My office shut down in March 2020 and we were all asked to Work from Home! I was beyond excited as I was stuck in the UK for about 7 months during that season. As days turned into weeks, and weeks morphed into months, I realised that in the midst of a hundred zoom meetings and WhatsApp fast becoming the number one work tool, I started feeling overwhelmed very quickly.
I had to take a couple of steps back to redefine what WFH really meant, what was important to me, and how to structure my time so that I wasn’t working round the clock. I’d like to share my top five tips with you, so that you too can live a more satisfying life even in these uncertain days.
Tip One: Have A Morning Routine… And Stick With It
We’ve all heard the importance of having A Morning Routine right? Well, allow me to reiterate it! It is fundamentally important to start your day right, with the things that are important to you. In his book, The 5AM Club, Robin Sharma suggests the 20-20-20 rule. I’ve implemented this in my own life and if head proven extremely effective. Move; Reflect; Grow!Start your day by moving for an least 20 minutes. I either skip or I do the 3 mile walk from YouTube but remember, the goal is consistency! Reflect: Pray, Meditate and Journal! This is such a powerful daily practice. It gives you the opportunity to uncover solutions to problems, unburden yourself and just release your mind to receive more. Finally, Grow! Take in some new knowledge every day. Read the pages of a book, listen to a podcast or teaching or one of the courses in the Inner Circle. Just ensure that you’re interacting with new knowledge every day.
Two: Have a Starting And Closing Time For Work
This is so critical! You shouldn’t start work the minute you open your eyes. Have a fixed start time. A good way to do this is to have a specific area that is dedicated as your “work space”. This shouldn’t be your bed and ideally shouldn’t be your bedroom or you could blur the lines in your head about what that room is for. However, if your bedroom is your only option, then try and have a specific desk and chair that you can go to begin your work for the day. Likewise, have a closing time! This is so Important. When does work and? What time will your last meeting end? What time will you stop checking emails? And so on. Create a hard start and stop time and this way, you are training yourself as well as those who work with you on when you can be reached for matters pertaining to work. If you’re a wife or a parent, this is even more important as you need to have time to develop your relationship with your spouse and with your kids. Don’t let work consume you.
Tip Three: Your Phone Has the Do Not Disturb Function for a reason… Use It!
In an Office, it can sometimes be easier to get into ‘deep work’, because everyone is in their own offices and people sort of know to be professional during office hours. These days however, those lines have blurred! You may receive a call from someone who wants to have a random chat in the middle of the day and it could throw you off your entire schedule. Or you may receive an email, an alert from Social Media or WhatsApp messages from the million and one groups you belong to and the little blinking light of the phone just keeps blinking till you pick it up! Arrgghh! Solution? The Do No Disturb Function. This brilliant function allows you dictate when you will be disturbed by your phone and not the other way round. It gives you control of your day, And helps you to keep to your schedule for the day. You could take it a step further and completely remove notifications from your phone, thus being in complete control of your time including time for your phone.
Tip Four: Switch Up Your Workspace and Work Style!
Working from Home can make us more sedentary if we’re not deliberate about things. Also, being in the same space for so many weeks and months can be demotivating sometimes. So I offer a couple of tips to help:
- Position your work space near a source of natural light. This just has a way of lifting up your mood.
- Tweak your work space – move things around. Include an image of something or someone you love. You could add a small indoor plant. You could play soft music that encourages deep work.
- Incorporate standing meetings! This one is gold. You can walk about in one place, stand or stretch a little as you’re having your meetings (Just make sure the Camera is off). But even if the Camera is on, you could choose to have a standing meeting – just ensure your laptop is at eye-level or almost at eye-level so it’s not distracting to your co-workers.
Tip Five: Take Your Lunch Break!
It’s there for a reason. Get out of your work space, make yourself some lunch or a sandwich or even just a cup of tea and eat someplace other than your workspace. It just reinvigorates you and gives you a fresh burst of energy for the afternoon stretch. By the way, if like me, your energy cycles are lowest in the afternoon, then stay away from a heavy lunch. You can thank me later!
That’s it ladies, my five tried and tested tips to working from home without running crazy or feeling overwhelmed. Which tips do you already practice? Which tips are you going to try out?
Here’s to a truly balanced life! Ciao!
Written by Bodam Taiwo