy
- Start exercising
- Read all those books you’ve wanted to read
Realize, however, that all that extra time you “think” you have to accomplish that working out, playing, quality time, book-reading, etc. won’t mean a thing if you don’t strictly time block your day because of something called…
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
That’s a “law” cited by British author and naval historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson, in his 1957 book, Parkinson’s Law, which was about the management of government bureaucracy. It also applies nicely to your daily productivity.
Now that you’re working from home, you wake up a bit later, you take some extra time sipping your coffee and reading the morning newspaper, and then, without your boss and co-workers peeking over your shoulder all day…you take your time with each task.
The daily reports you write usually take a half hour when you’re in the office, but suddenly take an hour and a half at home.
The Sales Navigator research you conduct after lunch usually takes you an hour, but the TV in your home office keeps distracting you with the latest coronavirus news, so three hours goes by in a flash — oh, well, you’ll finish the research tomorrow.
There’s nothing wrong with slowing down to smell the roses, but realize that when you take longer on the work part of your day — it’s eating up time that you should be using to invest in your relationships and self-care.
Your day gets filled up with a mixture of busy work and distraction. Then you complain that you’re still so busy.
Not true. Your day is just full of bullsh*t.
Once you’ve found that sweet spot between order and freedom, aligned your life, and time blocked your key outcomes, it might be time to …
Reassess Your Freedom and Fulfillment
Have you been justifying for years a job or career that leaves you unfulfilled, simply because the feeling of “security’ that has come with the steady paycheck?
The current situation shows you the illusion of that feeling of security.
Use the time away from the office to reassess how free and fulfilled you feel. Soak in the experience of investing in your relationships and your self-care. Compare it to the life you’ve been living up until now.
When this crisis is over, do you really want to return to the “secure prison” in which you were living?
If not, take advantage of the situation to define the lifestyle you truly want to live.
And if you need help, register for my upcoming Freedom Lifestyle Webinar to learn how you can define, create, and live your life of freedom starting now.