I have been working remotely for over 15 years. Going from a physical office to a home office was not an easy transition but I had time on my side to learn. So, I would love to share these five nuggets that have been life savers for me.
Before we dive in, please allow yourself to lean-in into discomfort. You will not have all the answers when you start but, I promise you it will get better through discipline, mindset, emotional intelligence, agility and integration aka, the five nuggets.
This may look different for everyone but, building a routine is essential. Show up fully every working day which means, getting up early to exercise, shower, dress up, prepare breakfast and hit “your office” at a scheduled time. Your office could be the room next door, or the dining room table so have it ready for your arrival. The key is to have your workspace prepared and ready to go so you can be productive, feel creative, innovative and present. For those with school age children to include your college kids, know that they learn what they see, so if you show up fully, they will too. We are holistic by nature and like to feel connected, so please include in your schedule time to “virtually connect” with others. Schedule a time for lunch, breaks in between and, erase the word “balancing” from you vocabulary as it is about integrating the things that matter the most to you. Establishing a daily structure and finding the intrinsic power to stick to it will ensure you are practicing the discipline necessary to get things done and maximize the productive you.
How you show up to certain situations will have a great impact on the outcome. Are you the type that sees the glass half full or half empty? Or are you the type that chooses how your story is written. There is a lot of external factors going on right now, some of which you have no control over. However, there are multiple things that you have influence over or full control that includes your attitude, gratitude, purpose, positive engagement and intentional focus. We can choose to learn, we can choose to quiet the doubt, we can choose to calm that internal monologue and change the cants into the cans. All this sums up to having and engaging in a growth mindset. It matters to our success as it allow us to explore, learn, and refine our overall abilities so we can guide our decisions and contributions to the results you want to create and the ending to the story you want to write.
Remember this word, self-control. We are all made up of emotions, so it is important that we keep composure, self-awareness and self-control, especially during times of uncertainty. There are things or situations that may be out of your control, but what is in your control is how you react to it. Your reactions send signals to those around you, so the question is, what kind of signals do you want to send or be known for? As you react to a situation do you want to be known for your maturity, preparedness, self-assurance, courageousness, positivity, measured behavior, accountability? Pause and reflect about this as the power lies on your self-awareness. Lastly, be intentional on your responses and how you show up. Don’t let your emotions get in the way, remember you can control how you show up.
Repeat after me, Pivots are Powerful. Engaging with a growth mindset allows for one to pivot or change their direction as setbacks and obstacles are a given when we are trying to adapt and accomplish something new. The constant in any journey is that setbacks will occur, and it is better to embrace it sooner than later. This is where self-compassion, reflection, learning, ideation, clarity and a move forward plan comes into play. Agile leaders are good learners, these learned tools give you the ability to negotiate with yourself, learn from the situation so you can pivot to a plan B. It also gives you the permission to define what success looks like for you, and it may come in winning small battles throughout the day. Also, be kind to yourself by not beating yourself up if dinner was not ready at exactly 6 or if technology failed this morning or if you forgot to let your dog outside. Allow yourself to incorporate setbacks into your daily routine as you will be able to pivot faster one situation at a time. “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure” John Maxwell
Don’t Balance, Integrate!
Searching of a perfect balance is exhausting and unrealistic. Since we were little, we have been conditioned to strive for perfection in not only how we look but what we do and how we do it. My personal opinion is that the word balance is limiting as searching for balance is like searching for perfection. I’d rather include the word integration in my daily routine and vocabulary because I know my day will likely not go as planned. And that, is ok because I have the ability to define what success looks like to me. I know families are feeling stressed right now with kids in the house, meetings to log into, projects to complete and the never-ending “to do list” resetting itself. So, hit pause give your-self space for clarity. Run downstairs and put a load of laundry in, chop the lettuce for tonight’s salad, take the dog for a quick walk and finish up the project after the kids are in bed, modifications to your to do list are ok. The secret is to integrate all those curveballs into your plan. Remember, “no one is perfect, that is why pencils have erasers.”
I hope these five nuggets ease up some of the tension you may be feeling right now. Give yourself permission to feel, reflect and show up.