BY: RACHEL WUMKES
A Kingdom of Isolation – and it looks like - I’m the Queen!!
You guys, I’ve been training for this moment my whole life! Well, not quite, but I have been working from home for almost 7 years now. It started in 2013 when I left my job in Des Moines and moved to this beautiful little lake town. I kept a portion of my job and worked from home. Through acquisitions and layoff and caring for a sick spouse, this writing gig came up and I was able to continue a career path from my house.
It was a BIG adjustment, to say the least. I went from being up and out the door by 7AM every morning and home at 6PM in the evening to just… home. All day. I found out very quickly about self-discipline and structure. About finding a new balance of work and home and how to have “work” time and “relax” time feel like two different things.
Now, much of my time I’m home alone. The kids are in school and I can do what I need to do. Go to meetings, have pleasantly quiet phone appointments, sit in the peace and quiet to write all the words. This time in our lives is a bit different. And while, yes, they are home with me all summer and I still must work, it is different. Our summer schedule is awesome because there’s not this guilty “pull” that I should be teaching them on top of working and what not.
Regardless, it can be trying for many people while they find their new normal for the time being. Here’s a few tips that might help.
- Find your space.
- I have an awesome office in the basement where I usually work, but it’s not conducive to watching 5 children. I set up at my kitchen island so I’m available if needed, yet they know when I sit here, it’s work time.
- Get Dressed
- You don’t need a full work ensemble but lounging in your yoga pants and the same tank top for 3 days won’t cut it. Trust me on this one… get dressed, make yourself feel like a human.
- Quiet Time
- No TV. Make your workspace as much the same environment as your regular office to maximize productivity.
- Home/Work Balance
- It’s easy to get distracted and think “I’ll just throw in a load of laundry” – don’t do it. As much as possible, keep your work time for work and your home time for normal home activities.
- Routines & Schedules
- This is a MUST. Schedule in breaks. Schedule in lunch. Schedule a normal start and stop time and then stick to it. Otherwise, what will happen is you end up working all the time. Trust me, I’ve done this. Your computer sits on the counter and you end up answering emails and doing research when normally you’d leave that at the office.
- Hog-tie your children to a chair
- JUST KIDDING!!! But in seriousness, hopefully your children are of the age where you can explain the importance of working. Even if they are, it’s still a struggle some days. Hang in there and know it’s totally fine to have bad days.
- Self-Care is vital
- If you’re not used to it, being home all day with the kids is hard on your mental well-being. Take time for yourself, even if that means locking the bathroom door and playing games on your phone for a bit. You need to re-charge!
So, those are my biggest nuggets of advice. All in all, it’s going to be hard no matter what. Hopefully your employer has been helpful in providing resources to help your transition to the work-from-home lifestyle. I do know the school is working diligently on providing us resources for helping the kids continue somewhat of an education.
Hang in there, Clear Lakers! Reward yourself with a little takeout from your favorite local restaurant or have a 6-pack of craft beer delivered. And as always, be sure to follow our Facebook Page for updates and information as we all muddle through this trying time together!