As an executive and business coach, I have been working at home for 20 years. You may have been working from home for a long time or you may have just started last week. Either way, I want to encourage you to experiment on how you work from home.
First, start to create a vision for how you want it to be and then conduct small experiments on how you can achieve that vision. For example, you may want to start and end the day calmly. Experiment with what kind of calm you want. Is it a walk around the yard? Sitting in the sun? Meditation? Or simply a coffee in the morning and a club soda with lemon at 5:00.
Try the experiment and figure out a way to measure it.
Did you feel more calm?
Did you feel less calm? I tried to meditate the other day and I hated it. I decided to let it go for now.
I believe we are all trying to find our feet right now in an uncertain world. There is a ton of advice right now about best practices for working at home. You may get to those sometime, but for now listen to yourself. What are the practices that work for you?
I have a friend who loves to work late at night when the kids are in bed. I do some of my best thinking at 6am. Neither is right for everyone. What are your most productive times?
Fulfillment is important in creating a sustainable work-at-home practice. Visualize the outcome or the change you would like to achieve. Start with a few experiments and see how it works with you. Ask yourself these questions after you try these things:
- What did I like about how I worked this week?
- What was challenging about working at home this week?
- What did I learn?
- What will my next experiment be?
Think about the people in your house as your collaborators. What structures can you add so you can collaborate better? In our family we have been sharing calendars with everyone’s activities for the day. We live by the calendar and try not to make a lot of changes. Are there requests you need to make of your collaborators? Are there times you need quiet? What do your collaborators need from you? Are there times they need to whoop and roar? How could you communicate better with your collaborators? What do you want to try differently? How will you frame your next experiment?
It may help to create a shared mission with your collaborators (a mission is what you want to bring to the world). Your mission might be, “keeping work and learning moving forward” or “figuring out how to be of service in a difficult world.” Or it may be that “we love each other every day.” This shared mission can help orient how things get prioritized. This mission exists whether you have voiced it or not. Saying it clearly helps everyone have skin in the game.
Daily, it may be helpful for you to form an intent about what you want to accomplish at the beginning of the day. Today, I want to make sure I connect with my boss. Today I want to make sure my kids spend an hour off their devices. This small daily attention can help to solidify the fulfillment you feel in a difficult time.
Right now, I watch people trying their best and I see them struggling and suffering too. Take a minute for yourself to ponder how you can experiment to reduce your own suffering. This is a great way to start being an experimental leader.
Note: I know many of you are trying to parent children while you are also trying working at home. This is a variable in the experiment and I know if is difficult. Be gentle with yourself as you begin the process of experimentation and start to figure things out.