This is really bizarre.
The world seems like it’s been turned upside down. The way we live our lives has completely changed, almost overnight. Our daily routines are totally different. We’re not rushing every morning, getting the kids off to school, waiting in the drive-through at our local coffee shop, and racing to work to make that morning meeting.
Many of us are at home. We only see coworkers and family through our laptop screens. Our favorite local restaurants, stores, and watering holes are closed. We struggle to find things to look forward to.
But as certain sayings go, it’s less about what the storm brings, and more about how we respond. We’re all trying our best to make a difference and just stay productive (and connected) while we take the necessary safety precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
With that in mind, we’re offering four simple ways to “take life by storm” while living in a world of social distancing.
1. Take in the Outdoors
Some of us may already be avid outdoor enthusiasts, hitting the trails or staying active. It’s harder now, though - as some parks and resorts are closed.
Simple changes like taking a walk around the neighborhood, biking to the store, or enjoying lunch outside (weather permitting) can help reduce anxiety, increase creativity, and improve your mood. Take your pet with, too.
Maybe you trained for a marathon and it’s been canceled. Who says you can’t still run it? Plot the course around your local community. Throw those running shoes on and hit the road (or the treadmill). The upside is you don’t have to stress over what to wear.
2. Stay Productive While Working
We’ve all heard the line, “oh you work from home – it must be nice to sit on your couch all day.” The reality is it’s not that easy. There are so many distractions. The kids need attention. Our pets need to go out. The laundry is done and needs folding. Seriously, it’s hard to focus! Not to mention, in order to be productive, we need an ergonomic space.
After all, if Shakespeare can write King Lear while the plague shut down theaters, we can still accomplish similar greatness during COVID-19. In a recent survey, 77% of respondents reported greater productivity when working remotely than compared to working in an office.
Here are the best tips we’ve come across to stay productive:
- Set up a proper workstation – be in work mode. Give yourself ample space for the three monitors you might have, find a good office chair, and set up near a window. Oh, and shut the door to keep out all distractions from the rest of the house. Tune into your favorite streaming service for background noise to keep you focused. Most importantly, make sure you have good, reliable internet.
- Schedule your day – create time that you’re in the office, and out of the office. We’re creatures of habit. Keep the same routine you did when you went to work. Set the alarm, get ready, and report to work. It helps you prepare for the day. Then, at the end of the day, shut your laptop and walk away.
- Stimulate in-person contact – set up daily check-ins with your team. Make sure to have a chat app at the ready for quick questions and conversations. Email is great, but sometimes you need an instant answer, especially when you can’t walk down the hall and talk to a co-worker. This might be a shock - make a point to talk to someone every day, but not about work. Be human – talk about your lives.
- Spice up the video calls - Our new normal is communicating through Zoom or Skype. Schedule a daily or weekly all-team buzz video to help alleviate the isolation and keep everyone informed and engaged. Make sure you have good lighting, keep the angle at eye-level, and try to have a professional background. We don’t want to see your bathroom. Mute yourself during large meetings and be mindful of where you’re looking. But make it fun.
- Change the background on your Zoom Meeting
- Share your screen
- Send a hidden chat
- Put a disguise on
- Send videos
- We even invited our pets to say hello
3. Dress the part, but be Cozy
Working (and being quarantined) at home is all about feeling productive. It doesn’t mean you have to stay in your PJs. It can be extremely tempting to fall into a uniform of sweatpants and a hoodie. But according to the experts, you shouldn’t.
Studies show people are more successful dressing up a bit. The clothes you wear actually impact your mood. Surprising, huh? Plus, it helps you keep a sense of normalcy. Dressing pulled together helps you feel pulled together.
Our advice---keep it looking professional and cozy at the same time. Choose a business casual look, including your favorite pair of jeans, a t-shirt and perhaps a quarter-zip pullover. Or perhaps a soft woven shirt layered with a vest. Or something transitional – for women a pair of leggings and a flannel topped with a cozy cardigan.
Test drive items in your closet and play with different combos. Find the ones with stretchy fabric to keep you feeling comfortable, but looking sharp. Check out the Storm Creek Work from Home Collection for some inspiration.
Put your best foot forward and impress yourself… you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) look like this guy.
4. Stay Connected – Stay Optimistic
The World Health Organization provided some tips on how to deal with the anxiety of being sequestered at home. Health professionals recommend limiting your physical contact, but you can stay connected as much as possible on social networks.
- Call, text, Snap, and FaceTime your friends and family
- Volunteer remotely and support national & local charities fighting the impacts of COVID-19
- Pay attention to your own needs. Engage in healthy activities you enjoy, such as exercise, reading, or binge-watching your favorite Netflix, Hulu or HBO series!
- Keep your sleep routines and eat healthily
- Limit your exposure to the constant stream of news reports to help curb feelings of anxiety of stress
- Cook, clean, listen to podcasts, play games, watch documentaries, listen to music, or LOL with Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens
Most of all, stay positive. Transform current anxieties and fear into strategic growth opportunities by living in the moment, remaining grateful, and focus on others' needs. Success Coach Dan Sullivan has other great tips in “The Scary Times Success Manual”.