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Finding Balance While Working Remotely

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Finding Balance While Working Remotely

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The information is intended to provide guidance and inspiration to you in your ongoing transition from an on-site worker to a remote worker. By no means is this information fully inclusive. As you are transitioning, you will discover unique strategies that work for you. Embrace those. I hope this collection of information helps you in your journey to a balanced, productive and healthy work-from-home environment.

The information is intended to provide guidance and inspiration to you in your ongoing transition from an on-site worker to a remote worker. By no means is this information fully inclusive. As you are transitioning, you will discover unique strategies that work for you. Embrace those. I hope this collection of information helps you in your journey to a balanced, productive and healthy work-from-home environment.

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Finding Balance While Working Remotely

  1. 1. | Life Balance | |Remote Work| | Mental Health | scott dittman
  2. 2. We are in unprecedented times. Social constructs have been redefined overnight and many have been thrust into remote working environments they didn’t ask for (and didn’t necessarily want) in jobs that may not easily lend themselves to success from a remote workspace. What can you do to adapt? The following information is intended to provide guidance and inspiration to you in your ongoing transition from an on-site worker to a remote worker. By no means is this information fully inclusive. As you are transitioning, you will discover unique strategies that work for you. Embrace those. I hope this collection of information helps you in your journey to a balanced, productive and healthy work-from-home environment.
  3. 3. Take it easy on yourself. Contrary to what you may see on social media, you do not need to spend this time learning how to speak three new languages, play two new instruments and rebuild your house. Take some time every day to pause and decompress. Reflect on ways you would like to grow both professionally and personally. Remember that the biggest accomplishment you can achieve is a closer relationship with yourself. Only once you can be honest with yourself without beating yourself up can you begin to build great things on your personal foundation. Don’t be afraid to be bold in what you want to do. Then set small, achievable goals and be persistent in tackling them. If you stumble along the way, remember that the only deadlines you are accountable to are of your own making and that since this is all kinda like the movie Groundhog Day, you can simply brush it off and do better tomorrow. 1
  4. 4. Be intentionally flexible. Everything has changed. Be willing to change with it. While the basic core of your work mission is the same, the ways in which that mission will be met may have changed dramatically. You are not going to be able to to simply bring your office home and accomplish the same tasks in the same ways. Be proactive in searching for new opportunities to lead and to help others. Be deliberate in your search for opportunities to pivot and use what you know to change how things are done in order to be as effective as possible. Pull knowledge from all aspects of your life to bring fresh approaches to the job at hand. Be willing to recognize when something isn’t working and try something else. It’s ok to try a new approach and fail. In fact, it’s the only way to learn. It’s only not ok to give up. 2
  5. 5. Commute. Think about your normal drive to and from work. Do you mentally prepare yourself for your day on your way in? Do you drink coffee while you drive? Do you listen to music and sing the wrong lyrics at the top of your lungs and think about everything except work? On your way home, do you review your day and think about what you need to do tomorrow? Do you call a friend? Do the same things to start and end each workday now. Block off at least ten minutes for a virtual commute prior to turning on your computer and after “closing up shop” for the day. Sit on your porch or in a quiet room for the duration of your virtual commute. Turn on some music and let your neighbors hear those wrong lyrics loud and clear. Call your best friend to check in on them. As much as possible, do what you would normally do during this time. Use your virtual commute to create much-needed bookends for your workday, separating your work time and your home/family time. 3
  6. 6. Don’t work. Work. Don’t Work. Are you finding yourself checking emails before breakfast in the morning? Are you picking up your phone to check them again in the evening? Even if these are things you did prior to switching to work-from-home, stop. You used to have an obvious physical differentiation between work and home. That physical separation is gone now, so it is critical that you establish a strong behavioral separation in its place. Be disciplined in using your virtual commute to start and stop your workdays and be resistant to allowing work activities to bleed into your non-work time. When you’re done working for the day, be done working for the day. 4
  7. 7. Get up and move. Take lunch. Take breaks. Did you sit at your desk all day at work? Not likely. Fight the urge to melt into your couch for hours at a time. Get up and stretch. Move around. Keep yourself on your meal schedule just as you would at work. Don’t allow yourself to visit the kitchen every hour. When it is time for lunch, disconnect from work completely and allow yourself to decompress. Add some level of exercise to your daily routine and block off your work calendar to help reinforce your discipline in sticking to that routine. Remember that you are likely to be more efficient with your time working at home than you were in an office environment due to fewer distractions (though kids and dogs can sure try to match it). Don’t feel bad about taking some time for yourself during your workday. 5
  8. 8. Maintain your social rhythm. Do you normally go out with coworkers after work on Fridays? Use technology to still do that. FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangout and countless other platforms enable you to connect with them and catch up on all of the things going on in each others’ lives. Do you not typically enjoy a cold beverage during the weekdays? Resist adding it to your daily routine. As much as possible – and on as many fronts as possible – do your best to maintain the same patterns and rhythms you had prior to the shift to working from home. Remember that what you don’t do is just as important as what you do. 6
  9. 9. Don’t kill time with technology. We’re all aware of the mental health rabbit hole of technology and the quicksand of social media. Be deliberate and intentional in your use of technology to inform yourself. Use it to enhance your days by connecting you with others when you need it. Do not allow yourself to scroll mindlessly and fall victim to the onslaught of stress, anxiety and negativity that is so pervasive in the news and across social media. Use technology to proactively communicate and engage, rather than to pass time. Even then, be mindful of your screen time. Screen time metrics are readily available on your devices or through third party applications. Allow yourself to look at those metrics, despite how frightening your baseline may be, then set goals to gradually reduce the amount of time you are spending immersed in that world. Challenge a friend to do the same and hold each other accountable. 7
  10. 10. Explore new passions and rediscover old ones. Note: This doesn’t mean texting your ex. While you don’t need to learn all of the languages in which you ever considered becoming fluent, use this opportunity to revisit ways you may have enjoyed spending time prior to the peak of technology and to try things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time to tackle. Society has put an unfortunate spotlight on the idea that value is found only in constant productivity. In reality, the only measure that truly matters is whether or not the endeavor is meaningful and enjoyable to you. Jigsaw puzzles. Hiking. Simply remembering the beauty of doing nothing for a while. Use this pause to tackle some things you’ve always wanted to do. Order that guitar from Amazon, jump on YouTube and find an instructor you like. Make your downtime and your growth an intentional part of your daily rhythm. Try new things. Invigorate your mind with a balance of quiet reflection and exciting new explorations. 8
  11. 11. Take it easy on yourself. I’m putting this one here again, because it’s that important. We’ve all been thrown into this situation suddenly and without a blueprint. No one has the right answers, so nothing you are doing is wrong. Understand, however, that this is undeniably an opportunity. We can pause the whirlwind of news and information and focus on doing the best we can with what we can control. Each of us can find a personal balance that will result in a stronger and more versatile version of us on the other side of this challenge. Not only do you get to fully determine whether you’re successful or not, you get to determine what “success” means. That’s a glorious thing. Be intentional in finding your balance. Be proactive in taking care of yourselves and your families. Ask for help when you need it. Use this time to plan and prepare and grow at whatever pace is best for you. Take the breath that has been offered. Rediscover yourself and be kind to the person you find. 9
  12. 12. 10 Here’s a picture. I shamelessly harvested this image from a gentleman named Spencer Hilligoss on LinkedIn. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

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