HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU MANAGE YOUR TIME AND STAY SANE WHILE ADJUSTING
With so many people transitioning to work from home, many of my friends have asked me how I’ve managed it for the past 3+ years. I went on a rollercoaster of bliss and panic before finally getting into a groove, so I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me find balance in my telecommute over the past couple years.
While it’s super tempting to just hop into work in your pajamas, putting on real clothes helps to build a sense of normalcy. Now I’m not saying you can’t occasionally sport some sweatpants, but there’s an added sense of professionalism you give yourself when you actually dress for the day (and it’s always great to be wearing a clean shirt for any potential video meetings).
Busy your ‘commute’
If you formerly had a commute in to work, consider filling that time with something else. Your first reaction might be to turn off your alarms so that you can sleep in and jump straight from bed to work, but this will lead to groggy, grumpy and slow mornings. Get up and make yourself some breakfast, take a walk, read a book or spend some extra time on a hobby. Filling the time you would normally spend on your commute will help you be more productive during the day and won’t leave you jetlagged when you actually have to commute again.
Create a dedicated work space
Separating work from home life becomes exceedingly difficult when they happen in the same space. Set yourself up somewhere that you can call your dedicated work area. If you’ve got a spare room that you can call your office then that’s great, but it can be as simple as a certain section of a room or a table. If you can, distance yourself from distractions like your television or video games. Giving yourself a space committed to your job helps keep that ever so important work/life balance.
Make sure you have the right tools
If you’re part of a team, you still need to work as a team. Make sure you have access to tools that can keep you connected. There’s plenty of free and affordable software available. Slack, Zoom and Discord are great tools for chatting with your team while DropBox, Google Drive and Breeze can help you manage projects and quickly share files from anywhere. Be open and patient as you and your team learn any new technology and help each other where you can. Some new tools may help you be more efficient on your return to the workplace!
Have virtual ‘watercooler talk’
Being separated from each other physically doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with your coworkers. In a normal office environment we often have little spurts of chitchat that can easily get lost when we’re scattered to our homes. This will ultimately lead to disconnect. Keep a “watercooler” or “open office” chat channel if you use a program like Slack, and don’t be shy or afraid to have little conversations with your comrades on current news or shared interests. Building bonds with your teammates doesn’t have to go on hold just because you aren’t in the same room. If you ever start to feel left out or too isolated, just speak up to your coworkers and bosses to find ways to integrate more team time.
With limited distractions it’s easy to get caught up in work. Some people (like myself), may notice a considerable spike in their productivity. Don’t get so caught up in it that you forget to take a breather. Everyone has different limits, but that increase in productivity means that you’ll meet that limit faster. Take a few small breaks throughout the day to help keep your sanity. Try to get some fresh air or pick up apps like Duolingo to learn something new.
TAKE. CARE. OF. YOUR. SELF.
Seriously, remember to give yourself some love. Take regular showers and brush your teeth. Just because you don’t have to go out doesn’t mean you need to stink. Try not to gorge yourself on ‘quarantine snacks’ like chips and cookies. I mean, indulge yourself but don’t go overboard. Get some sunlight and fresh air by taking a walk, going for a drive, or just opening your windows. Use your phones! Stay in touch with friends and family and not just your coworkers. Spruce up your work area with things that motivate and inspire you like plants, quotes, photographs and scented candles or wax melts. Get comfortable in your space and pay attention to your physical and mental health needs.