Productivity was important even before a global pandemic, and now it’s absolutely essential to reach our professional goals. More women than ever are working from home, and that means many of us have had to re-learn how to begin our days. We asked Jackson-area blogger and friend of The Source, Laurel Donahoo, to share her tips and tricks for getting the morning started off on the right foot.
Let me guess— your normal workflow has been disrupted since about mid-March. You’ve either had to completely change up what your workplace looks like, or move your office to your house. And, if you and I are in the same boat, your kids’ schools got moved to your house as well!
If you’ve stayed completely sane since mid-March, you need to write the next blog post for The Source on your magical secret! Meanwhile, the rest of us are still a little (okay, a LOT) crazy because of life’s recent events.
It is my hope that things will start getting a little more normal with each passing day! But until we are completely back to the good ol’ days of 2019….
There have been a few things I’ve found to help my workday get off to a better start, especially since I’ve been working at home with three littles (and often a sitter) running around behind me.
GO TO BED AT A DECENT HOUR.
I know, I know. This is hard. Netflix is SO hard to turn off. But I’ve found that on nights when I just watch one short show instead of binging half a season of a longer show, I wake up feeling more rested! Who would’ve ever guessed?! More sleep turns into a better-rested individual. I know you already knew the importance of going to bed earlier, but sometimes you just need to hear the truth like that from a stranger like me!
DON’T LOOK AT YOUR PHONE FIRST THING.
I used to be THE WORST at waking up, picking up my phone without even putting on my glasses, and replying to emails, texts, and Instagram DMs before I even knew what day of the week it was. Inevitably, I’d have an email with a tone (you know) or a DM calling me out on something, and there I am in a bad mood before I can even see straight. Not cool. I’ve found that turning off my alarm and just leaving my phone on my bedside table while I complete tips 3 and 4 are of immense value to my mental state upon waking.
Another plus to not answering emails at 6 a.m. is, you aren’t training your clients or your coworkers to expect you to work at that hour regularly. An old boss of mine told our team that it was up to us to train our clients on when to expect certain things from us. If we reply to their texts at 10 p.m., they grow to expect that. They should expect us to bust our butts for them between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., but they should not expect us to forfeit personal time during nonworking hours to tend to their issues.
Few things perk up my brain cells better than the smell of coffee brewing. Then there’s the taste of the wonderful black happy juice hitting my tongue that just makes me want to clutch my warm mug, look up, and thank God for the gift of coffee! I know not everyone likes coffee, so whatever it is that makes you happy to drink in the morning, I believe there is a big mental boost in getting to drink it. It’s not even the caffeine portion of coffee that thrills me. It’s knowing that I have it to look forward to!
I love taking time in the morning before the rest of my house is awake to sip my coffee and read. Fill my mind with truth that can’t be taken away by a bad day at the office or a rough day trying to juggle lunches and zooms and emails and babies. It is so helpful to have that quiet time by myself to get my mind and heart set before tackling the day.
GET DRESSED AND READY.
Even if you’re just walking from your bathroom to your dining room to spend the day, there is something to getting dressed. I like putting on an outfit at least one step above pajamas, doing something to tame my hair, and putting on a little makeup. You never know when you might have to run out the door to meet someone! And I once heard a successful businessman say, “If you look good, you play good. And if you play good, they pay good!” So it all goes back to looking good. Even if you just look good to yourself! Look good, play good, get paid!
HAVE A LIST.
This has been a GAME CHANGER for me. I have a little white notepad that sits on the table beside where I drink my coffee and have my quiet time. If I think of something work-related while trying to not work, I jot it down, then try to forget about it. I’ll take it into the bathroom while I’m getting ready and will continue adding to it. I believe in drawing some lines in the sand, keeping my “me” time and my work time separated when I can. It’s hard, but I see the benefit when I’m strict about this!
WORK BY A WINDOW.
I know this may not always be an option, but we all know that natural light is best. Heck, if you can work outside without drenching your keyboard, do that! Fresh air and natural light are so good!
ONE THING AT A TIME.
You know this already, but when your list to tackle is just way too long, take a deep breath and do one thing at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Eventually, the entire elephant will get eaten! You got this, sister.
For those of you who have gotten to resume complete normalcy with work and childcare, I would be lying if I said I don’t envy you. At the same time, my practice of gratitude sure has grown! I’m thankful for things I took for granted before. And I’m thankful for this interesting season because I think it’s grown our whole family in new and cool ways. What about you and yours?!