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Show notes from Podcast 01: Working from Home.
We show you our 9 top tips on how to work from home for the first time. Listen to the podcast below.
Resources mentioned in the podcast
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You’re listening to ‘What the Elle’ a podcast for fierce female entrepreneurs dishing up a weekly dose of business reality to help your business grow further.
Hi everybody and welcome to What The Elle’s very first podcast. We are super excited that you are joining us today and we’ve got some great tips for you in-store. Every week we will be either interviewing a fantastic female entrepreneur or it’ll be a solo podcast where we will just be giving you, I’m saying just but we will be giving you some tips on how to grow your business or how to improve your business.
So with the current climate, we have decided to dedicate this podcast to those of you who are choosing to or have been made to work from home for the very first time. I’ve worked from home for three years full time now. So I’ve taught myself a skillset so I can be the most productive I can possibly be where, and minimise distractions and I get every task that I set out on my task list done every day.
And I would just want to share that with you as some of you face working from home for the first time. It can be actually quite daunting and I totally understand that. And you know, a few of my friends have said, Oh it’ll be great Laura, you know, we’ll be able to do what you do. You know, tidying the house catching up on all the housework and that. Great. You will be able to do that. But you still also need to get work done.
So we’re going to teach you today how to maximise your productivity without having a maximise your work hours and keep yourself in a routine. So we’ve got, I think it’s 9 tips on how you can work from home. So the first thing is you need to set a routine and if you already have a routine then that’s fantastic. You need to keep your routine as best as possible.
So don’t turn off your alarm is tempting as that sounds. What you want to be doing is you want to be getting up at the same time that you would normally get up if you are going out to work. Yes, you might not have your half an hour commute or however long it takes you to commute to work, but what you’re going to do is you’re going to get up, you’re going to get have your breakfast and you’re going to get ready.
You are then going to use the time that you would use to commute to do something productive. So if you have a dog, take your dog for a longer walk, or get up at the same time you normally do and do half an hour workout before you get ready. So you are not wasting time lying in bed. That’s really counterproductive and you don’t want to be doing that.
Routine is so, so important and like I said, what you need to be doing is be getting up, getting dressed, getting dressed is massive. Like, it’s great if you think, Oh I’m going to stay in my pyjamas all day. But in my experience, it has a slowing rate on your productivity, while getting dressed increases productivity. And I’m not saying wear a ballgown to sit at the dining room table as you do your work. All I’m saying is don’t be sitting in slouchy clothes. Yeah, wear gym clothes and a slouchy sweater or whatever.
Become comfortable cause you’re, obviously, you’re going to be in your home so it doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to wear makeup, which is great. But what you, what you should be doing is wearing clothes that you don’t wear when you come home from work. So that’s also counterproductive.
Choose clothes that maybe it’s yoga pants, whatever, but don’t wear the same clothes that you would come home from work and get changed out of your work uniform and then put on, because obviously that subconsciously makes you think, Oh I’m finished doing work for the day.
And if you have to take video conference meetings and you don’t want to get fully dressed, you can just switch your top off to business dress for the entirety of the meetings and then you look a bit more professional. But whatever you do don’t wear pyjamas. The third tip on our working from home tip list is create a to-do list. And this is something that I am a huge, huge advocate of.
So every day you should be before you sit down to begin your work, get out a bit of paper and note pad or even do it on a calendar on your computer. You’re going to set a daily method of operation or I like to call it a DMO. So when you’re working from home, this will reduce flitting from one task to another and will help you stay on course.
Trust me, I’ve been there without a daily list. It is just a nightmare. If you work in a team, you can use a group board like Trello. And what I’ll do is I’ll put all of this in the show notes below. Any tips that I think might be of any use to you, I’ll add them or any links, but if you’re in a team Trello you can all access and see the workflow and see what’s been done, what needs to be done.
If you work on your own, then planning your own schedule. I highly recommend it’s called eat that frog method where it’s a principle where you complete the most important task first and then filter them down by importance. So what I’ll do is I’ll see what my pressing issues are every day. I’ll get them at the top of the list and once I’ve done them I can take the gas off the pedal a little bit and just do the enjoyable tasks that aren’t the most pressing issues.
But also remember your DMO doesn’t have to just be work tasks. What you should be doing in that is you should be scheduling your lunch and in two breaks, if your lunchtime is usually an hour at your workplace, why not try and skim that down a half an hour? Because do you really need an hour? But it is essential that you make break times for yourself and I really highly recommend you go out and get some fresh air during those break times.
So take a brisk walk around the block because even if you’re in a desk job, usually even walking, not even walking to work, but the commute to work, you’re going to get fresh air. Whereas if you’re in the house, you’re not going to get that fresh air and you need that. You need it for your brain activity. You need to feed your brain with fresh air.
You also need it so that you feel well and it’s just nice to be out. It’s relaxing. Practice, breathing while you walking as well. And I know that’s very stupid. Sounds really stupid, but especially right now when people are saying that Coronavirus is affecting people with poor lung capacity. If you practice diaphragmatic breathing, I can’t even say it. Basically train your diaphragm, we’ll talk about that breathing a little further on, but practice breathing as you are out walking and even if you just take some time to meditate as well.
And then what I like to do when I plan my DMO is to set realistic completion times next to the task. So for example, recording this podcast now it is 11.42 and I have set myself till half-past one to have the content recorded and edited and that just gives me a little bit of scope of what, what my day is going to be like.
So I know that I’m running on time and I’ll be getting all the work done in the hours that I’ve scheduled and this does actually increase productivity in my experience. I’m not saying it’ll increase productivity for everybody. These tips might not work for everybody. They will work for a lot of people. If the don’t work for you, then try other tips saying that if you have a set task list to complete, you’ll feel compelled to complete them in the quickest time if you’re against the clock and that is just a scientifically proven fact from research.
Also, it is worth remembering that work is not a place you go. It’s an activity that you do and I think more so than ever, people are beginning to see that. Like I’ve, I’ve always thought that it’s an act. Work isn’t as an activity. I’ve never thought of it as a place to go because I’ve remotely worked for three, four years now.
So I’ve understood that you want to be completing the maximum work that you can in the minimum time period possible. So that I tend to work probably like 7:00 AM until 3:00 PM and then that’s my day. If I want to do anything extra, I probably work from 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM but I’ve managed to condense probably about two days worth of work into that time frame because I know that I just need to get as much done in the minimum time.
So if you can complete other smaller tasks on your list while your main task is, say busy uploading, sending or processing, instead of sitting around waiting for the task to complete, you utilise your time a little bit better for greater productivity. And I think, to be honest, that’s what everybody should get in the habit of doing.
I think there’s a lot of wasted hours spent in offices, many, many wasted hours. And this leads us on to the next tip which has lost track of what number. I haven’t written down the numbers next to my little prompts, but anyways, so the next tip is to eliminate distractions.
Obviously you won’t have your coworkers around you and this will be one of your main distractions. So in your new workplace, although it might feel quiet and a little bit lonely, I totally get that. You’ll probably find that you’ll get a lot more done because you’ve not got the office clown trying to banter on and you’ll not get distracted by them every few minutes, which will mean that you’ll be able to power through your daily to-do lists much quicker resulting in you finishing your workday quicker.
So if you see where I’m coming from, you get your work done and you’re done.
You’re done for the day as opposed to string it out for the eight hours that you supposed to be at work. My next tip in eliminating distractions is to turn your phone off completely if you can. If you can’t, turn it on silent and put it face down and out of reach, wherever possible. This will and I promise you, it will stop you from continually picking, picking up your phone and checking it unnecessarily, which also leads to wasting more time. And if you’re not on your phone constantly, you’ll be getting more done. Meaning you’ll finish your day quicker. It’s not hard. It’s not rocket science.
The next, the next point in eliminating distractions is social media. Now, this is a difficult one for me as my businesses are built on social media. One of my businesses is digital marketing, online luxury lifestyle magazine, and the associated social media.
And the other is digital marketing and growth coaching. So I do have to spend a lot of time on social media, however, I have managed and you will be able to manage to, to get your social media scrolling down to a minimum. So perhaps your workplace has had your social media sites blocked, but now you’re working from home you can access social media whenever you want. That’s great, but you need to try and avoid getting stuck in a scrolling trap.
I’ve been there so many times where I’ve went to look for something and three hours later I’m down a YouTube rabbit hole, but then I still have work to complete, so it’s like set me back really, really far and I know that there’ll be plenty of people who will be in the same boat. So what I suggest is avoid social media and other distracting sites until your classified break times that you’ve scheduled in your DMO.
The next one, the next tip is check your emails less frequently. One way to really increase your productivity is to check your emails less frequently, where possible. Obviously…All of these tips are where possible. I sound like I sound a bit like Boris don’t I? Wherever possible. Okay? Anyways, instead of having your emails open at all times, what I suggest doing is setting yourself perhaps half an hour in the morning and then half an hour after your lunch to check and respond to emails.
If you don’t have your email open, you’re not going to get constantly inundated and distracted every few minutes when mail is coming in and it will help you stay on your to-do list timings. Do also make sure that you schedule your emails in DMO. Yeah, I must get about 400 emails a day and at first, I was trying to respond to them every time they came in. But it’s just, it’s just not manageable.
It’s not time productive. You do need to just check them less frequently. Our next point is you want to listen to calming music and I can’t say, Hey, such and such play this playlist because obviously my smart speaker will start playing it. But if you ask your Google or Alexa to play either an acoustic playlist or sunrise yoga, that’s one of my favourites. It’s a gentle playlist and it’s perfect background noise for stimulating your brain to work better in a more calming way. And even the sounds of the ocean or music you hear in spas such as piano and harp music have been proven to calm you down and increase your operational ability.
So that means that you’re going to end up working in a better environment because the music’s calmer. You’re going to be calmer, do not have the news on, don’t have like heavy metal on unless that’s what your jam is like.
But what I’m advising is calming music is great music with no lyrics as well. As this is less distracting and you won’t find yourself singing along to the songs, which means that you’re not distracted and you’re going to get more work done. Another big one, schedule food times. What you don’t want to be doing is becoming a fridge raider. Trust me like working at home has many benefits, but the largest downfall is the accessibility snacks, is just ridiculous.
Like whenever something is difficult, Oh, I’m just going to go and get a snack. Or whenever you’re a bit bored. Oh, I feel hungry. I need a snack. Like you’re going to end up putting on so much weight and it’s not going to be good because if you think about it if we end up going in a lockdown, you’re not going to be able to go out as much as you used to go out.
So you’re going to have, you’ll have limited times where you can exercise. So you need to be mindful of your food consumption. So try and limit yourself to the same diet habits you usually have in the workplace. So if you usually have an 11 o’clock cuppa and a biscuit, just go ahead have that, have your elevensies but don’t have 10 other biscuits throughout the day. If you wouldn’t have ten other biscuits throughout the day at work. It is, difficult, but really try and restrict yourself.
Also, you don’t want your food bill tripling and you know you don’t want to run out of food as well. Do keep you dedicated food times that you’ve set out in your DMO as well. So if you are hungry, at say two o’clock and your break is at three o’clock see if you can last until three o’clock and then have a snack at three o’clock.
But do make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. This not only as good for you but it helps with your brain, it helps your brain work better. Um, I sound like I’ve not drunk enough water today and what I’m saying, it makes you work brain work better, but it helps the functionality in your brain and it keeps your attention fixed on something for a longer time.
The next point is, which we’ve kind of touched on a little bit earlier, make time for self-care. So working from home doesn’t mean you neglect yourself. Like a lot of people that I’ve spoken to think that. Obviously it goes without saying, make sure you’re washing and keeping yourself clean. Like cleaning routine as normal. Like, make sure you’re getting up and brushing your teeth. Make sure you’re having a shower. Just because you’re not going out for the day
like a sloppy Sunday. Sloppy Sundays are fine where you just laze about whatever, but do make sure you are getting up and every day you are getting clean in whatever.
If you regularly exercise factor this in. If you don’t usually have time, now is the best time to start factoring an exercise regime in and I’m not talking about doing like 500 burpees and 50 squats or whatever. I’m just saying like you know a brisk walk around the block for fresh air. Get your steps in or even doing, you know a couple of exercises in the house.
You don’t have to go hell for leather or anything but do try and keep yourself as active as possible. Usually like I said earlier, I have a switch-off period from about three o’clock where my mind hits a wall and I am unable to get anything done after this time from about three until five.
I use this time to practice self-care. And if you find yourself hitting a brick wall, usually a lot of people say it’s around three o’clock. Then stop what you are doing because it is counterproductive and then use this time to practice a little bit of self-care. Whether that be lying in the bath for half an hour or learning a new skill, meditating.
Watching half an hour of Netflix, like nobody is going to reprimand you for looking after yourself because you know you can’t pour from an empty cup and you need to take care of yourself. And especially those who are still working hard and have their families stuck in the house to look after. Or maybe looking after elderly people or whatever it is. You need to schedule some self-care every day.
If you, in the first couple of days you might figure out when you have this switch-off period, make sure you schedule that in your DMO for an hour or two hours, time to relax
learn a new skill, enjoy your hobby or exercise or whatever it is that helps you recharge and relax or whatever, schedule that in your DMO. And then I have seen that a lot of people are really anxious. What I suggest doing is setting aside five minutes every day as well to practice, breathing. And I know that sounds stupid, but it strengthens your lungs and it helps to calm down, anxiety and things like that. It’s a word that I can’t say. I’m going to have a go at it diaphragmatic breathing techniques. I will link a video in the show notes.
Don’t worry if you can’t get what it is from my awful pronunciation, but it’s basically deep breathing, like deep meditative breathing. And if you do it a couple of times a day for a couple of days, it’ll really strengthen your lungs and you’ll feel a little bit less anxious. So I highly recommend trying that as part of a self-care routine.
And the final tip is to switch off. So this is one of the most important things, like when you finish for the day, you really need to switch off. Take your work laptop, put it away, put it out of reach, in a cupboard, in a different room. Otherwise, you’ll sit with it on your lap all evening and you won’t be present with your family or the rest of the household or whoever you’re with. And you’ll also push yourself to burnout. And that’s counter-intuitive of our self-care daily routine that we’ve just talked about.
What you want to be doing is you want to be finishing work and you want to be spending time with your family, like enjoy as much as you can in this sentence. Enjoy spending time with the people that matter to you most, the people in your household get to know them because I can guarantee you think you know them and you don’t.
So once you’ve done for the day, switch off, get a board game out, you know, play, play games, watch, watch movies together. Don’t sit in different rooms, like come together as a family. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say on terms of like top tips that I’ve got. I hope these nine tips have been of value and if you do have any other tips or you’ve enjoyed this podcast or you’ve got any ideas how to improve this podcast, I’m always open to suggestions to improve things.
Do send me an email or contact me on social media. If you’ve tried these tips and you are struggling, let me know and I can help try and suggest other things for you because it is difficult working at home and sometimes it is lonely, but on the other hand, it can be an enjoyable experience.
So, for now, I’m going to let you go and we will be launching new podcasts every Monday. I know this is Wednesday today, I think, yeah, Wednesday. I know this is Wednesday, but from now on we’ll be launching podcasts every Monday. So I’d love for you to subscribe for notifications. You can do that in the show notes below of when our new podcasts go live and we will see you soon. Thanks for joining us from What the Elle.
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The https://ellefluence.com it’s one of the best sites I’ve ever seen, and the 9 Tips For Working From Home article is great.
Many kisses to all! Keep it like this! 🙂
Hey there 🙂
Your wordpress site is very sleek – hope you don’t mind me asking what theme you’re using?
(and don’t mind if I steal it? :P)
I just launched my site –also built in wordpress like
yours– but the theme slows (!) the site down quite a bit.
In case you have a minute, you can find it by searching for “royal cbd” on Google (would appreciate any feedback)
– it’s still in the works.
Keep up the good work– and hope you all take care of yourself during the coronavirus scare!
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