Like a vast number of people out there, you may currently be trying to adapt your working practices to function out of your own home. With so many people forced into home working, the business world is having to adapt quickly and efficiently to a completely new reality. This can be stressful and overwhelming, but to keep your work or your business flourishing, you need to be able to make the best of this situation. Luckily, there are a few simple (and clever) steps you can take to maximise your productivity and even use this opportunity to instill habits and practices which could continue for years to come.
The hardest part of working from home can be keeping to the same schedule as if you were in an office or outer workspace. It’s easy to start getting up that little bit later, letting your workday bleed into the evenings and weekends, and losing sight of scheduled lunch and break times. It might seem counter-productive, but those trips to the coffee machine or the water cooler are actually very important, giving your brain little moments of relaxation that aid productivity and focus overall. Without these interactions at home, it’s easy to end up at your desk for hours, even missing lunchtime – make sure you’re standing and going for regular little walks about the house to keep yourself active and focused. You can even set alarms on your phone to remind you, if you need!
Almost everything is having to move online, which is a massive shift to deal with. However, there can be some benefits, including efficiency, speed of communication and ease of access, which it’s useful to see as benefits rather than inconveniences. Of course, if you receive physical mail at your business address, this can be a difficult thing to negotiate if you don’t have access to it. However, this might be the perfect time to investigate a physical address; a method of dealing with letters where they can be mailed to an external company and then digitally sent to you wherever you are in the world. Visit https://physicaladdress.com/ to investigate the possibilities of setting this service up, allowing yourself to work from home without worrying you might be missing important communications.
Video meetings are here, and they are here to stay. Rather than shy away from them, it’s important to embrace the potential of this technology, and become an expert as soon as possible! Being able to run an efficient video conference will be a vital skill in the coming months, and the quicker you can get to grips with all their features – including screen sharing and comments – the better.
Home Working Practices
Of course, there are also some basic home working practices it will always help to follow, aside from just keeping to a timetable and making sure to get up at a reasonable hour! It’s important to dress appropriately – comfort is necessary, but wearing pajamas will adversely affect your mental state and ability to concentrate. Setting up a dedicated workspace away from partners, kids or other distractions will also be invaluable in setting a line between your home and your work, allowing you to focus and work as efficiently as possible.
Do you have other tips that you want to share?
Feel free to message me in the comment section below!
Not doing anything at home? I’ve already shared with you that I take courses at SkillShare (just click on this link for a two month free subscription). But to also help out our kababayans and to support locally made course, I have come across this course. You may want to try Freelance Writing. This course is called Freelance Writing Side Gig FWSG): Road to Success program.
All you need to do is set aside one hour every day and learn about the freelance writing. The Freelance Writing Side Gig: Road to Success program is perfect for people who want to upskill while spending time at home during the quarantine period for Covid19.
If you are looking to be freelance writer, this course will help you check on what you already have and from there, Charlyn Awing, the creator of this course will teach you specific skills to level up and enhance your unique knowledge so that you can attract your dream clients.
Also, you will learn proven strategies on how to start a freelance writing side gig even if you are BUSY.
Discover Charlyn’s past failures and mistakes became an instrument for me to attract and get hired by my dream clients.
Get mentored also by a passionate and committed accountability partner who believes in your capability and keeps reminding you that YOU CAN while guiding you like a mom!
Charlyn Awing, the creator of this course, also mentioned that before she launched FWSG, she passionately trained 80 Beta Testers for a period of 2 weeks because she wanted to prove its effectiveness. She focused mainly on the Mindset and Focus part (which now comprises Module 1 of the full course), and here are just some of what the challengers said:
“My major problem was I didn’t know where or how to start Freelance writing. Now, there is more clarity to achieve my goal in Freelance writing. Before, I wanted to do a lot of things but this course helped me summarize and pinpoint my strengths and weakness. Overall, the time was well spent. The videos are informative and the activities help a lot by breaking down one’s strength in writing and makes you realize where you should focus on. Mother Ant’s video was engaging from start to finish. I made sure that the environment was less distracting so that I won’t miss any important advice. She’s also inspiring and encouraging especially to newbies that want to pursue a freelancing writing career.” – Dianne
“My major problem was insecurity and very little idea about freelance writing. I started researching about freelancing way back 2018 and I joined groups/network to help me get started. I kept trying until other opportunities came and I gave up freelancing. After the course, I realized that I’m actually cut to be a writer. Wow! I know now that I can be more than my experience of writing reports. More than that, I’m excited to go and start my dream. I know that along the way, I will encounter defeats, mistakes, and insecurities. But my courage will always be sourced from my humble beginning in our lesson 1. I will remember that “Mother Ant” rooted for me, and if she believed in me, why shouldn’t I? The course was personal! Like finding a jeans that fits you so well, it was almost tailored fit!” – Joanne
There are more and more people that work from home. And this is not just because government has mandated or suggested that people work from home at this time. Even before this, we had a lot of freelancers and online digital workers who work from the comfort of their own home. There are approximately 1.5 million freelancers who work online as virtual assistants, writers, tutors, etc.
So for this particular segment, not much has changed in terms of the working habits that they have.
I’ve been an advocate of professionalizing this industry and I love the Filipino freelancing community. I, too, have been freelancing (also was a full-time freelancer for a time) continuously since 2010. I just focused less on it when I decided to put up my own business back in 2013.
With this, there are a lot of tips that we can actually get from the people in this community. So feel free to follow the them by joining different freelancing groups on Facebook.
For today, I thought of giving you some things that you can try out a home. So just to give you a background of what I do, I’m currently running a SaaS tech company with my husband. I also have an events based business. I am and have been a professional blogger since 2008 and I’m also a mom to a little girl.
So fo the tips that I’ll share with you today, I personally and obviously do and follow these things. As a mompreneur, I juggle a lot of things so these may be applicable to moms and dads who are reading these, too. Some of them are even probably shared by a lot of productivity gurus, but I’ll try as much as possible to share my personal experience together with these tips.
I wake up at least an hour before my first task (in my case, it’s usually an online call for daily syncs with different departments of my business).
Lying on the bed for an additional hour or so is such great temptation, especially if you’re not used to working at home. I can’t stress the importance of following a daily routine and building a habit from that. From what I have experience personally is that if I don’t follow a routine and just go through the motions and follow how I feel on a daily basis, I feel depressed after a few days. That feeling came from thoughts like “what’s the ‘plan’ for my life?”, “why am I so unhealthy? or I feel so unhealthy!”or “How can I be so incompetent and unproductive?”. And when you’re in that state, it’s harder (at least for me) to get up and grab that rhythm again.
I track all of my tasks, online calls/meeting using Google Calendar
What I’ve noticed when you’re working from home, you easily lose track of time and easily get distracted. I have had a few times that I was late to online calls, because I was doing something with my daughter or watching a video online that suddenly caught my attention. So my tip would be to have all of these calls in an online calendar that you can track and set notifications so that it pops out on your screen.
Also, I keep different kinds of Calendars. You can go to the lower left of your screen and add your own calendar. You can even share this calendar with other people.
Eat a tech-free meals.
To be honest with you, eating for me is more of fuel to get me through the day rather than an activity by itself that I enjoy. So usually, it takes me less than 15 minutes to finish a meal. Working from home even cut this time into half. I’m done eating in under 10 minutes. My husband is the total opposite though and he loves having a good meal. He actually taught me how to enjoy eating and be present while eating.
We also made this rule at home to leave gadgets in our work / study area when we would go for a meal. I’ve noticed that having a tech free meal encourages conversation with the family, and we get to talk to each other (and I mean really talk… as compared to us “sort of” listening to each other). So this is actually one thing that I encourage you to do. Have a quiet meal time (when you live alone) or have conversations with your loved ones.
Working from home mean that you have limited space to move around (no pantry area or a workmates to go to). You should move and get blood flowing through your body. I would see a lot of IG stories of videos of people who work out, and they’re all so glamorous and nice looking. But don’t let that stop you from exercising. You don’t have to look fab, before start working out. Exercising is not just for fit people or people who would normally go to the gym. You don’t have to do burpees, 3 minute planks or 10 push ups at home.
If you’re just starting out this whole relationship with fitness, start by just stretching. A simple routine that I personally do is the following:
Crawl to plank (10 times)
Stay in Plank position (try to stay for 10 seconds than gradually increase time)
Jog in place for 1 minute or Jumping Jacks
Air squats (10 times)
Air Jabs – Front (alternate at 20 times)
Air jabs – Twist to the side (alternate at 20 times)
Cruches – 10 times
It’s important also that you encourage your kids to workout, too and to move and stay active.
Fix your files in your computer and sync it with a cloud storage facility
Most of us, including me, know where to find things even if our desktop and document folders are a mess. But I recently fixed all of my folders and had time to fix my files that are stored in Google drive, too, and I feel and I “think” I am more productive.
Having a cleaner desktop leads you to find files faster. I recently just used the Use Stacks feature of my Mac. It basically, stacks in one pile all of the same kind of files based on how you sort it. Super cool! My desktop is so clean now.
Make it a point to learn something new everyday!
What I like about reading a chapter of a book or going through 1-2 sessions of an online course is that I feel like I did something “substantial” for the day.
I take down notes every time I go through sessions or when I read a chapter of a book. I store it in an online tool also. You can also use a notebook if you like writing using a pen and paper. What I use is my Notepad that syncs to iCloud. My notes sync in all my devices, so I get to access it everywhere I go.
I hope this list helps you.
One of the people that I follow is Thomas Frank. I usually watch his YouTube videos.
If you want to check out his course on Skillshare, here is a link to a free 2 month subscription:
I highly recommend that you look for these two courses.
You can experiment on it these different things that I mentioned, combine it with what you have learned in Skillshare, and try it out. Some tips may work for some and might not work for others. The important thing is you try to find what will help you work happily from home.
Let me know if you have questions on productivity or how to be productive while working from home. I’ll be glad to reply.
P.S. Here are some other articles that you may want to read:
I joined a webinar recently to talk about COVID19, the impact that we all think it has on SMEs, professionals and freelancers. I was asked the question: What do you think the short and long term effects of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) are to SMEs.
I just wanted to share my thoughts on this so that MSMEs and start-up founders like me can reflect and plan accordingly. If you want to add to the list, please feel free to comment on the comment section below.
Short Term effects of Enhanced Community Quarantine on Businesses
These are what I personally think the short term effects of this quarantine period are:
Feel a huge impact on their Cash Flow. Most of the businesses, no matter the size, are living from paycheck to paycheck. This is where we will feel the full effect of not saving up for a rainy day (Yes, as a business, we should also have an emergency fund or plan to maintain business operations and pay our commitments).
For our personal finances, we always talk about emergency funds and having enough to sustain us when unforeseen events happen. This should also be the case for SMEs. But since not a lot of businesses have extra funds for an unforeseen event like this, businesses lack funds to pay their people, they don’t get to have enough funds for the bills that they have, etc. This will result to layoffs, penalties and interests for unpaid bills or taxes, not having enough funds to pay for offices, machines, equipments, etc. Some of these companies will then have to declare bankruptcy.
Some companies will panic because they are not ready for a “work-from-home” scenario. For the longest time, our minds have been set a certain way by policies and directives about working that have been passed on from generation to generation. We think that people are more productive when they come and stay in the office from 8-5 or 9-6. There are no policies on working remotely. No policies set on which tools to use, when to use these tool, how to best use them, etc. During quarantine, most of the business owners will scramble to set up a system that will work for them “temporarily”.
It will affect people emotionally and psychologically. This isolation will get to some people. And with the news about COVID 19 and this community quarantine, it will definitely foster low moral, scare, lack of motivation due to lack of freedom (freedom that we are so used to). For business owners, some will be depressed because of the uncertainty of their businesses, thus, possibly leading to making the wrong business decision.
Long Term effects of Enhanced Community Quarantine on Businesses
The only thing constant in this world is change. So as humans, I think that we will obviously “adapt” to whatever our environment throws at us, thrive and survive. With this, we will be gunning for the “normalization” of things. We will look for ways to bring out the new “normal”.
That being said:
Businesses will be keen on visiting policies and creating new policies for situations like these. They will probably create new policies for working at home, dealing with Pandemic like this, etc.
Most companies will see that having their Employees “Work-from-Home” is actually possible. I feel that a lot of business owners will see after a while that given this kind of environment, there are some people and job functions that can really be done from home and are even more productive this way. They will also see that there are people and jobs, too, where an office setting is more beneficial. Business owners will be more open to having a more results based environment and see the value for certain types of jobs and personalities. They’ll probably be more open to hiring independent contractors and freelancers who work well in these types of environment.
Shifts in business models of some businesses. Business owners will see that there may be a few things that they need to tweak in term of how they generate revenues. For examples, a company that used to do things mostly offline, will think of diversifying and looking at other sources of revenue.
Rise of the new creators and inventors. When unforeseen situations like this happen, they become “seen” and people get to experience a different set of challenges and pain points. Some of us go the extra mile and create solutions for the things that we experience now and for the things that we wish we had at this point in time.
What can we do to battle the negative effects and stay sane?
For Business Owners and Startup Founders: Revisit your business model. Try to look for other ways you can earn. As I mentioned, it’s time to look for new ways of earning, if you aren’t really getting any revenue.
This is also the time do some “cleanups”. Clean up processes. Find ways on how to make processes more efficient. This is the time to quickly work on things that would normally get set aside.
Take care of your people. We are all new to this. As business owners and entrepreneurs, we’ve handled a lot of challenges along the way. From overcoming these things, we’ve become stronger. Let’s step up and be leaders at this time. Make your people feel safe and secure.
For employees: Take care of yourself. Even when in lock down, try to maintain a “balance” with everything that you do. It’s hard to separate working from personal time when both are done in the same environment. Try to set boundaries for each. Take breaks while working. At the same time, strive to be more productive, too, while at home. It’s hard, but you’ll get the hang of it.
To motivate you to work from home, you can (1) go back to your company’s mission and see if you can help achieve the mission that they have. In Taxumo, our mission is really to help people compute, file and pay their taxes anytime and anywhere. We are working doubly hard now to reach more people so that they don’t have to worry about paying taxes during times like these. Our government uses these (our taxes) to fund public hospitals and other initiatives that can help our countrymen in times like these.
Another thing that you can look at to motivate you is (2) look at your own personal goals. Who are you doing this for? Going back to the reason why you’re working can help you out at this time.
Let me share with you a video that I shared with some of my employees and hopefully this will help. It talks about looking for the FLOW.
We’ll all get through this. We must get through this. I still believe in the human spirit and how we can turn situations like this into something beneficial for all of us. Let’s help one another, and probably, after all of this has died down, we’ll all be super humans.
If you are scared to take the leap into entrepreneurship, I suggest that you try out FREELANCING first. To those who don’t know, I was a content writer in ODESK (now Upwork) way back in 2010. I got a lot of foreign clients, and actually learned from my experience as a content writer. Starting this Friday, before The Freelancer Fair 2017, which will be held on Sept. 2, 2017, I will be writing a lot about freelancing, how to start freelancing, what you need to do to sustain a freelancing career, etc.
The ultimate benefit for me when I went into freelancing was really to learn more about the industry and to see if it was actually for me. I love writing, so the immediate thought for me was, why not earn from my passion? But honestly, the ultimate benefit of having a freelancing career is to be flexible enough to manage your time and to have no cap in terms of the pay that you get. If you want to earn more, you can manage yourself (your time, your resources, your rates) effectively so that you can achieve the dreams that you have.
Freelancing offers flexibility in all aspects. If you are a mom like me and you want to be there for your children, you can fix your freelancing schedule to allow that. You can earn for your family, while being able to be present during your child’s milestones. Also, freelancing can allow you to pursue your passion and to earn from them. You will be able to work whenever, wherever and even choose tasks where you can apply your skills and take on roles that interest you.
So what jobs or tasks can you actually take on? You can choose from countless jobs available online today such as teaching English to foreign students, clerical work, social media management, writing, customer service responders and more! If you want to explore the world of freelancing and the opportunities you can get to earn while staying at home with your family, here are a few jobs you may want to try out.
If you enjoy organizing schedules, emails and taking care of your client’s day-to-day tasks then this job may be the best fit for you! Virtual assistants have a fixed schedule or work at the time given by their client. You can work at the comforts of your home while having a client/boss via Skype or other messaging platform giving you instructions on what they need to be done.
Teaching English or other subjects
There are students from around the world who are looking for English tutors from different websites. There are numerous sites here in the Philippines such as RareJob or 51talk.
If you enjoy typing and are actually great at it, then you can earn from using that skill! There are clients who need transcribing in different kinds of fields such as medical or legal fields. As a transcriptionist, you can get paid per word, per line or each audio minute you transcribe. This job doesn’t require a fixed time schedule so you can choose to work anytime you want.
If you’re more on the creative side and enjoy writing then you will also be able to find different kinds of tasks from blog writing, copywriting, business writing. There will always be a need for this skill. You’ll just have to find clients at the right websites or get referrals from your own connections. You can be paid per word or per article, and usually this does not require a fixed schedule from you but would have deadlines instead.
There are a lot of other things that you can do, and a lot of tasks that people outsource. Think of any process or any tasks in a business, and i’m sure it can be something that a freelancer can do.
What are you passionate about? What are your skills, your strengths? After identifying these, which job do you think is the best fit for you? Share your thoughts with us and let us know which you think are the best freelancing jobs out there for Moms like me!