If you’re looking for a tried-and-true “how to work from home” article, you’ve come to the wrong place. My life is messier than that. This is also not a technical article; it’s a human one.
I’m writing this from my little town of Hamburg, just south of Buffalo, NY (as far away from NYC as you can get and still be in the State of New York). Over the past three days, the state first mandated that 50 percent of our workforce to work remotely, then 75 percent, and now Governor Cuomo just announced that all work must be remote, which stops any install business pretty abruptly.
Plus, my kids, two girls, ages 11 and 13, are currently off from school until April 20.
Life as we knew it is, well, different. As the owner of an AV business, and a mom of two, I’ve worked remotely for a few hours here and there throughout the years. But not all day, and not every day. It’s a bit intense, but here are some things that are helping me survive during this current state of affairs.
Great Music. There have been studies done, and if you are an avid listener of music, you know it helps. It helps calm us, motivates us to clean the house, soothes the kids at dinner time (witching hour), and in general, can make us happier. This week we have listened to everything from Sting Radio on Pandora to classical, to Alexi Murdoch, to Vitamin String Quartet. (Share in the comments below what you’re grooving on these incubated days.)
Be Truthful. Ever get that social media anxiety feeling where everyone seems to have a perfect life – because that is the only part they’re posting? Perhaps instead of saying all the great things you did today on social, you mention the chaos too. For example, while working and helping the kiddo with homework yesterday, I proudly whipped up dinner in the crockpot, only to realize a few hours later, I never plugged it in. That, my friends, is what life is going to be like for a while.
Follow the Light. While working from home, if you’re still working, make sure you find some daylight – it will help, I promise. Take it a step further and get a birdfeeder. Watching the birds and animals reminds you that we will make it through all of this; life will go on.
Get Outside. Force yourself to get out when you can. The weather here in Buffalo changes pretty quick. Today our high has reached 61 degrees, and tomorrow we’ll be in the 30s. This morning my 11-year-old and I went for a hobbled run. Getting your heart rate up releases endorphins and getting out of the house makes you not feel as trapped. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, or go for a drive in the country (if you’re allowed). Remember, your car is the same “bubble” as the house; you’ll just have a new view.
Use a List. I’m a big checklist person, and we use this at home, as well. Have some idea of a schedule for the kids at home as they’re used to one at school, and don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. We get up, eat some breakfast, and kids work on their online homework. When that is done, we have some chores to complete. Early afternoon is free time, but not too much TV!
Connect. There is no doubt about it, we are in uncharted territories, and this can be scary, overwhelming, frantic, and even lonely. Remember to connect with family and friends. Facetime does a great job at group video (if you’re all iPhone users), and Zoom is free for meetings under 40 minutes. Reach out and connect!
How are you fairing out there, friends?