I usually love working from home, but the past couple of weeks have been a challenge. Here are three things that have helped me since the lockdown began.

  • Identify your fears, uncertainties and doubts (FUDs). Global and national anxiety is contagious. When my personal anxiety levels ramped up last week I found the following process really helpful. Make a list of all the things you are worried about, then leave the list alone for at least one day. When you are ready, look at each item on that list, and ask — is this true or is it an assumption? Then brainstorm your options for dealing with it (either in writing or talking it through, whichever works best for you). If this FUDs exercise sounds useful, you can read more about it on pages 25-55 of The Introvert Entrepreneur, which is available as both a Kindle and Kobo book.
  • Pay attention to the natural environment. The animals and plants sharing your bubble aren’t bothered by the lockdown (and you’ll be aware that the wider environment is reaping the benefits of it, on a global scale). I have been regularly checking in on what the worms in my new worm farm are doing, even though I am sure they would prefer a bit more social distance.
  • Limit your COVID-19 news updates. Instead of watching all the media briefings, get the summary the next day on the RNZ website.

Here are my top two suggestions if you are taking the opportunity to make progress on a large document such as an activity or asset management plan, but without the usual level of IT and administration support.

  • Save your document regularly. If you are worried about losing your latest changes due to a computer failure, or your internet connection to a remote desktop feels a bit dodgy, email an updated copy of the document to yourself ‘for safekeeping’ every few hours. You can easily delete these emails once these versions of the document are no longer current.
  • Take control of the heading styles.  Many of our draft LTP documents (such as asset management plans and infrastructure strategies) will be revised versions of 2018 documents, which will bring with them a legacy of heading styles. If you are struggling with the different heading and text styles in a long document, focus on figuring out which of your headings should be at level 1, 2 and 3, and just note that beside each heading title (e.g. H1, H2, H3). Then, when you have completed your draft, you can hand your document over to an administration officer to apply the styles on your behalf. (However, if you’re feeling more resilient, you can check out these instructions for applying styles.)

All the very best for April 2020. And if you start feeling more at ease with working from home (or love it already) please check out my article on ‘How to Stay Sane in LTP Season’ which has more of a productivity focus, and is particularly relevant to people working on their own.