There’s really no one way to crack this and if it’s an environment that you’re already really familiar with, there may be nothing to crack.
However, if it’s a new world for you and you’re struggling for motivation, structure or efficiency –
First off, give yourself a break for finding it hard as this is an unprecedented, difficult and stressful time for everyone.
Secondly, there’s tons of advice online that’s incredibly helpful. Use it.
Thirdly, have a look at my contribution below.
I’m an old hand at working from home and this “spine” has always served me well, keeping me energised, motivated, sane and happy. What more could you want?
Your HIIT plan:
1. Prepare right
Never go into the day blind. Spend 5-10 minutes at the end of your previous working day to plan the next day. As well as creating a clear “To Do” with chronology (usually start with some simple quick wins to warm you up), be clear about your overall purpose for the day, articulate it and commit it to paper.
After you wake up, don’t stumble straight into the working day. To be efficient, you need your mind, voice and body to be working in tandem. I like to start with 2 simple exercises:
(i) Spine roll – benefits:
This helps you achieve a nice, natural, open state of alignment, drops the breath, and releases tension in the body.
Exhaling on ‘ffffffff’, roll down through the spine head first, vertebrate by vertebrate, breathing when you need to. When you inhale, think of breathing into the back space. When flopped over, feel the expansion of your back as you inhale through the nose. Each time you exhale, release a bit more. Allow your neck and shoulders to hang free. Then roll up, vertebrate by vertebrate, the head being the last thing to rise.
(ii) Facial Warm-up –
You might have an early phone/video call – make sure that it’s not the first time that you’ve used your voice and wake up the articulators!
Spend 15-30 minutes doing some exercise of your choice. If you’re stuck for ideas, there’s PLENTY of inspiration on Youtube.
Pretty self explanatory!
5. Breakfast over music
I’m not going to lay it on thick with any dietary advice. You do you – but don’t do it over the laptop. It’s important to maintain clear barriers when working from home as the danger can be that there’s no distinction between working and not working.
6. Morning Work
Again, this is your area of expertise so I won’t stick my two-penneth in! However, stick to the plan made the day before, allowing for flexibility, of course- it’s not the boss of you. Also, take a short break every 45 mins to get up from your chair/screen and move.
Have what you like. Of course, the healthier the better, but again, not my area of expertise so I’m not going to preach! BUT, I will insist on doing it away from any screens or work. It’s not about being lazy. It’s about drawing clear distinctions. When you’re working, really go at it, hard, focused and efficient. I liken it to HIIT training at the gym. When you’re not working, be strict about it and recuperate just as hard.
8. Warm back-up
Don’t go back in cold. Re-energise, re-focus and start the afternoon with purpose, avoiding the post lunch slump. Use the 2 simple warm-up exercises from the morning.
9. Afternoon work
You know the score – but start by reminding yourself of your purpose and stick to the short, sharp breaks every 45.
10. Plan tomorrow
It’s tempting to get straight on with your evening so make sure that you schedule in 5-10 minutes to plan the next day being clear about purpose as well as the chronology of your “To do” list.
Close your laptop, tidy up your working space and leave the house for a little fresh air to de-compress. You’ve earned it. You’ll need it. It’s also a really effective way to punctuate the end of the working day and the beginning of your evening.
And that, humbly, is how I do it.
It’s not rocket science. Nothing will blow your mind and nothing’s unheard of but I find it very effective so I thought I’d share.
The key points to note are starting the day with purpose; factoring in time to warm-up mentally, vocally and physically; AND keeping clear distinctions between working and non-working time.
When you’re on, go at it hard. When you’re off, really make sure that you’re off. Otherwise it can all bleed into one and, trust me, it will affect the quality of your work, health and happiness.
Try it out. I’d love to hear how you get on.
By Chris Wickenden, 7th April, 2020