5 proven tips on how you can focus, keep your sanity, and perform at a high level during these unprecedented times.
With the unfortunate events surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans and billions around the globe are having to adjust to new norms such as social distancing and the importance of consistently washing our hands throughout the day for 20 seconds. One new norm that millions of us across industries and roles from schoolteachers to sales professionals are trying to adjust to for the first time is figuring out how to effectively work from home.
While this new norm might feel like a break for some it can also be very challenging at the same time for those not used to it. Having spent the past 12+ years in Enterprise SaaS (Software as a Service) Sales, I have spent the majority of that time working from home. The following tips and best practices have helped me throughout the years. They might not be for everyone, however they can be a starting point for some trying to navigate these changes for the first time.
For me, this one comes easy - going back to my days of delivering the Schenectady Gazette newspaper as a kid for almost 10 years. This job, more than anything, taught me how to have a routine as I was forced to wake up by 5:30am every day. That was the case no matter the weather, no matter the holiday. In sales and working from home, having a routine is critical.
Nowadays, I start my days waking up by 5:00am, going to the gym, which has now turned into my basement and leveraging apps like the 7-minute workout, running on the treadmill, etc. To me, it’s also important to always, always shower and try to dress the part as you feel more awake, clean, and ready to get the day started. Follow that with a nice family breakfast, oatmeal, fruit, and my first cup of coffee.
Professional athletes don’t just show up for a game and expect to perform at a high level. They prepare, plan, and practice. The same should go for you no matter the profession you are in. Staying organized and focused is vital to achieve your goals. For me, my day is already planned from the night before. I also set up calendar blocks throughout every day for specific tasks such as social media, research, key opportunities, cold prospecting, prepping for meetings, meetings, etc.
LinkedIn is a great resource as well to follow thought leaders in your profession and do additional training. At Worklete, we leverage John Barrows for Sales Training (this is our highlight film that we use to study and practice). I’ve also leveraged Sandler Sales Training over the years which also has great online resources for sales professionals.
Over the years, tools like Google Talk, Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting have been the most ideal ways to stay connected in a remote work world. While most of those tools are still relevant and useful, at Worklete we leverage efficient and easy-to-use programs such as the G Suite for productivity and collaboration, Slack for instant messaging and sharing, and Zoom for internal and external video meetings. Along with those tools, it’s important to keep the line of communication open with colleagues and be on texting terms with those close to you whether it be through group text, and not being afraid to pick up the phone to call someone (co-workers, boss, etc.) with a question.
This 5-part video series will help you avoid pain and injury while working from home.
As I mentioned in the first tip, I start my mornings with some cardio and a light workout to get the day going. While I love my coffee, I also make it a point to drink as much water as possible throughout the day. Being home we all know how easy it is to grab a snack, some cookies, pastries, Doritos, or even fast food for lunch.
While these temptations can be a tough obstacle to avoid, especially for me since my wife is an amazing cook and baker, it’s important to stick to a good routine even when it comes to eating. Lastly, make sure you make time for you, and your family. Create dedicated times for lunch or even a break to take a quick walk, walk your dog, reset your mind, etc. For me that dedicated break time is spent being my kids P.E. Teacher while they’re home from school.
I can’t stress the importance of having a dedicated space for work to eliminate as many distractions as possible. For some people it might be an office, for others it could be the basement, spare bedroom, or some spot in the house where you can create your own ideal space. Definitely not your bed.
I utilize a spare bedroom that I’ve turned into a makeshift office. The door is usually shut with fan and soft music going as it can be loud at times with my 5 and 9-year-old downstairs running wild. A couple years ago I pulled the trigger on a relatively inexpensive standing desk which has been a game changer for me. I like to stand during calls and meetings and will usually sit when doing tasks or salesforce hygiene.
At Worklete, we focus on helping hard-working folks in physically demanding jobs across retail, grocery, transportation, logistics, warehousing and other industries prevent injuries at scale by teaching proper human movement. This also applies to how we take care of our bodies as we work from home. We now need to figure out where we are going to sit, do our work from all day long. This is extremely important, and it starts with your chair, your desk, your monitor(s) and how you position yourself throughout the day to avoid aches, pains, and straining your body.