COVID-19 has impacted everything – forcing us out of our normal office environments and into our homes. So much of ministry happens in face-to-face interactions that we can find ourselves trying to figure out not only how to do ministry remotely but also how to productively work remotely. So how do you make the most out of working remotely in ministry? Here are a few tips:
1. Simulate your commute in the morning with a walk.
If you’re like me, you use your commute to dis-engage from work/office/ministry to focus on being a loving, caring and present roommate / spouse / parent / pet owner. That time is important. It marks the beginning or end of work and the start of something different. You don’t have to lose that time while working at home. Simulate “going to/leaving from work” by going on a walk. Drive around the block. Do something that communicates that it’s time for something different to your brain.
2. Get dressed.
When you go to work, you should look like you’re going to work. Get out of your comfys and dress like you normally do. This is an easy part of your habit to control.
3. Turn off the TV.
I know “The Office” is only on Netflix for another year, but if you don’t watch TV during your normal work hours, don’t start it while at home.
4. Stay connected through tech.
There are a lot of tech options for you to stay connected to your coworkers. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facetime, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc. – they’re all available for you to stay in touch with the people you work with. Feeling a little too socially distanced? Invite your coworkers to jump on a tech call and just work together. You don’t have to interact, but sometimes just looking up and seeing another human at work is the motivation and comfort that you need to accomplish your goals for the day.
5. Recreate your workspace.
Working from bed is not a good idea. Neither is working on the couch … Or from your kid’s bedroom floor. Do your best to recreate your normal workspace.
6. Distract the littles in crucial moments.
Working from home pushes that border between being a parent and an employee. Do not feel guilty about distracting your littles with some screen time – especially when you need to jump on a call / group chat. For those of you out there with babies, schedule calls and focus time to line up with naptime.
7. Intervals are your friend.
If you’re like me, it’s hard to concentrate on work projects when there’s house chores glaring at you. Go ahead and take care of the mess that's bothering you, but then set a timer that helps you shift your focus to the work you must get done. Working in intervals might improve your efficiency, and you might be impressed with how much you can get done while not neglecting the fact that everyone is home.
The COVID-19 is a tremendous obstacle to ministry – but that’s exactly what it is – an obstacle we will maneuver past and learn from. Don’t lose heart in this time and embrace all of what the Lord wants to show you in this time.
Kingdom work never stops!