QuaranTIPS


A weekly miniseries sharing social wisdom during a time of social distancing.

Ep. 1:
Financial Freedom in Forced Isolation


In this pilot episode, we talk with a financial expert on some personal finance tips during this time of isolation.

Is the stimulus check free money? Should I buy a new car with my Trump bucks? Should I still be tithing? Let's find out!

Ep. 2:
Healthy Habits During Hibernation


In this QuaranTIPS episode we are joined with health expert Karishma as we learn how to keep off that "Quarantine 15" by cooking and eating healthy.

We make a Southwest Salad loosely following the recipe linked below. Check it out and start creating healthier habits TODAY.

Resources:
ChooseMyPlate
Recipe We Followed
Karishma's Cooking Website

Ep. 3:
Productivity in Pajamas


Working from home is bigger than a trend, it's now a necessity. This week we talk with an expert on the topic who has been working from home since before it was cool.

We learn what it takes to change our mindset, fight off distractions, and use the tools we have at our disposal to make the most of our time at home.

For additional tips and tricks, check out our blog post here.

Ep. 4:
Workout Out Wins


Thisđź’ˇQuaranTIPS episode, we are joined by Scott. Scott's been working out longer than Andrew's been alive and shows us how to stay healthy by getting off the couch and doing some home workouts.

You'll find some easy ways to spice up pushups, squats, and situps using everyday household items. Check this out if you want to come out of quarantine being stronger than ever! đź’Ş

For daily workout videos, check out this great resource from Orange Theory Fitness.

Ep. 5:
Addiction Awareness While Alone


In this episode of đź’ˇQuaranTIPS, we sit down with Pastor Dave and talk about mental awareness, emotional health, and addiction. What does it look like to be isolated during these times and stay healthy, happy, and positive?

For more information, check out these great resources on the topic.

Ep. 6:
Learning over the Long Summer


In our final episode of đź’ˇQuaranTIPS, we close out the series talking to Jenai about some tips to engage with your kids over the summer. Let's find out what you can do to keep the learning going, without going absolutely insane!

Here's some additional resources mentioned:
Kanopy
Hoopla
Pinterest
Primary Playgound
PBS Kids

What does it mean to work from home?

Your Mindset

Take time right after you wake up to continue your morning routine. The process of getting dressed, grabbing breakfast, drinking coffee, etc. gives you the opportunity to commute to work. Don't lose your routine just because you are working from home now.

You lose productivity the second you think that you can work in the same clothes that you slept in. If you don't change your clothes, how are you going to change your mindset in order to get the tasks you need to get done when you are on the clock?

However, your work mindset isn't just related to how you choose to start your day, it's also directly tied to how you choose to work. Set up a dedicated workspace for your job. Don't just sit at the couch. Don't just prop up your laptop on your bed. Find a table, really any table, to work at. Usually, the more natural light, the better.

Some of you might have some trouble separating work-life from your personal-life. If that is the case, then set-up a second profile on your computer to login to when the time comes to start work. This extra step of separating your work from your home helps to not only get you in the mindset to start your job, but to be able to leave your job when you clock out.

We aren’t always productive 100% of the time. In fact, many studies show that in an 8 hour workday, we probably only work at an 80% or more productivity level for 4 of those hours. If you have the ability, let your coworkers know that you’re going to take a quick (~15minute) walk. Don’t push through and spend more time distracting yourself.

Above all, take care of yourself. Drink water. Stand up every so often. Walk outside. Stretch. Get away from the screen and implement downtime in order to be the best you at your desk that you can be.

Your Calendar

You don't have to be a hyper-organized person to keep to a schedule or to have a calendar. You just have to be willing to stick to the items that you place on it.

Working from home usually means flexible hours, but don't let those flexible hours dictate how you work or force you into bad habits and a flexible mindset. If you were commuting to your job, you would probably spend an extra 30 minutes to 2 hours total just driving to work. Don't let those extra hours factor into your current schedule.

If you are the kind of person who thinks that you just can't keep a schedule or hold to a calendar the way others do, then make it work. There usually are two types of people:

Those who hold to a calendar.Those who don't.
If you are the former, then schedule time for yourself. Don't eat lunch at your desk. Don't let your only breaks be the times when you force yourself to use the restroom. Let yourself breathe and pencil in times on that calendar to allow you to be in a better mindset for when you do return to work.

If you are the latter, then start by scheduling out your work-day. Start telling yourself you are going to work from 8-11am, stop for lunch, and then work from 1pm - 5pm. Something like that. Then if you start realizing you need more time for those tasks, set aside time in your calendar to do it. If you start feeling lazy and need a set time to walk around the block, then set time out of your day to do so. Get in the habit of making time for you and for the things you need to do.

If I could give you one final tip of advice, it is that not any two of us are the same in how we like to work or how we like to take breaks from work. But make sure you learn how you work and how you don't, then fit your schedule around those two things.

Your Productivity and Social Life

If you're an introvert, you might be shouting for joy at the chance of working from home and never having to talk to your coworkers ever again. Hold up. Don't be a loner. Keep in touch with your team using the tools that work provides, be it email, Slack, etc. Check in when you need to and see how others are holding up.

Don't let others or even your company and boss dictate how you communicate. Be the trendsetter.

If you're an extrovert, working from home doesn't have to be a lonely life. Ask to call coworkers who you know might be missing some chatty time. Even if you don't talk, have each other on the call as background noise while you work. Believe me, you'll feel a lot less lonely by the end of the day.

Since we've already learned how we work and set a calendar according to our personality, we need to know what we need to do that day. When we wake up, even before we send that first email, our productivity is based off of what we feel like we need to accomplish during the day.

Some of us may not have specific tasks or inboxes of things that we need to get through in a day. Some of us do. But for all of us, make a list of what needs to happen by the end of the day so that when you clock out of work, you feel accomplished.

Here's some useful resources to help you accomplish this:
GTD MindsetTodoistTrelloPost-It Notes Pen and Paper
Just keep in mind... what works best for me, your coworkers, your friend, your mom, whoever, might not work best for you. Find how you learn. Find how you communicate. Find how you work best.

Your Notifications

Distractions are everywhere. As soon as we get up we are checking our phone. Our computers have wonderful notifications built in to the operating system to better help us find the things we need to find in a timely manner. However, all of these things can be wonderful distractions during our workday. Here's some things I've done to help me eliminate those distractions.

I turn off all notifications for my computer. If it's something I need to see, odds are, I am going to see it.

I set my phone on a table behind me. While it's still in my office, I really only look at it when I get up to take a break.

If you need your phone with you, turn off the ringer, turn off vibrate, turn off notifications, and make a concious choice to look at it.

I'm incredibly blessed to have a separate room for my office. If you're like me, use the door as a way to communicate to those you live with that you are in focus mode.

If you aren't in a separate room, it's time to get creative. Wear headphones. Turn on a lamp. Put your hat on backwards. Anything that makes a concious decision to switch to focus mode and shows the ones you live with that it's probably best not to disturb you. Creating those boundaries from the beginning helps to solidify a better work-from-home mindset for all involved.

Note: While this doesn't work well with kids (for obvious reasons), check out this webinar for tips on working from home with little ones in the house.

If you absolutely can't stop yourself from checking social media, use tools to help you stay focused. Some of these tools are:
Self Control App for MacOS Cold Turkey for Windows

Your Gear and Tools

You don't need what you think you need.

Use what you have.

If you don’t have a second monitor, who cares. Learn how to use the laptop or computer that you have. Windows and MacOS machines have the ability to create virtual desktops that can act as a separate monitor. Learn how to use those to best fit your work.

Use your phone or tablet as a second monitor or just to have up your email, slack, whatever.

Learn how to use the tools that you have better. Every application, even most websites, have keyboard shortcuts to help you do the tasks that you normally do, faster. Sure it may take awhile to get used to the keyboard shortcuts or different ways of doing things. But imagine if you could learn how to do part of your task 5-10 seconds faster. That time starts to add up.

If you don't have headphones, grab a cheap pair. Use them in conjuction with the other topics we've talked about in order to shift your mindset into focus mode.

Now if this is something that is going to be long-term for you, then you can start thinking about upgrading things in your office to better help you work and be productive throughout the day. These things aren't needed, but they do help. If this is the case, here's what I would suggest you focus on saving up for or asking work to help you cover costs if your home becomes your full-time office:

Office chair (You do sit for the majority of the day).A separate mouse and keyboard.A second monitor.
Wirecutter has some fantastic articles if you're looking to upgrade your home office piece by piece.

Wrap-Up and Resources

Working from home is starting to become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. We can't always have a distraction-free environment. We can't always be productive. But we can learn how to work within the guidelines and boundaries placed before us.

Stop dreaming about what it would be like if you didn't have kids, or if you had 2 more hours in the day, or if you had a separate room, or if you could catch up on that new episode of Tiger King in between calls, and start shaping your mindset to be as productive as you can be.

For additional resources, check out this wonderful collection by the pioneer of the industry, Basecamp.