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Career, Life, Tips,

Work from Home, Remote Learning… Whatever You Call It, Spring 2020 PR Campaigns Has the Tips

To start this bizarro-world term, I had students in my Spring 2020 PR Campaigns class spend some time thinking about how to set themselves up for success. Like it or not, working from home is going to be our new normal… even when things get back to normal.

I shared a handful of resources & then asked each student to find another that they found helpful to add to the list.

First, I’ll share my list. I wanted to both find practical tips, but also help them see that this term is a great time to build some skills in working from home… and honestly, that’s it’s not a fad. Much of the work we do in PR and comms is either already done remotely or easily could be.

Now for my students’ finds (and their comments about why they’ve shared a particular article or resource). You could consider this a master list of tips and ideas, to be sure! Also: Forbes in killing it in either good advice or good SEO… probably a bit of both.

10 Quick Tips To Create A Home Office You’ll Actually Want To Work In (Fast Company)

  • I’m sharing this article about how to make an at-home office space because I think it’s important to have a workspace that minimizes distractions and gives you a space to feel the most productive. – Suzie G.
  • I’m sharing this article about how to create an at-home working space that is separate from your living space and will allow you to be productive. – Hannah M. 

A Simple Trick for Staying Focused While Working From Home (Mental Floss)

  • This article stuck out to me because it addresses the overwhelming amount of distractions (social media, roommates, Netflix, etc). The author suggests that the most important tip for staying focused while working from home is to create a contract with yourself, which I think could be very beneficial. – Hannah C.

How To Stay Productive Under Quarantine (Forbes)

  • I enjoyed this article because I really liked what was said about mental and emotional health. This is obviously a time that is making everyone a little more on edge, so I think it’s important to practice self-care and do what’s best for yourself to stay happy and healthy. – Elise H.

How To Work From Home (Life Kit from NPR)

  • I want to share this article because it mentions the importance of technology in a tough time. It is the most effective way to keep communication with the outside world. Since most physical stores(including telecoms) are closing now, we need to repeatedly check our internets and other devices to ensure they are working in order. – Andy P.
  • I’m sharing this article because it ties in similar strategies like the ones above, such as being able to claim your own space and set your boundaries with those you might be quarantined with. – Savannah K.
  • This NPR article gives you 8 really good and concise tips on how to work from home and I found it really helpful! – Cole K

Josie Ruff 

Working from home with spouse: 7 tips to make it work (CNN)

  • This article is about how to work from home with a spouse, but a lot of the tips can work for family members, roommates or significant others who many of us may be quarantined with. We may usually be excited about the prospect of getting a day with them, but months on end can strain any relationships so setting up some rules may be really helpful. – Josie R.

5 Ways to Manage Stress During the Coronavirus Outbreak (Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic)

  • This article offers five clear, simple ways to manage personal stress during this pandemic. I appreciate these suggestions because stress management is a key to success; I  am  more productive when I’m not stressed out, so finding ways to keep ourselves calm and collected will be helpful throughout this term. – Jodi A.

9 Tips For People Taking Online Classes (Forbes)

  • The article offers helpful tips for students to adapt to remote education, some of which I had not even thought about myself such as the advice for optimizing my internet. – Lorenzo C.

3 Productivity Tips From Work-From-Home Veterans (Forbes)

  • I’m sharing this link because it’s very authentic. A lot of people are writing about this topic and giving their opinions given society’s new way of life, but the employees referred to in this article have done it for years and offer good advice. – Regan H.

7 Tips for Working Remotely During the COVID-19 Crisis (Dice)

  • I found this article entitled 7 Tips For Working Remotely During Covid-19. I am going to share this because I am going to write these 7 steps in my planner notes to remind me that remote work is achievable and I can be successful during this time if I create a set schedule for myself. – Caitlin E. 

Easy Recipes to Cook During Your Coronavirus Self-Quarantine – The New York Times  

  • These are not the healthiest recipes (there’s a lot of baking!) but they use a lot of items that can be easily found in a pantry. – Sara E.

5 Tips To Balance Remote Working While Your Family Is Also At Home (Forbes)

  • Trying to work from home while balancing family priorities is a new challenge. I liked this article from Forbes sharing how to balance different relationships at home while still making time to get your work done. – Kelsey F. 

Coronavirus: How to work from home, the right way (BBC Worklife)

  • I thought this article was really interesting.  It helped me think of ways to stay productive and positive while at home! – Emma S. 

The Ultimate Working From Home Guide (Investopedia)

  • I like this article because it covers all of the aspects of working from home and how to execute them successfully. – Ashley H.  

Work From Home Tips for the Coronavirus Quarantine (Staffbase Blog)

  • I really liked this article because it is very applicable to this class and how we can be successful in our teams! It talks about staying connected to your co workers,  having clear communication, outlining expectations etc. – Maddy F. 

Coronavirus: Mental Health Coping Strategies (NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness)

  • I think assessing one’s mental health is already necessary, but even more so with coronavirus. A little unrelated to resources for at-home productivity, but definitely essential for getting through your day and staying healthy in the long run. – Alexa M. 

People are sharing their best advice for working from home (Cosmo)

  • I liked this Cosmo article because it provided people’s actual experiences from their “home offices”, so you get real feedback about what works and what might be helpful to you too. – Gracyn E.
Extinguished Candle On Dark
Life, Professional Advice, Tips,

Reigniting the Fire When You’re Burned Out

By July 16, I was a puddle. After a very busy spring term, a move to a new home after five years in our previous abode, travel to Chicago for a week with five PR students, teaching summer classes and lots of client projects, July 16 was the final day of my first summer workshop. Even though it was just a blimp, a (very) small milestone, it felt like a much needed end. After I left campus, I barely got off the couch for two days.

I realized as I shook off some of the fog of that crazy busy season was I was totally and completely burned out. I didn’t want to teach, I couldn’t get excited about client work and everything I was supposed to do felt like a giant drag. I wasn’t sleeping well at night, but wanted to sleep all day. My normal productivity is pretty high, but man, it was hard to get anything done. I spun my wheels. A lot. It’s taken me most of the summer to feel like I’m even remotely back on track.

It’s helped to set some boundaries (“I’m not going to be on campus this week, we’ll have to meet next week.”) and enjoy my time with my family. I’ve been reading a lot of advice from others on dealing with this state of mind and here are some of my favorite tips:

Do Only Three Things. I love this idea from an Entrepreneur article with a handful of “lesser known” tips. A big to do list can be totally overwhelming and when productivity is nil, it is impossible for me to get going. But committing to doing just three things a day for the next two weeks feels good. And a little momentum can go a long way. (I also like the “watch cartoons” advice in this article… I love cartoons.)

Create Outlets. Zen Habits suggests finding an outlet – maybe a side project or a hobby that can clear your mind. For me, it’s horses. I’ve also recently gotten involved with Stella & Dot as something completely different than everything else for me to focus on when I need a break. Sometimes “totally different” is a good thing.

Be Assertive. A PsychCentral post says to say “no” and don’t feel obligated to offer an excuse. Oh man, I’m bad at this one. But I’m working on it. I am saying “no” more often, but I totally try to explain myself. I was talked to our director of student advising just today and she was giving me a total out on speaking at an event and I still offered an explanation.

So I’m headed into the new academic year not feeling very motivated and inspired, but at the end of the day, I love my job and that matters a lot.

How about you? Ever felt burned out? How did you cope?

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