I sincerely hope that this update finds you all safe and well. Never, when I was writing my Winter update in December, did I ever imagine that our next member update would be written in the midst of a global pandemic.
I am so aware that these unpredictable and uncertain times are creating new and unexpected challenges in the way that we live, study, and work, and that this can be both mentally and emotionally challenging. First and foremost, I want to assure you that all our teams here at DMI are working rigorously to ensure that your programs and membership services are unaffected and that you get as much information, flexibility, and support as reasonably possible.
We’re in this with you and we get it!
It can be difficult to stay positive, as you’re removed from your routines, possibly isolated from colleagues, friends, and family, and as you try and set new structures and habits. You might, like me, find yourself working from home with your spouse and children - trying to juggling competing schedules and meetings, get through your kid’s school curriculum (if you have one), while keeping them from making an appearance in your virtual meetings. Or maybe you are house-sharing and trying to establish a whole new dynamic with your housemates and set up individual workspaces. Perhaps you’re living alone and feeling it, or living with your parents and dealing with other issues. Share with your DMI Community on how Covid-19 has been impacting you, your business or your life.
It is in these times, however, that we learn new skills, and resilience, that we learn to adapt and be innovative.
So in this Spring update, I am going to concentrate on giving you some guidance and practical tips on how to manage working from home, keep mentally strong, and to direct you to some of the assets in our library and community forum that you’ll find beneficial during this time.
Keep yourself Healthy, Happy and Productive with these 9 top tips. Don’t forget to tell us your tips and tricks for working and studying at home here.
Tip 1: Get Dressed - You’ll see plenty of tips recommending you to dress as if you are going to work. Depending on your work dress code, this actually might leave you feeling a bit out of sorts - personally, the idea of sitting suited and booted at a desk when I won’t be seeing anyone does nothing other than make me feel a bit ridiculous and uncomfortable.
The key takeaway in this tip is really about the psychology of starting the day as a workday. Keep to starting the day as close to a normal routine as possible. So, get up, shower, get your breakfast, and get dressed - don’t stay in your pajamas all-day and start the day as you usually start your workday.
Tip 2: Create Your Space - Make sure you have a dedicated space and that you have easy access to everything that you need. That includes getting the temperature and lightning right (blinding sunlight and a virtual meeting is not a great mix). Make sure your space allows you to sit comfortably at a desk space, somewhere that’s quiet and that will allow you to concentrate. You can also learn some tips on how to look your best on a video call.
Tip 3: Organize Your Time - Plan and coordinate your day. Take control and set your day up so you can manage your time effectively and be productive. Check out what meetings you have the day ahead, you may have to coordinate with those within your household: for example my spouse and I try not to have virtual meetings at the same time, so one of us can act as a parental vigilante/referee during this time. The important factors in this top tip are motivation and productivity. So set a to-do list, make sure you address the priorities and challenge yourself to tackle a handful of those little horrible tasks that you could easily kick down the road for another day.
Tip 4: Goal Setting - Yes, this tip could be included in organizing your time. However, its importance really shouldn’t be underestimated. To keep yourself in a happy headspace, make sure that the to-do lists you create are realistic and achievable. That will make it more rewarding and keep you focused.
Tip 5: Minimize distractions - The critical word here is “minimize”, in this current global situation it’s near impossible to remove or eliminate all distractions, especially as we are all online. Trying to multitask won’t be productive and will leave you feeling frustrated and agitated so when organizing your schedule do small things to make your space is calm - turn off text and email notifications and schedule in times to address/respond to these. Create a signal/sign so that your family/housemates know when you CAN and CANNOT be disturbed.
Tip 6: Take Breaks - It can be tempting when working from home to power through and keep working but regular breaks will boost your productivity and focus. Furthermore, it feeds into keeping that normal routine - if you had an 11 am coffee/tea break when working from an office, do the same at home. Physical exercise and timeouts are also good for maintaining your mental health and wellbeing so stretch your legs at lunch, try some meditation or do a workout using the many apps and videos that are available.
Tip 7: Go Digital - There is a myriad of technology apps, tools, and platforms to let you communicate with your clients, colleagues and fellow DMI members. Use video technology, where feasible, IMs, and DMs to communicate. Take full advantage - it's good to talk for business and for mental health, so make sure you're fully present.
Tip 8: Stay Connected - Get creative and make excuses to get together with your colleagues. This is so important - it reminds us that we are all working together for a common goal. It provides an opportunity to share problems and celebrate wins and completed tasks. Here at DMI, while we work from home, we’ve been using our internal platforms to share pictures of our workspaces, photos of teams coming together for online meetings. We have shared pictures of uncooperative pets invading workspaces, weekly communal online tea-breaks have been set up, as have our Friday BYOB cross-departmental signoff session. Just a handful of ways in which you can come together. If you have a tip on staying connected, why not pop over to the forum and let your fellow members know what you are doing to keep connected to your team and colleagues.
Tip 9: The Finale, Look After Yourself - Saving the most important tip for last! A happy, rested you is the key ingredient. Get those eight hours of sleep. Make sure there is a degree of separation between work life and home life - when your working day is done, close over the door to your workspace. Be mindful of the information you consume about Covid-19. Invest time in yourself - Learn, Exercise, Play, Rest, and Laugh.
I mentioned in the tips above that there are a number of apps, platforms, and tools that can help you get organized, help with productivity and host meetings/events or even help you get some physical and mental exercise.
Most, if not all, offer free and paid-for versions. I am not recommending any specific ones, but here’s a look a list of some of the most popular:
If I have missed one of your favorites, or you have an app you would recommend, please pop over to the forum and share it with your community.
We are committed to delivering content that is relevant, specific, practical, and focused on meeting your needs. There is so much noise out there, so cut through it and source all the information you need in your dedicated member library.
I’ve handpicked a selection I feel will be of benefit to you:
Our next webinar is 'Be a Presentation Powerhouse' - where we’ll be discovering how to connect with your audience, particularly important at a time when all our meetings and events are happening virtually.
Check out our events page for our list of all upcoming webinars.
Why not use this time to focus on your Personal Brand?
A few other 'library finds' that will help you in your journey to build your personal brand include:
We are always excited when members send us your own written pieces for publication in our library as part of our 'Community Insights - Member Spotlight' showcase.
It's been a tough few weeks and looks like it's going to continue. If there is anything that we can do or add to our library that will make things easier for you during this time please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the forum.
I want to thank you all for your continued trust in us. We are committed to you in both the good times, and in these challenging times, and we are here to support your educational and professional journeys.
Stay Safe, Stay Learning, Stay Happy, Stay Strong.