The other day, I received a notification on my iPhone that showed photos of me and one of my friends out to lunch at a restaurant in New York sitting at a high-top table. A huge smile came across my face. Thanks to my phone, I remember that was the last photo I took before the COVID-19 lockdowns began in New York. I can’t believe it has been a year already since the pandemic started. I also can’t believe I have worked from home for more than a year. This is the longest time I have ever been home.
My whole career, I have spent an average of 200 plus days traveling on the road, visiting rehab hospitals and power wheelchair clinics. I also attend Abilities Expos and give public speeches at colleges. Work has and always will be my number one priority. I’m a firm believer that you get out of this life what you give. The harder you work and the more passion you show allows you to achieve success. During the pandemic, working from home has been an interesting challenge for me.
Before, every week meant traveling to a different city and experiencing an environment change. Now, my environment doesn’t change. It’s just me, my desk and the computer screen I stare at all day. I have learned to transition. Before my meetings were in person, now my meetings are via Microsoft Teams. I ate my lunches at restaurants with clients and consumers. Now, my kitchen is my restaurant and I eat by myself. I learned a few tips that helped while working from home and I want to share them with you.
Give Yourself Time in the Morning
First, give yourself time in the morning. Every morning, I wake up at 5am. This allows me to make my tea, get dressed and brush my teeth. I check my emails before work officially starts. Giving yourself time is a great way to allow your body to become alert before your workday starts. This also allows you to prioritize emails.
Make a Schedule
In the past when I traveled, I always had a travel schedule. So, I make a schedule and stick to it. Either Sunday night or early Monday morning, I create a color-coded schedule on an Excel spreadsheet. I use sticky notes for meeting reminders. I don’t have someone with me or a colleague in the office to help remind me if there is a meeting coming up. So, I use sticky notes. Every morning before work, I look at my schedule to see my meetings for the day. I write each meeting and the time on a sticky note and place them on the edge of my computer screen to serve as visual reminders.
Make sure you take breaks. I am one of those people who starts a task and won’t stop until the task is complete. I receive between 300 to 500 emails a day. Eyestrain from looking at your computer monitor is a real thing. We are social creatures and can easily become burned out from communicating via emails and Microsoft Teams. Because I have a disability, sometimes my hands hurt from typing so much. So, I make sure I take short five-minute breaks in my schedule. Sometimes, I go get a water bottle from the kitchen or go get the mail. It’s also good to take deep breaths and stretch. I started taking three deep breaths every hour. This helps me reset. I also try to bend over and touch my toes and turn my torso from left to right if I have been at the computer for too long.
About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab® and uses an Edge® 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.
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