As we enter another lockdown in the UK, it’s clear that remote working will truly be the new normal. I’ve been thinking and collating some remote working mental philosophies that have helped me adapt to working from home.
Working too long without breaks? Find yourself multi-tasking during meetings? Feel out of touch with your colleagues? Remote working provides a great opportunity for us to understand our true motivations, regain control of our schedules and reflect on how we spend our time.
Here are 9 Mental Philosophies for Remote Working that will hopefully help you reflect on how you can make remote working work for you, your mental health and work-life balance.
TL;DR — be kind to yourself, these are far from usual times! 💛💛
1. Adopt the ‘Slow’ Philosophy
You might have heard of slow food and slow fashion already. The Slow Philosophy is the idea that actually life is long and despite all the hecticness of 2020 and the speed of the 21st Century, we can take our time. Stop chasing these arbitrary milestones and instead recognise that everything doesn’t need to have an imminent deadline.
Reflection question: What deadlines am I imposing on myself that are arbitrary and stress-inducing?
2. Create Psychological safety
Made famous by Brené Brown and Google’s Project Aristotle. I truly love the concept of psychological safety. This is the idea behind how we can create environments that reward vulnerability, where it is received positively to share how you honestly feel. Simple ways to do this include — truly being present in meetings, not setting a time limit on small talk to understand how everyone is, sharing your personal challenges and embracing a culture of failure.
Reflection question: How can I create virtual spaces where vulnerability is rewarded?
3. Remember the Power of Play
‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. How do we go from full days of play in nursery to none at all in the workplace?!!! Something isn’t quite right about how we do not see value in play. The Power of Play is based on research that play massively helps in terms of stress relief, creativity, happiness and loads more.
Reflection question: When was the last time I let my imagination take the lead by allowing my mind to wonder?
4. Avoid Rugged Individualism
Rugged individualism is the idea that an individual is totally self-reliant and independent from anyone else. Remote working is deceptive as it can start to make us feel like rugged individualists that we don’t actually work in teams or have others who can support us. Instead, we need to actively remember that now more than ever we should be leaning on others for support/advice. When we work physically together we do this way more than we realise. ‘How do I…? or What do you think of…?’
Can you make the conscious decision to still link in with colleagues for advice and guidance? Just because you have to type the words instead of lean over to say them, doesn’t mean the conversation isn’t worth having.
Working from home is also a great opportunity to get comfortable with communicating your workload, capacity and the support you need from others.
Reflection question: How can I become more comfortable voicing the support I need from others and showcasing that I am also willing to support them?
5. Protect your time
‘Either you run the day or the day runs you.’ — Jim Rohn
Do you feel like your days run you recently? Like you just don’t have a grip on your schedule? Remote working is a great time to set and follow through with those non-negotiables. Utilise calendar blocking to get into the practice of protecting your time. Remember that breaks and check-ins with work friends are healthy and are just as important as team meetings.
Reflection question: How effectively am I protecting my time?
6. Pursue a Growth Mindset
I’ve mentioned having a Growth Mindset in another workplace philosophies blog I wrote here but couldn’t go without mentioning it again. Pursuing a Growth Mindset whilst working from home is remembering quite simply that you will get through this and you can adapt or learn anything along the way.
Reflection question: In which aspects of my work and life can I accept I am in a journey of growth and discovery?
7. Eat the Frog First
The author Mark Twain is quoted to have said ‘Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.’ And hence the phrase ‘Eat the Frog First’ was born. This is the idea you should approach your day by tackling the most challenging and valuable task first, ideally in the morning to stop avoiding it.
Reflection question: Am I consistently putting off important but not urgent tasks to pick up smaller less important ones?
8. Consume Positivity
Whether it’s motivational quotes on Instagram or Twitter or some positive words from your mum, consuming positivity is vital for this remote working scenario we find ourselves in. Some days the internal motivation just won’t be there and we need that extra boost. Be mindful about what you read, do or who you talk to.
Reflection question: How can I surround myself with more positive content in a world where fear, anxiety and pressure sell?
9. Practice Gratitude
What was your biggest achievement in June this year? It’s likely you have already forgotten. A big part of remote working is celebrating and recording your (personal and) professional wins. We often forget to acknowledge our wins and before we know it the year has ended and it’s time to set new years resolutions again.
The more you become accustomed to documenting, reflecting and sharing your wins the more likely you are to persevere and keep up the positive work.
Reflection question: How can I embed a practice of daily and weekly gratitude into my routine?
I really hope this has helped you. Take care and have a great week!
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