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Remote Control: 10 ways to stay sane working from home during Corona Virus lockdown

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The world has descended into chaos and this can’t be news to anyone who hasn’t been silently meditating in a Californian desert for the last fortnight (Jared Leto truly is the gift that keeps on giving). 

The creative industries are made of sterner stuff

COVID-19 is currently in the process of decimating our global economy, our health and many industries - particularly the artistic and hospitality trades. The creative industries, however, are made of sterner stuff. At least for now. This is primarily because the flexibility of the sector, not to mention the power of modern technology, means that it’s more feasible than ever before to work from home.

I’ve been working from home myself now for the last decade, so I feel I’m quite well qualified to guide those who might have recently found themselves on lockdown away from the office through the unique challenges presented by remote working.

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I’ll be expanding on the concept in the coming weeks, but for now, I thought I’d kick off this series with a list of 10 things you could be doing today (right this second) to stave off the inevitable boredom and frustration that comes with not being able to leave the house. And no, there won’t be any jokes about pornography.

1. Make a plan and stick to it

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After around a month of working from home, I realised that it’s far easier to ‘drift off’ if you don’t have a solid weekly plan in place. I settled into a routine of mapping out the week ahead every Sunday night long ago and suggest you do the same. You’d be amazed by how incentivising it can be. 

2. Be a professional

On a similar note, it’s important to carry an air of professionalism whilst working from home. During my first year, I had a “Pyjama Wednesdays” policy that flew right out of the window when I realised how much more likely my attention was to drift whilst dressed for bed. It also made Skype calls all the more awkward. Cultivate an office environment that feels more like work than home.

3. Clean up your profiles

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Take this time off to give your profiles a little spring clean

Keeping on top of your various social media profiles can be a chore, particularly given how the many slight differences of LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram mean you can’t simply copy and paste information from one to the next. Take this time off to give your profiles a little spring clean, paying particular attention to your Creativepool profile, of course, which is a powerful tool for gathering commissions for remote workers.

4. Reach out

You will not be the only one on lockdown. Indeed, it’s likely that half the country (the world even) will be quarantined before long (and that’s a conservative estimate). So why not take advantage of this and use it as an excuse to reach out and make some new contacts? Creativepool is the perfect place to start as there are literally thousands of creative individuals, agencies and brand ready and waiting for your message.

5. Set boundaries

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My girlfriend is a teacher and one the occasions where she’s off work during the school holidays, the home can become something of a battleground. If you live with other people who are also working from home, set defined boundaries. Give yourself a room that is your office space and do as much work as possible from that office space. Believe me, I’ve tried working from the living room, the kitchen and even the garden and it simply doesn’t work. It’s also important to separate your work from your personal life, of course, and if you have kids home from school I imagine this tip will be even more important! 

6. Stay healthy

It’s easy to lapse into bad habits when you don’t have anyone to answer to

Take it from someone who put on about 2 stone after his first year of working from home - it’s easy to lapse into bad habits when you don’t have anyone to answer to. So, whilst that 5 pm glass of merlot might seem tempting and there are indeed going to be slim pickings when it comes to available food, try not to give in to your worst instincts. Gyms will most likely be going into lockdown in the coming days but don’t let that hold you back. There are plenty of exercises you can do from home, after all.

7. Socialise (to a point)

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Social distancing can be a complicated ask of a person, particularly a naturally sociable extrovert. However, the great thing about platforms like Creativepool is that there are so many connections ready and waiting to be made with people who share your interests, passions and creative outlets. It’s not only a platform for finding work but for connecting with the rest of the creative community and right now we need each other more than ever before. 

8. Reap the opportunities

In the last few days, creative individuals across the world have been coming up with unique ways to capitalise on this global lockdown (or at least make the best of a bad situation). From musicians and actors putting on live streaming shows to creatives offering online courses and tutorials over Skype, there are hundreds of ideas waiting to be expanded upon. 

9. Don’t panic

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People might be surprised to learn just how stressful home working can be. I’ve lived through periods where I’ll have almost no work for a month and periods where I have so much work I barely have time to sleep. Of course, this will only apply if you’re a freelancer, but for those who are new to working from home, I would imagine that same fear will set in if you find yourself with little work to do. Don’t let that fear overwhelm you - take the dog for a walk, meditate, phone a close friend and take a breath.

10. Put yourself in a winning position 

The corona virus will pass. So you have some unique time now to do something for yourself and your career. When we are rushed off our feet it is hard to find the time to do those things that you would like to do. With things guaranteed to be slowing down now is the time for you to think about your next steps. Maybe you can take some online courses and skill up ready for when things return to normality. We have also extended the deadline for the Annual. So, you have more time than ever to enter your work and stand a chance of being named amongst the industry’s brightest sparks. Taking part in the Annual has some great benefits for your career, here's 7 reasons why.

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