Are you struggling with this working from home thing?
Feeling a little unproductive?
Struggling to find work life balance?
I hear ya! And you’re not alone.
Many of us have found ourselves working from home unexpectedly and as much as it can seem like an ideal situation, not everyone is cut out for it, especially those who identify as an extrovert. Since we have no choice right now because of COVID19 and as someone who has been a virtual worker for over 3 years, I thought I would share some of my tricks that allow me to thrive and maintain balance with minimal structure.
It is so important to have a morning routine, whether you are working from home or not. Design a schedule that is realistic so that you don’t set yourself up for failure. For example, I know that I am not a morning person with endless amounts of energy when I wake up, so I don’t have exercise as part of my routine. It could be as simple as waking up the same time every day and making your favorite cup of coffee. Some good morning routine habits I’ve incorporated (and have seen benefits from) are meditating for a minimum of 5 mins a day, writing in a gratitude journal and having a power smoothie packed with all good things! Having a morning routine allows you to have a predictable and relaxing start, sets the tone for your entire day, and starts you off on the right foot.
Dedicated office space
This is a tough one for those of us who live in a small space. But do your best to find a spot that is as distraction-free as possible and inspiring. By picking one spot to work in, you will feel more motivated and focused as you start to create an office environment for yourself. Plus, if you live with others, they will realize that when you are in that space, you are in work mode which will help create boundaries for yourself and others.
Dress the part
Working out of your bed in your PJ’s gets old very fast, and soon enough you will find that it makes you feel lethargic versus productive. Of course, there is no need to wear a suit and tie, but even if it means wearing your favorite jeans or Lululemon’s then that is totally okay. The point is to wear something you love, feel comfortable in and that’s a level up from what you would, say clean your bathroom in 😊. When you dress well, you feel good and you’re more confident!
At the end of each workday, make a to-do list for the following day. This will help you enjoy your evening and not obsess about all the things you have to do, it will help you feel more in control and it may increase your motivation to get started the next morning so you can check those items off the list. I personally like to use OneNote, so if there is something that comes to my mind in the middle of the evening, I can quickly add it to any device I’m on and not think about it further.
Move & stretch daily
Both are equally important and not the same. You definitely want to take stretching breaks to reduce the feeling of stiffness and to also re-energize yourself, plus this is an easy one as it only takes a few minutes and acts as a ‘break’ as well. It’s also just as important to move daily, whether that means a walk indoors or outdoors (remember to physically distance yourself from others and stay close to home). One trick I like to use is whenever I have a phone call that does not require me to take notes, I consider it as a walking break. Walk and talk. You might even find you’re more creative when you’re not sitting still.
Perhaps you are someone who always eats at your desk! Studies show employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance improve when lunch breaks are taken. So, with that in mind, now that you are working from home, take this as an opportunity to slow down. Remember, you have a little more time in your schedule compared to when you had to commute. Give this time back to yourself! Stop and eat a healthy lunch with no technological distractions.
Virtual face-to-face meetings
It’s so important to have human connections and of course, current circumstances make that difficult. What I suggest, whenever possible make all meetings face-to-face video conferences versus telephone or multiple back and forth emails. It will help build relationships, avoid any miscommunication and most importantly reduce that feeling of isolation that we’re all feeling right now.
Regular working hours
Just because you work from home now, it doesn’t mean you should feel the need to work around the clock. If you can have similar working hours, this will make it easier for you when you transition back to the office, plus you will create boundaries for yourself and not burn yourself out. So when you’re done for the day be done for the day —walk away! And do what you would normally do when you get home from work. Make dinner, watch a show, call a friend, read a book, do some craft – whatever it takes to do your best to put work out of your mind until tomorrow.
Make weekends different
It’s easy to get caught in a trap when you are working from home. So it’s more important than ever to find that work life balance. Take the weekends for yourself. Shut down and walk away from your computer. Put your work email on do not disturb. We’re all looking for our temporary new normal right now just make sure you maintain some boundaries.
Working from home has its pros and cons. However, in my humble opinion, the pros outweigh the cons as I have made the best of my time by implementing the above strategies. Give it a go!
And if you have any questions or need more tips, connect with me and drop me a note!
Jen Narayan, CHRL
Career Consultant, Career Real Talk