As most of the countries go into lockdown we have no choice but to adapt to the new normal. Covid has brought a lot of changes to our life especially in our day to day routine. The most significant change being how we work. The first thing I noticed was the positive aspect of this, no commute equals less traffic and less pollution. More time with loved ones, being able to work your own hours and the freedom this brings. As well as the flexibility of creating your ideal workspace.
When I ventured into working from home six years ago, the first thing I missed was the ambient. Mainly, the cosy office environment and lunch time chats. Another WFH downside was getting lost in your work, hence working longer hours than you would normally in regular fixed times. Not to mention the constant distractions and somewhat loneliness. Also being in midst of a pandemic can bring along a sense of uncertainty, brain fog and anxiety.
If you are used to an office environment working from home can be quite a challenge to start with. Here are some tips I try to implement in my work life on a day to day basis.
Get Up And Get Dressed
It’s lovely working in your pj’s occasionally but doing this on a regular basis is not very wise. Make time for your morning routine as you would if you had to commute to work. Have breakfast, journal, do some form of exercise like yoga or pilates to set the tone for the day. Put on your favourite wfh outfit, some light make-up and an easy hair-do. And you’re set to go!
Create Your Workspace
Make sure your space is inspiring and you have all the tools you need to work remotely. Do this before you start if this is at all possible. With a little thought, you can make your workspace functional and pleasant to work in. Designate an area to place your set up. It doesn’t have to be a whole room even a specific area big enough for a desk will do. Next up is a comfortable office chair, something which I still need to invest in. And then, think of the equipment you might need such as printers, a scanner, shelves for any reference documents or files. Lastly, create some ambient with a candle, flowers, a plant or two and some books.
Keep To A Routine
Creating a routine will also let your other household members know that you are unavailable. Apart from sticking to set hours, take a day or two off as you would a regular job. Pre-covid times, I used to schedule meetings on certain days and times. Time block tasks, so say emails on Monday, bookkeeping on Friday and so on. If you live in a noisy area as I do, then listen to some music. Noise cancelling headphones are great too. Listen to my Spotify playlist here.
Make sure you keep hydrated throughout the day. I like to keep a large jug of water beside me to sip throughout the day. This helps me avoid getting up to make tea or a hot drink every hour or so. Also tempting as it may be I try not to snack but keep to regular meal times. Schedule your lunch break at the same time every day to create a routine.
Take A break
Taking a break little and often is the ideal way to keep productive. Short 5 minute pauses every 30 minutes or so can stop you from feeling overwhelmed. A longer break mid-way through your day can be a good time to fit in some exercise. I like to go for a walk to breathe in some fresh air and clear my mind. I was gifted a Mi Smart Band fitness tracker earlier on in the year. It’s great for making sure I fit in my 10,000 steps a day and keeps track of my workouts.
Set up a digital calendar like google calendar to schedule meetings and tasks with easy access on the go. If you work alone, keeping in touch with friends or peers during the day will stop you from feeling isolated. You will also get to share ideas and spark thoughts of each other. Some good tools for this are WhatsApp and Zoom.
Be Kind To Yourself
Learn to say No and set boundaries. After years of working freelance, I am amused that some people still don’t think I have a job! Just because you don’t work for some large corporate does not mean you do not have commitments. Due to this mentality some people expect you to be on-call at any time. A little support can can mean the world to a person who is trying to make their way. I sincerely hope that this type of mentality has changed post-Covid.
We all know that a lot of time at your laptop can be draining. At the end of the day try to change the scene with a crafty hobby or puzzle. Give your eyes a much-needed rest with something like baking or gardening. Pick up some paints and try your hand at some art. This will give you something to look forward to at the end of the day.
As are all challenges it may not be so straightforward adapting to a new routine. I sure struggled in the beginning and still do. I try my best to use these tips to keep myself motivated.
This lifestyle it can be extremely rewarding in terms of quality of life for yourself and your loved ones. Set yourself up for success by working efficiently. Check-in with yourself often and keep your self accountable.