MD Minute - Strategies for Working from Home with COVID-19 - Dr. Nikoleta
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MD Minute – Strategies for Working from Home with COVID-19

Welcome back, tribe! Thank you so much for stopping by! It’s no secret that the last two or three weeks have been crazy. Many of us have had to start working from home and adjusting to performing our jobs in a totally different environment. Even a lot of healthcare providers are now working from home and conducting telemedicine appointments, and it’s been a real challenge. 

But on the Millennial Doc podcast, I’m here to encourage you. I want you to know that this situation we’re in right now — this pandemic — is temporary. It will not last forever. We will make it through this, and we will eventually regain a sense of normalcy. In the meantime, it’s essential that we find ways to help each other adjust to this new situation and make the best of it!

That’s why in this episode, I’m sharing my top six tips and strategies you can do to make working from home easier. At home, we’re dealing with obstacles and distractions that just don’t come into play in the office. You may have children at home, and it’s definitely difficult to parent and work at the same time! But I want you to know that you can do it, and hopefully these six tips will help. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Tip #1: Create and Follow a Schedule

I cannot stress it enough — having a schedule is essential. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to be distracted by any number of things. Suddenly your normal routine is off, and the boundaries between work-time and home-time are blurred. You might find yourself stepping away from work to be a homeschool teacher or answering emails at all hours of the day. That’s why it’s important to set a schedule that you commit to following.

Each night before bed, pull out your planner, write down everything you need to do the following day, and set aside specific time for each item on the list. If you’re running a business, you might have to adjust your start and finish times a little bit to accommodate for your new roles as chef, teacher, etc. But if you have a routine, you’re likely to stick to it and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Once again, I truly cannot stress it enough — a schedule is so important! And I believe that having a set routine will help you to make the most of your time. You’ll feel less anxious about the number of tasks piling up and more confident in your ability to tackle everything you need to get done.

Tip #2: Work in Time Blocks

This is something I do all the time — work in time blocks. I suggest creating 90-minute time blocks during your day. While you’re working in blocks, try to focus on just one task, and make sure your partner and your kids know that for these 90 minutes you’re going to be focused on your work.

For example, if you’re running an online business, you might dedicate one 90-minute time block per day to writing blog posts or sales copy for your website. You can even write down on your schedule, “10:00 – 10:30: Copywriting.” Then, for that window of time, you can really get into your flow and be super productive. And when you get to the end of your 90-minute block, you can take a break, check in with the kids, stretch your legs, and get ready for the next one.

I know that it’s tempting to multitask — especially for us women! — but it really does help to do focused work for a set period of time. You’ll be able to accomplish much more work, and you just might surprise yourself with how much you can actually get done when you work this way!

Tip #3: Work with Purpose and Be Intentional

This tip is all about your mindset. When we work with intention and purpose, we are much more driven to be productive and make progress toward our goals. Spending time each day to hone-in on your “why” and remember your desire to have a positive impact on the world can powerfully motivate you to keep showing up and doing your best even when things get challenging.

This is another strategy for which I’d advise you to pull out a pen and paper. Every evening, grab a notebook or journal, and write down the intentions you want to carry into the next day. Clearly establish goals for yourself, and take time to focus on the bigger purpose behind those goals. For example, if you’re in healthcare like me, your purpose is to care for your patients to the best of your ability, right? Of course! So write that down, and then write down the goals you want to work toward or accomplish in the new day.

Here’s why this strategy works: It just makes you feel good. It feels great to work with a real sense of purpose, and it helps even more to have your intentions written down. By putting pen to paper, you affirm yourself and your reasons for doing the work that you do. And you can always look back at your writing whenever you start to feel discouraged. 

Tip #4: Cross Off Finished Tasks

Tip #4 gives me the best feeling! Each time you finish a task on your planner or accomplish a goal written among your intentions, make sure to check it off your list. And by that, I mean literally take a pen and draw a little check mark or strike through the words on the page.

It is so satisfying to cross off items on your to-do list, isn’t it? I love the feeling of marking off tasks as I complete them. I can’t recommend this more in a time when we’re all at home and we may not feel as productive as usual. Being organized and crossing off finished tasks decreases the chaos and overwhelm in your life, and that’s more important now than it’s ever been before.

So remember: Each night, make two lists. One is your list of goals and intentions, and the other is a basic to-do list. Then in the morning, grab your lists and get to work, making sure to cross off each task as you complete it. You’ll give yourself a little boost each time you get to cross something off, and you’ll keep your life organized and chaos-free!

Tip #5: Stay in Touch with the People in Your Life

Make sure you reach out to your coworkers, family, friends, and your grandparents whom you haven’t seen in a while. It is so important right now to stay in touch with the people you care about, and what better way to do that than through virtual Zoom meetings?

I know that all millennials and Gen Z’s out there have already mastered the technology of virtual face-to-face meetings, but not all of our loved ones know how to use tools like Zoom and Skype. I would encourage you to try to teach older members of your family how to use those tools to stay connected.

These video chats with friends, grandparents, or coworkers may seem trivial, but in our current circumstances, I believe that they’re more important than ever. As humans, it’s essential that we stay connected with one another. So take the time to teach a loved one how to use Zoom, and chat with them for a little while! It’s hard for everyone during this time of quarantine and isolation, but staying connected through virtual meetings can make things easier!

Tip #6: Do Your Best to Help Others Who Need It

Here’s my final tip for you today: Look for ways to help, and contribute in any way you can. Everyone is struggling right now, but we’re all in this together. We can all help each other out in various ways, and it’s important to look for ways that you can help someone else during this stressful time. 

There truly are plenty of things you can do! For example, I recommend sharing a drink or snack and saying, “Thank you!” to the UPS and Amazon truck drivers who are working extra hours right now. It’s a simple thing to do, but the appreciation goes a long way.

Also, if you’re financially able, you can donate masks and personal protective equipment to private practices who mainly do elective procedures — they truly need all the resources they can get right now. If you’re a student, see if you can get involved with other organizations and work together with current health workers who need personal protective equipment.

There are always opportunities to help others — you just have to look! I’d encourage all of you to find ways you can help out during this time. Remember, we’re all in this together, and if we support each other, we’ll make it through.

How Are You Going to Make Use of Your Time?

I want to remind you one more time: This is all temporary. We will not be in quarantine forever. One day, hopefully soon, we will make it out of these circumstances. Until then, we can wash our hands, stay at home, and try to help each other out as much as possible!

Before I go, here’s my big question to you: How are you going to make the best of this? What are you going to do to capitalize on this time at home? How can you use your skills to help others? Where can you donate items that are needed?

Friends, this is a great time to update things like your website, blog, social media profiles, or email lists. It’s also a great time to support local businesses and healthcare professionals. Now is the time to dig deep and support each other as much as we can. These times are crazy, but they won’t last forever. 

Thank you so much for joining me on the Millennial Doc podcast today! I hope this episode encouraged you and gave you some helpful tips. If you learned something, I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to share a screenshot on Instagram, and tag me, @drnikoleta, with your greatest takeaways. 

Also, let me know what hardships you’re going through so I can support you! I started this community to help others like me feel supported — and that includes you! You can also check out my website for more resources on how to Step Out with Confidence®. Please let me know how I can serve you because that is my top priority!

It would also mean so much if you could leave the Millennial Doc podcast a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts — this helps us build a community and share this message with more people like you!

Thank you again, everyone. I’m praying for all of you out there on the front lines. I love you all, and I’m so happy to be back!

Until next time, remember to Step Out with Confidence® and rock your life!


I am a board-certified dermatologist, CEO and Founder of Healthy Skin Blueprint, an acclaimed podcast host, best-selling author, and nationally recognized skin, hair, and nails expert. Welcome to the Skin Talk with Dr. Nikoleta blog.


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