Meet Anna MacKenzie and Caitlin Judd – the inspiring, switched-on, passionate founders of LADY-BRAINS, a digital and IRL (in real life) club for entrepreneurial women. The LADY-BRAINS mission is to close the entrepreneurship gap by removing the obstacles faced by women in business.
They aim to INSPIRE women by sharing stories of other female founders who have paved the way, extracting nuggets of gold that will help others on their business building journey. They EDUCATE women by providing the resources and tools that will allow them to succeed. And they facilitate CONNECTIONS, by giving women access to a high-value network that they can draw upon. Peers, mentors, investors, suppliers – the lot.
Anna spent her career leading strategy for global brands like UNIQLO and MECCA, working on exciting innovation projects across Japan, Singapore, New York and Australia. Caitlin is a business coach who works to fuse business and marketing with positive psychology to help women navigate their work, life and future joyfully and who want to make a real difference in other people’s lives.
Together, through LADY-BRAINS they help women from all backgrounds start and grow businesses. It’s that simple, yet that powerful. Why? Because women creating businesses at the same rate as men is a $5 trillion global opportunity. (Let that one sink in….)
As we all know, the spread of COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and many of the smart, modern women out there have found themselves working from home. For some of us, this is the first time ever we've had to work from home and are struggling with the transition – as well as juggling the all the uncertainty and unknowns of a world in the midst of a medical crisis.
So, we turned to Anna + Caitlin who have generously shared the advice, tips, and tricks they've picked up from interviewing countless entrepreneurs about productive work from home habits.
- Get up at the same time every morning and establish a healthy morning routine. Allocate time to meditate, write, have a coffee, go for a run, do a dance...anything that makes you feel good. We can’t stress enough the importance of creating a morning ritual that works for you to get you in the right mindset to tackle everything that’s going to come your way!
- Get dressed! Try not to work in your PJs. It's tempting, but it makes you feel like a sloth. We’re loving the casual two-piece loungewear vibe.
- Schedule a meeting or phone call in the morning or tackle your most difficult task first. This may not work for everyone, but it really helps us switch our brain into gear at the start of the day (along with a decent coffee!)
- Make sure you take a real lunch break. Go for a walk around the block, make a sandwich and eat is outside, get off your emails. FaceTime a friend! You need to break up your day and you also deserve a decent lunch – no more excuses.
- Make time in your day or night for FUN. At lady-brains HQ (home) we do a 3pm dance break. We also schedule in creative brainstorming meetings and pull out our collection of textas and post-it notes to dream up what’s possible.
- Pack up your stuff at the end of each day. Pack away your laptop, all the cords, your notebooks, and your coffee cups. Especially if you're working in a communal area (e.g. the kitchen table), put everything away so after-hours the space doesn't feel like an office.
- Be kind to yourself! For a lot of people this is a significant transition period. You’ll make mistakes and some days will be easier than others. Be kind and find a virtual community of people that you can talk to when you need it most. You can access our lady-brains clubhouse here.
Remember to pack it all away at the end of the day - put away your water bottle, coffee cups, snacks, notebook and laptop. This will help with the transition from "work" to "home" helping you switch-off at the end of the day. Featured: VESTIRSI Simone bag.
And finally, we asked Anna and Caitlin to answer two of the questions asked by VESTIRSI VIPs, smart, modern, corporate women, who now find themselves working from home:
“What are your recommendations for people that now find themselves working from home with a roommate or partner (and finding themselves increasingly frustrated by the lack of personal space!) How do you work in close contact (perhaps a small unit) with someone without driving each other crazy?” - Sarah, Melbourne
Here are a few ways to make working from home with your partner or housemate a little easier:
SET EXPECTATIONS: It’s crucial that you remain open from the get-go and chat about your expectations when it comes to sharing a living and working space. It’s likely that you’ll have different needs and requirements (such as a quiet zone, or lunchtimes apart), and so you need to share these with each other and remain as open to one another as possible.
BE PATIENT AND KIND: Be patient and kind to yourself, and to your partner or housemate. You’re both navigating a significant transition right now, and believe it or not, there’s no right way to go about this. Now’s a great time to communicate how you’re feeling during this period - you may be feeling anxious, hopeful or even excited about working from home. Opening up about how you feel encourages vulnerability, which in turn breeds kindness and trust.
DEFINE THE SPACE: How is this logistically going to work? If you’re lucky enough to have a bit of space in your house - why not create a dedicated work zone and work room? If you and your partner or housemates can work from the same room, then great! If you’re easily distracted or you know you need quiet time for calls, then you may need to find a separate room. Try to have a dedicated area for yourself but be open to moving around when required. For example, if you only have one nook, office or spare room in the house, consider creating a calendar or roster that allows everyone to book time in for meetings and calls. That way everyone can access some privacy when they need it.
CHECK-IN ON THE REG: You can even pop this in the calendar for the end of each week to remove any awkwardness. You can ask very simple questions of each other: What went well this week? What did you learn about each other (try to keep this as positive as possible) and what did you struggle with the most? Be open to feedback. If you go in with the mindset that you want to continue to improve your relationship and maintain a positive work and living space, then you’re going to get better outcomes!
“How do you break up the monotony of working and living in the same space for those that are feeling claustrophobic being confined to the one space for 24 hours a day?” - Jane, Sydney
Our advice is to create a new routine that you can stick too and use up all the space in your house!
A stringent routine is going to help you get through your day. For example, you might wake up the same time each day, meditate and exercise for an hour before jumping on a call, eating lunch at 1pm, taking a break in the afternoon and then finishing in the evening before starting dinner prep. By keeping a routine, you take the guesswork out of your day and it makes the process of living and working in the same space a little easier.
The other great tip is to use up all the space in your house. For example, you may choose to eat your breakfast on the front porch or balcony if you have one, and then eat lunch or take an afternoon break in the backyard. Also feel free to move around the house and work from different zones for a different perspective and change of scenery.
Don’t forget to keep the place clean (it’s so much harder to work in mess) and try to keep your bedroom a sanctuary where you work from a little less. This means when you finish at the end of the day and you retreat to your room you feel like you’ve left work in another spot in the house!
We hope these tips are useful during this crazy, uncertain times where many of us find ourselves working from home.
If you want to hear more from Anna + Caitlin, you can find out about their LAND BRAINS virtual supper-clubs, podcast and resources by clicking here
In the coming weeks we will share other wellness, mental health, meditation, fitness, and physical health tips to ensure you - the smart, modern woman - is empowered to live her best life, even if it is from the confines of your home. If you are yet to sign up for our emails, become a VESTIRSI VIP and join by clicking here to be the first to know when we publish new interviews (and for VIP access to new products and VIP discounts.)
If there is something in particular you want tips on next, or information about next, or if you have any questions for Anna or Caitlin, please comment below and let us know.
In the meantime, stay well, stay safe and be kind to one another - and yourself.
Love Monica + Team VESTIRSI xx