Tag Archives: health

Are you Introverted? Here are some tips to help if you Telecommute

One of the challenges of telecommuting is being isolated—lack of human interactions. To ensure you stay connected and have face-to-face interaction you have to be diligent about it. As an introvert, this can be very hard. Here are a few tips I use to stay connected:

Your current circle: When I moved to a new city I thought I needed to have the same level of connections and interaction as I had in the past. I continued looking in vain. Eventually, I realized the best option was to connect with the friends I already had in addition to seeking new ones. I was amazed at the satisfaction I felt even with a text or a phone conversation.

Intentional: It is hard to have small talks as an introvert so try joining a book club or volunteer to help with the school or after school activity where you are not interacting with as many people but still staying connected and adding value to the community.

Nature: As an introvert for me the best connection has been nature. I used to stay in my office all day focused on work, and I would be exhausted by the end of the day. I realized that I needed to get out either for a walk, a run or just to write. Now I take my laptop and head to the park. I enjoy the sounds of nature take a walk and work. The park is my version of a coffee shop.

Conversations: It is hard, but I find a few moms that I can connect with and who have the same priorities. I set up a walk or a lunch date. It helps me stay abreast of the activities happening in the area and talk about non-work related items. I plan these on my calendar for once every few months.

Shopping: Sometimes for an introvert to get the human interaction being around people is enough—at least for me. Once in a while I will go shopping—walk around, smile at a stranger or talk to the cashier. Just go to a store and learn. Finding new items sparks solutions for me that I need to find.

Work with your personality and preferences—do what works for you. If you have any tips, please share: info@telecommuterstalk.com

How to Manage the Chaos of Change

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”
— James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
Flight of the Buffalo (1994)

With reorganization, there is a lot of uncertainty—here are a few ways to manage it. These tips are useful for any changes in your life:

Meditate: There is enough research on the benefits of meditation. For most working parents, the challenge is finding the time to do it. Even a five-minute meditation will have a positive impact on you. Try and find a time that works for you—any time during the day works.

Exercise: Exercise is as important as meditation. Find the time to fit some cardio, strength training, and yoga into your schedule. Here’s my article on How to Fit in Exercise While You Work Remotely.

Plan your days: Set aside the first 30 to 40 minutes of each day to plan your day. I have used this strategy for a while, but with the changes and everything being a priority at the same time, it has become even more important. I pick the top three items I need to complete on a particular day, both professionally and personally.

Take breaks: Breaks build resilience. After exercising, you need rest; the same is true with work. After some focused work, you need to take a break—even if it is only for ten minutes. As telecommuters, this is harder, but add it to your calendar and stick with it.

Sleep: Stress has a direct impact on sleep. Ensure you are getting enough rest to be productive during the day. If you are having sleep challenges try these poses to help you sleep better.

Be flexible: You need a plan to continue forward, but you also need to be flexible to accommodate the changes. Your priorities can change based on the demands of your project or management needs. Account for that in your schedule. One option is to keep your Friday afternoons open, and use that time to catch up or address any urgent request that has come up.

Ask questions: Sometimes, the deadlines imposed on you may be due to someone else’s work style instead of a true urgency. Identify team members who have a tendency to set unrealistic timelines and ask questions. Ask for a specific due date and notice due to other priorities.

What tips have worked for you? Please share at: info@telecommuterstalk.com

Be a Mindful Telecommuter This Year

The definition of mindfulness: 1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; for example, 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

We need to be mindful in every aspect of our lives. Based on research done by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, mindfulness is good for our overall health. When working remotely, it is easy to get distracted by personal phone calls or the laundry, etc. To overcome such interruptions, here are some suggestions for being as mindful as you can be:

Focus on one thing at a time: When you are on a teleconference, just be on the call. Do not check e-mail or surf the web simultaneously. Staying focused is hard, but if you step away, you don’t have anything to distract you. Have a designated area or a chair where you can go while you are on the call. Close your eyes, if it helps you to stay focused.

Plan your day: Don’t jump right into e-mails or social media. Instead, take at least 20-30 minutes to plan your day and set your priorities. Pick 2-3 big items you need to address that day, and add them to your calendar. I have this time for planning set on my calendar every day, and it works well for me.

Use your calendar: If you need to work on a presentation or document, put it on your calendar so that your teammates and manager know that you are busy and will not respond to e-mails right away. Close your e-mail and chat applications while you work on the document. I usually create a better document when I spend dedicated time on a task.

Take breaks: I’m still working on this one myself! Either set up an appointment on your calendar or an alarm on your phone for a break, and take it when the time arrives. Take it for you, and not to start laundry or clean. Do what relaxes you—read a book in 15 minutes, enjoy an article, go for a short walk, or call a friend for 10 minutes.

Breathe: Do this especially if you are working on a timeline or dealing with a difficult co-worker. Put things in perspective and move on. I know this is easier said than done, but practice makes perfect. Breathing does reduce stress and helps you calm down. Here is a one-minute exercise that can help.

Exercise: This used to be last on my list, but now it is one of the first things I do. It gets me going, and this jump-start helps me to keep moving and working for the rest of the day. Direct sunlight and fresh air are invigorating, and you will carry that energy with you all day.

Shutdown: This includes your computers, cell phones, and any similar devices after your work hours. I have my work phone set to turn off at 6 pm. Unplugging helps me stay focused on after-work activities and obligations.

A great resource I use to stay mindful is https://www.mindful.org.
A great article about ways to be mindful from Happify

Do you have any recommendations for books or websites on mindfulness?

How to Eat Healthy as a Telecommuter this New Year

My vision of working remote was that life was going to be perfect. I was going to get enough rest, exercise, eat healthily, and live happily ever after!

I was wrong.

We need to make a healthy diet a priority this New Year. There is enough research to support this statement, but this NeuroGenesis TED Talk by Sandrine Thuret hit home for me.

Here are some tips that have worked for me:

Pack your lunch: Pack a lunch after you eat breakfast, just like you would if you were going to work. If you are packing lunch for your family, just make one more lunch bag. When it is time for lunch, all you need to do is grab your healthy lunch and enjoy it—no need to worry about making it.

Enjoy your food: Yes, it seems odd to sit by yourself and eat quietly, and it will take time to adjust, but being mindful while eating is very helpful. Sit at the table and enjoy your meal—no technology, no distractions. After listening to the TED Talk, I think it would also be wise to add some dense foods that you can bite into and chew.

Buy smart: If you don’t buy junk food, you can’t eat junk food. Experiment with this and see if it works for you. I like the 100daysofrealfood blog about keeping processed food out and packing healthy lunches. I’ve used Lisa’s ideas with good results.

Plan your meals: I need to keep working on this, but I have friends who spend Sunday afternoons planning the coming week’s worth of meals, and it works perfectly for them. Lisa’s blog, mentioned above, also has meal planners that you can use; otherwise, you can use one of these apps. The advantage of using an app is that you can work on your meal plan while you are waiting at your kids’ practices or other activities.

Keep it on the table: Keep healthy fruits outside and visible, so when you have a minute, you can grab something healthy. When the kids come home, they can also go for the healthy option first (or so we hope)!

Set a time: Have lunch around the same time every day to ensure you maintain your sugar levels. Put it on your calendar, just like any other meeting. Eating at a set time is especially hard if you are in a different time zone and will require commitment.

I hope these tips help you, and please share any ideas you have used successfully: info@telecommuterstalk.com

 

How to Fit in Exercise While You Work Remotely

Exercise is the first thing I give up when I get busy, even though I know that it should be the last thing I should give up when I am stressed.

Here are some tips I am trying to implement to ensure I get the exercise I need:

Put it on your calendar: I had heard this suggestion many times, so I put it on my calendar, but I just continued to pass on it. So, I started using Google Goals, which helps me take the first step and get up! Once I am up, I walk away to take a break or take a walk.

Brainstorm: See what works with your schedule and your family’s schedule. I like to exercise in the mornings, but that is also the busiest time at work, so I found another option: during the kids’ afterschool activities. This schedule has another benefit—the “mom guilt” is less, because I am not taking away my time with them. Instead, I’m doing my thing while they are doing their thing!

Fit it in: Whenever you can. Do a 7-minute workout during your break or walk while the kids are at practice. They practice, and I walk. I walk with other moms, which gives me a chance to have some human interactions. Connecting face-to-face is critical as a remoter.

Use the weekends: Weekends can be just as busy as the weekdays, but there are pockets of time when I know I can fit in some exercise or meditation. Try diligently to stick with that.

Go for a hike: Make this a family activity. It will teach the kids the value of both exercise and nature. HikeItBaby is a great resource for finding hikes in your area.

I hope these tips help you, too. If you have additional suggestions, please share.