Working from Home: Be More Productive & Meet Your Deadlines!

Working from Home: Be More Productive & Meet Your Deadlines!

Working from Home: Be More Productive & Meet Your Deadlines!

Work Life Balance

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the nation, many Americans are now finding themselves working from home longer-term. While the ability to work from home has steadily been increasing even prior to the virus outbreak, many businesses and organizations have now been forced to adapt and allow their employees to work remotely. 

Working from the comfort and safety of your home can have its advantages. However, if not done with care and intention can lead to negative effects on your productivity and well-being. 

Today I want to outline for you some advantages and pitfalls to avoid when working from home. I am sharing the same tips and strategies I share with my online therapy and life coaching clients to make the transition of working from home a smooth and happy one. 

Advantages of Working from Home

Working from home provides benefits and advantages that working in an office simply cannot provide. While working in an office space can present structure, accountability, and a space to collaborate with colleagues, working from home can allow for more flexibility and personalization of your workday. 

Depending on your position and work duties, working from home can allow you to work at your own pace and (sometimes) set your own schedule. Some work from home positions follow set hours such as the typical 9 am-5 pm workday. While others allow you to work at any time as long as specific goals are met.

With this flexibility, you can wake up and go to bed at a time that is ideal for you, take breaks for exercise, refresh your brain, and reduce daily stressors such as traffic. 

Another advantage of working remotely with a flexible schedule is being able to complete errands or attend appointments you normally wouldn’t be able to if at the office. Working from home also allows for more time with your pets and kids! 

Even if your remote job does not allow for a flexible schedule, working from the comfort of your own home may boost creativity and allow you to be more relaxed and therefore productive. 

Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For When Working From Home

While there are advantages to working from home, there are also disadvantages and ways working from home can be harmful to your productivity and mental health. 

The flexibility that working from home provides is also a catch-22. Working from home can impact your productivity and motivation. When we have the flexibility to set our own pace and schedule, we may have every intention to optimize this time. However, unless your employer has provided you with guidelines to your new working environment, many people have to learn through experience or trial and error before configuring a work from home set up that truly works!

If working from home is not done with intentionality or forethought, it can leave you feeling burnt out, unmotivated, and unhappy.

If you are finding yourself in a similar situation and struggling to complete tasks, meet deadlines, or connect with your work – you may be hindering your success by giving in to these common pitfalls.

Not Setting Structure Around Working Hours

Working sporadic hours or when motivation strikes may work for some. However, working with no set schedule can create anxiety and unrest for most of us. Continually putting off tasks or waiting for motivation to come can lead to guilt or make it even harder to start. 

The anti-structure of working hours can ultimately lead to failure in areas that you are generally successful when working in your typical office space. 

Unable To Walk Away From Work

Working from home can blur the boundaries between work and personal life. For those people who already struggle with overworking or turning off their work brain, this can make it even more challenging. 

Feeling like your work is constantly looming over you even when you are supposed to be off the clock can lead to burnout and decreased motivation.

Not Maintaining Professional Connections

When we have the support of our professional connections, it’s easier to stay motivated and connected to our work.

While working from home, you may feel isolated or cut off from your work relationships feeling like your work has less of an impact and making it harder to stay accountable for deadlines.

Allowing Blurred Boundaries

Trying to get work done and be productive in spaces where you also binge watch Netflix or sleep will further blur the lines between work and home. 

Humans are impacted by their environment. Working in a space where you are comfy or with lots of distractions will make it harder to stay in work mode.

These blurred boundaries can make it difficult to stick to a work schedule, walk away from your work outside of working hours, and push off maintaining professional connections.

Success Strategies When Working From Home

While working from home can have its pitfalls and distractions, there are ways you can set yourself up for success and enhance your life! Here are 5 simple strategies to make working from home a smooth and enjoyable experience. 

Optimizing Your Productivity By Optimizing Your Space

Take a moment to think about a time where you were “in-flow” with your work, and you were able to accomplish a task or project with ease. 

Consider the elements of the environment that helped your success.

Was there music?
What was the light like?
ad you just eaten lunch or a snack?

Using your self-knowledge, try to create a space within your home that is curated for work based on what helps you be productive. 

You can be fun and playful here. Try to incorporate plants, aromatherapy, soft cozy blankets, color, and light! Make this space yours and do what works for YOU. 

Set Yourself Up For Success

Similar to the previous point, make sure you take a comprehensive approach to working from home and set yourself up for success. 

Working and living in the same space may confuse your body and mind unless clear distinctions are made. As much as possible try to stick with the same routine you would use when working outside the home. Such as having a cutoff time for bed and splitting meal preparation with a family member or partner if you can. 

Just because you are home doesn’t mean you are technically available to help with tasks, so try to split responsibilities like you normally would if you weren’t home. 

Setting yourself up for success could be scheduling breaks into your workday or giving yourself enough rest and eating regular meals and snacks, but also giving yourself grace and compassion. 

You may be experiencing waves of emotion that change daily or struggling with the constant change. Give yourself grace, kindness, and patience to not “be okay”, and to learn and grow with time. 

Connect With Your Work Relationships

When we feel connected to our colleagues and the work we are doing (even if from afar!), there can be a greater sense of accountability, drive, and motivation. 

Staying in touch through Slack messaging, Zoom conference calls, and emails with colleagues and work teams can foster a greater sense of connection and help us feel closer to the people we would normally interact with in the breakroom. 

If your job isn’t organizing meetup groups or opportunities to connect with your coworkers, consider reaching out to someone and organizing one yourself!

For more advice on building community during social distancing, check out my colleague’s article: Building CommUNITY During Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine.

Set Boundaries Around Work

Turning off email and work app notifications on your phone outside of working hours, and creating a work schedule are two ways you can create boundaries when working from home. 

Working different hours every day may be a necessity or work well for some, but many people desire structure, consistency, and predictability in their work environment. You can use the flexibility working from home can bring by setting work hours that work for you, such as starting at 9:30 am rather than 9 am or using your lunch hour for a workout.

Setting specific times for work can create structure and routine while self-isolating at home, and some semblance of normalcy. Managing how many times you are reminded of work or mentally brought back into “the office” will be important to manage burnout and fatigue. Consider altering your notification preferences for email and other communication platforms associated with work. 

Setting a schedule for work can also help keep work off your mind when you are not “in” the office, and can help redirect anxious thoughts that may pop up in your off time.

Looking for a little more on work life balcne when working from home? Listen to this podcast: Coronavirus & Career: How We Make This Work — Advice From a Career Coach.

Creating Clear Distinctions Between Work Time And Leisure Time

Similar to how setting a work schedule can assist in creating structure and differentiate between off-time and work-time, creating clear physical boundaries with work can also be helpful. 

This may look like not working in bed or other spaces you normally wouldn’t get work done, and changing out of your PJs (even though you technically don’t have to). 

Working at a desk or the dining room table rather than your bed will help your brain and body tell the difference between work and play. If you don’t create clear distinctions between work and leisure, like when you try to wind down at the end of the day in bed, your work brain may start turning on because it thinks it’s work time! 

The same goes for working in front of the TV or in the living room. When you try to enjoy these spaces outside of work it may feel too familiar and eventually lead your brain to associate these spaces with work long-term.

If possible, try to change rooms when transitioning to and from work to help you better “clock out” at the end of the day and further distinguish your work environment against your home environment.

I hope these strategies help you successfully work from home either temporarily or long-term!

Wishing you success,
Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC 

Josephine Marin, M.S., MFTC  is a warm, kind, and direct therapist and couples counselor who specializes in communication, compassion and connection. She can help you reach your goals and create positive change in yourself and your relationships.

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Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

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Resiliency In The Face Of Chaos

Resiliency In The Face Of Chaos

Resiliency In The Face Of Chaos

Keep Going…

Everywhere you look online the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic is mentioned. It has been in every headline, every news outlet, on Facebook feeds, even in every email in my junk inbox. As an Online Therapist and Life Coach, my clients have been asking, “How do I adjust to this current situation?” Today I want to provide you with the same advice I share with my clients on resiliency in the face of chaos. 

When It’s Out of Your Control

The world has faced other health and public concerns, however, never on this large of a scale. It’s scary to read all of the headlines, especially when positivity is rarely reflected in the articles.

Facing a global pandemic and navigating life through COVID-19 is uncharted territory for all of us. Never before has an entire society had to worry about school closures in the middle of the semester, grocery store outages, and heavy financial stress.

There are so many new challenges that we are all facing – many challenges that are merely out of our control. How do we individually and collectively move into a new way of doing things when discomfort and uncertainty surround us?

Focus on the Positive

I want to point out that never before has society been so connected in terms of education and communication. Never before has our local and state communities come so closely together, offering to help. Never before have I seen so many people step up to help their friends and families during this uncertain time. [Read: Building CommUNITY During Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine for more on community during COVID-19]

What COVID-19 is teaching us as a community is that we are resilient and that resiliency in the face of chaos allows us to focus on the positive and find gratitude even in uncertain times. 

What is Resilience?

Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. Looking at the world on a global scale, it is in our nature to be resilient and as a collective, this feels more natural as we support one another. However, on an individual scale how can we personally develop resiliency in the face of chaos? 

Acknowledge and Accept

What I practice with my clients is the acceptance of personal feelings or emotions that may feel otherwise uncomfortable. Acknowledging and accepting that you feel scared, worried, confused, angry…these are all okay and valid emotions. The important thing to remember is that you will not feel like this forever – things will get better. 

Focus on Your Journey Ahead

While staying grounded in the present is an excellent way to overcome feelings of anxiety. Thinking about your personal journey and where it is leading you can encourage a sense of comfort knowing that your goals and dreams are still yours, they are still valid and real. 

A few questions you can ask yourself in order to build resiliency in the face of chaos are:

  • What are my hopes and goals for myself moving forward?
  • What can I hope to learn from this experience? 
  • Where have I found meaning and how can I help others in similar circumstances, even if it’s not the same?

Look for Inspiration

Online, pictures spread about animals returning after decreased human activity. Although there is no solid proof of this yet, it does inspire and give us hope in the times we need it. Nature is resilient and hopeful! 

In Spain, you can see people conversing and even exercising with each other from the balcony. 

In Italy, there are videos upon videos of the community gathering in song and music showing the world that despite this uncertain and scary time, we can continue to come together and show each other kindness and comfort. 

Here in the USA, stores are changing their hours to help the vulnerable populations get a headstart on shopping. There are local businesses and volunteer organizations offering food, child care, and even tasks such as getting the mail.

Shift Your Way of Thinking

This isn’t to say that the news shouldn’t be taken lightly or that the impacts of COVID-19 are minimized. Instead, trying to shift from a panic mentality to a resilience mentality can help both in the short and long term. [Read: Intentional Living – How to not Panic in the PANIC for more…]

In the short term, during social distancing and isolation, it is necessary to be thinking about the future and how you are growing. 

In the long term, it will be important to recognize the impact that this pandemic has caused and use it to move forward with helping yourself and helping others.

Right now we are in the midst of a forest fire. It seems like everything will be destroyed and yet, new growth begins to happen again. We are growing, we are coming together, and we will rebuild.

Here’s to your resiliency in the face of chaos,
Megan Brice M.S., LPCC

P.S. How are you building resiliency in the face of chaos? Share with me in the comments below!

Megan Brice, M.S., LPCC is a career counselor, life coach and therapist who creates a warm environment for you to explore the depths of who you are, so you can grow. She challenges, encourages, and empowers you to embrace transition in order to create future fulfillment.

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Living Intentional 

As an online therapist and life coach, and strong proponent of intentional living, I am keenly aware that we all are being greatly impacted by COVID-19 and feeling the collective stress all around us. This may be a good time to take heed of our own behavior and how we choose to engage this unsettling reality unfolding daily, without spiraling into a panic. 

The Antidote To A Panicked Mind Is An Intentional Mind

1. Be intentional with what you allow in.

 As a therapist, I like to encourage my clients to stay informed yes, but try limiting the amount of time that you spend on social media sites. The antidote to a panicked mind is an intentional mind.

Before checking the latest coronavirus pandemic updates, doing this one thing can make all the difference in keeping your stress at healthy, manageable levels. Set the intention to answer the “why” before you start spending an inordinate amount of time scrolling through your newsfeed.

I have clients, for example, who tell me that they find themselves frantically reading articles streaming across their computer screen, hoping to assuage their fears. Mindlessly reading distressing information can produce even more anxiety.

When we let our minds fall into a fear trap, without us even realizing it, we are giving our power away. We are relinquishing control over our choices, which can leave us feeling even more helpless. We do have control over our minds and how we take care of our mental diets. 

2. Set An Intention That Helps You To Be Clear About Your Choices

Set an intention that helps you to be clear about your choices, such as why you are choosing to read “this” article, so that you aren’t unconsciously engaging with a worry-mind from the outset. (Here are more tips for managing coronavirus anxiety.) Otherwise, you may be making yourself vulnerable to “downloading” insurmountable amounts of stressful information with no protective self-care parameters in place. 

By setting an intention, this can help you make deliberate choices that serve your overall wellbeing. Your intention may be: I am taking the necessary precautions to keep myself, loved ones, and others safe. 

Then determine a healthy time-limit for watching or reading news, maybe it’s no more than 30-minutes (your vagus nerve will thank you; more on this in a minute.) And be intentional about deciding what information is helpful and what information is not helpful, so that you are not causing unnecessary stress, as this has been shown to weaken the immune system, which is not what you want.  

3. Emotionally Regulate Yourself

Now let’s talk about the vagus nerve as I mentioned above. This nerve plays such a huge role in our stress response, as it is connected to the parasympathetic system, the part of the nervous system working synergistically to allow for optimal and harmonious functioning – essentially the queen “regulator” influencing your stress response. Which is to say that it is important to take care of your vagus nerve so that it takes care of you! One way you can do this is to start your day with an intentional, mindfulness breathing meditation. 

Deep breathing helps us to calm and regulate our “emotional control center,” so to speak. And the more we emotionally regulate ourselves, the more we can respond to stress – something a panicked heart simply can’t do. 

4. Check-and-Balance Yourself Often

So intention setting is like having a “superpowered” way to check-and-balance yourself often. You can ask yourself:  Am I acting from a place of fear? You can start doing this with every activity, like eating. If you think: I have to eat more whole foods or I’m going to get sick! This can actually work against your well-meaning intention and bring on added stress.

Practice setting pure intentions and affirming when you eat healthy foods, for instance, I am nourishing and replenishing my body and supporting my body’s innate desire to take care of me. (Check out: Developing a Healthy Relationship With Food)

5. Get Into The Habit Of “Intentionalizing” Your Day To Keep Panic At Bay

Now is a really good time to focus inwardly, establish self-reflecting routines, act more consciously, accept the as-is showing up in your life right now, so that you can navigate the isness of your present situation while allowing a new context to emerge. 

As you practice calm and acceptance, you are inviting the wherewithal to adapt into your life. It may mean establishing new routines, discovering new ways to stay connected and relevant. 

This is all made possible when we start by quarantining ourselves for any “emotional viruses” that are keeping us from being the superpowered, creative shapeshifters that we are – and that is so essential to cultivate into our lives right now.  

I hope that you read this and start “intentionalizing” your day. 

Warmly, 

Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC

PS. Connect with me and join the conversation on Instagram @growing_self! Also, my colleague Dr. Lisa created a short video demo-ing a great breathing technique to help lower stress available for you on Instagram too.

Amy-Noelle Shih, M.A., LPC is a powerful, dynamic, couples counselor, individual therapist and life coach with a direct, authentic approach to personal growth. Her style is as affirming and positive as it is effective, and all about helping you create alignment and joy in yourself and in your relationships.

Let’s  Talk

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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Corona Life: How to Cope

Coronavirus anxiety? Struggling with the new reality of “Corona Life?” You’re not alone. I recently polled some of my tribe on Instagram to see how they were doing mentally and emotionally during the Coronavirus crisis we are all experiencing together. I learned that anxiety about Coronavirus is running rampant, and that lots of people are struggling to find ways to manage the stress of their disrupted lives. Kids are out of school, they’re stuck at home, they’re cut off from their social networks, and extremely worried about aging parents and their health and safety — not to mention their future.

This is a lot to deal with. In efforts to help you manage Coronavirus anxiety and cultivate emotional resilience, I am devoting this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast to addressing your questions about coping with “Coronavirus Life” in order to provide new ideas and direction.

Specifically:

  • “I am freaking out about Coronavirus. How do I stop worrying about getting sick? Or being worried that people I love will get Coronavirus?”
  • “I’m having anxiety about separation during the Coronavirus quarantine, and I am so sad about being cut off from everyone. What do I do?”
  • “What are some of the best self-care strategies for dealing with Coronavirus stress?”
  • “Being cooped up at home with my spouse is taking a toll on my relationship. How do we handle the stress of this situation without damaging our relationship?”
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  • “Coronavirus has destroyed my life. I can’t deal with the uncertainty of not knowing what is happening.”

I’m answering these listener questions and sharing some special, free resources for my listeners on this episode. I hope this discussion and the resources I’m sharing helps you find new coping skills, and practices that help build a firm foundation of emotional resilience inside yourself right now.

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Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD, LMFT, BCC

"Hi, I'm Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. For over a decade, I've been helping people all over the world create Love, Happiness and Success in their lives through positive, compassionate and effective Marriage Counseling, Therapy and Life Coaching. I'm so pleased to be able to help you, too. There is help for you here, and I'm glad you've found us.

This website is devoted to your wellbeing, and offers loads of free information and actionable advice that you can start using today to create positive change in your life. Browse around to meet our experts, get free advice on our blog, listen to a podcast, or take our "How Healthy is Your Relationship" quiz. Or, if the time is right, you can schedule a free consultation with any of us to talk about your situation -- and, most importantly -- your hopes for your future." -- Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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My passion is helping people just like you reach their highest potential both individually, and in their most important relationships. 

Whether we work together in couples counseling, family therapy, individual therapy, or life coaching, my focus will be understanding your deepest desires for your marriage, your family, and yourself so that I can help you create your most gratifying life. Our work can help you heal, gain understanding and compassion for yourself and others, and live with intention.” 

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How to Stay Stress Free

How to Stay Stress Free

How to Stay Stress Free

The Art of Cultivating Calm

Do you feel like it’s hard to manage the stress of it all? If you’re like so many of our high-achieving type-A life coaching and therapy clients here at Growing Self, you probably have days when you’re feeling spread thin. Let’s face it: Staying on top of everything is a lot! Between managing a high-impact career, running a household, staying on top of laundry, groceries, personal projects, having a high quality relationship with your partner, and perhaps a kid or three PLUS finding time to self care, take occasional showers, and maintain your friendships… whew! We’re all going in a thousand different directions, and it can feel extremely stressful. The idea that you stay stress free sounds like an unattainable dream.

This is especially true when you feel, like so many people do, that you’re struggling to stay on top of it all. When we become overly busy, things start to slip! When you’re rushed, it’s hard to stay organized. When you’re going a zillion miles an hour, you start to forget things, lose things, and feel less and less organized. That leads to feeling even more stressed and out of control, and then it’s even harder to keep up. It’s a downward spiral of stress, mess, and panic. Not a sustainable way to live!

How To Stay Stress Free (Really!)

So… how do you get off the hamster wheel of modern life and stay stress free? How do you begin to get yourself organized and back in control? Most importantly, how do you create a sustainable system that allows you to not just do the things that you need to do but manage your life in such a way that you don’t constantly feel like a frantic stress-ball?

My guest on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, Marilyn Paul, PhD, is here to show us how. Dr. Paul has been on the faculty of Yale Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital School, and is the author of “It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Shoes” as well as “An Oasis of Time: How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life.” Dr. Paul is an expert in time management and personal organization by professional training… but she’s also a fellow traveler with powerful stories about the life lessons she’s learned as someone who has also struggled to keep up with it all.

If you have days when you feel like you’re drowning, I hope you listen to this conversation. (And yes, totally okay if you’re listening to this while you’re multi-tasking ten other things at the same time: I get it!) But you’ll be glad if you can fit this in to your day: Dr. Paul shares so many insights and tips, and compassionate, empowering ideas that you can use ASAP to cultivate calm and order in your life, so that you can feel genuinely stress free from the inside out.

Your partner in growth,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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How to Stay Stress Free

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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