If you’re like me, you’ve been suddenly thrown into working from home. Last week, my days were spent learning how to set up online live video conferencing and checking in with my students who found themselves learning at home on the drop of a dime.
I don’t know about you, but half my time was spent in crisis mode trying to do what I could with what I knew while the other half was spent spinning in circles not entirely sure what to do next.
Monday is ready to roll in again, and now that the initial shock is over I’m feeling more prepared to tackle this new phase of working from home. I learned some things this week that I think will be helpful to all of us who are unused to having remote offices and classrooms.
Here are 3 things we can do to help keep our focus while working from home:
#1 Get dressed
When my boss notified us that we would have our staff meeting in a live video platform connecting from wherever we happened to be sheltering in place, she sent a list of norms for this new type of meeting.
One of them was that we would need to make sure we are dressed as if we were showing up to work. The next day, it was super weird to get dressed for work knowing I wouldn’t leave the house. But I was really glad I did because something about putting on work clothes really got me in gear. Honestly, I think it helped me with my productivity. I’ve noticed that if I’m in my cozy clothes, I’m not feeling as professional. Such a strange mental phenomenon, but there you have it.
#2 Use your calendar
Not long into the week, I noticed I kept forgetting what day it was since I wasn’t leaving the house much. Since I didn’t have my normal classroom routine going on, I originally thought my lesson plan book would now be useless. But then I realized I would be able to chunk my list of things to do more effectively in the blocks of time that my lesson plan book (which is a calendar with lots and lots of space for each day) provided. Rather than a big long unprioritized “To Do” list (or several of them strewn out on Post It notes here and there), I realized I could work more efficiently if I put all these new tasks in one place in a daily agenda. I don’t know about you, but I like the good old fashioned paper calendar/lesson plan book rather than digital.
#3 Take a walk
At work, I’m used to a lot a walking. Teachers stand a lot in the classroom. We walk to get the kids from recess, to the library, to lunch, pick them up from recess again, move around outdoors for P.E., and walk them up to the front of the school at dismissal. Not to mention all the before and after school errands on campus that are necessary, like going to the staff lounge to make copies, drop things off at the front office, or visit a colleague’s classroom to collaborate. Working at home, there are no school bells to remind you it’s time to transition, so I noticed that at home it’s easy to forget to go outside and get some fresh air. So I’m going to set alarms for a few walk breaks to, well, break up the day. It’s a good thing to do all around. Get out and enjoy the sunshine…and if bad weather keeps you indoors go to Plan B—->turn up the tunes and dance!!!
I hope these suggestions help you get through the next week of your shelter in place. The world still needs us, friend, so chin up and have a great Monday!