WORKING FROM HOME:
The quarantine/lockdown phase is slacking gradually, but many of us are still working from home, either to practice social distancing or they already work from home, as I do. I have been working from home after I moved to the USA and created my blogging & consulting business. These 6 years are full of various lessons: positive & not so positive. As many of you are working from home for the first time this year, let me share some of the insights regarding working from home.
I have initially posted the bullet points of working home on my Instagram. Here I am talking in detail about it.
Working from home MYTHS:
It’s extremely easy to work from home:
Not entirely true. When you work from home, you get distracted easily, especially if you have children. Yes, you don’t have to think about changing to a different outfit, commute, and lunch/snacks- but you will have to make space & a solid routine to focus on your work, and not distracted by the endless work around the house.
MY TIP: Keep a clear division of weekdays and weekends. Keep your grocery shopping, essential shopping for the weekends when you can include your family members. The same goes for meal-planning and cooking. I keep the Fridays or Sundays of cooking ahead. I either do the laundry at the weekends if I am staying at home or early morning on weekdays. In this way, I can focus on my work-family and my health. For the
You can spend more time with your children/loved ones:
It’s true but if you want to successfully do the work/ run your business and spend quality time with the children/loved ones- you can not do these 2 at the same time. You need to make a clear distinction between your work time and family time- for your sanity.
Parents: Right now you & your child are both stuck at home & you can’t avail childcare system. This is why divide the time with your partner. If both of you are working from home and you have the flexibility to choose your work time, do so. I have noticed that when my husband and I, both are working from home simultaneously, our daughter gets hyperactive and seeks attention. For our sanity, when my husband is working on something serious- I will do something that requires less concentration so that when little M wants to play or draw something together, I am there for her.
Single parents: Work with your child’s routine and keep them occupied with something they love when you can work. For example: when my husband works from his office it’s a typical 9-5 job, and some days it can be till 10 pm if he is doing his research works. So I start the day with activities with little M. Then I either give her coloring stuffs or educational videos depending on her preference. When I am doing photography or making a video, I need her to stay in one place, cue in her Amazon Kindle Fire where she can draw, read books, or watch age-appropriate videos. You can maintain how long your child uses the device and everything else from the parent’s account. So it’s a huge help for me.
Partners: Do your work by creating a virtual work-hour. After you “punch-out”, spend some quality time with your partner when the cell phones, laptops, and computers are unwelcomed. Spend time doing something you both love. Eat dinner together, talk about your frustration, or just sit on the porch like an old couple… it’s all worth it!
It’s fun / It’s not a hard work :
It’s as fun as you can make out of it. It depends on your outlook on things and how you can make the best out of your situation.
Do I want to get out of the house and be somewhere quiet while I work? Yes. But some days that’s not possible, so I have to work with the situation I got.
Make it fun, experiment with schedule, and routine. All you need is a positive attitude and creative thinking.
I have also come across comments like… “Oh working from home is not hard at all!” First of all, it’s disrespectful to make someone feel inferior because they work from home. Working from home does not mean we are munching on chips and watching Netflix all day with the laptop on laps.
Secondly, while work-from-home people are blessed to work from home, sometimes it gets really hard when you are starting or working on your business and you have no one to bounce your ideas or help you out.
Working from home is lonely:
True, especially If you live alone, it can get really lonely sometimes.
MY TIP: Take breaks, facetime with your friends, family members, or loved ones, do a virtual dance party, or whatever keeps your spirit up- go for a walk, exercise, or do yoga. Listen to music.
How to keep your sanity & maintain routine while working from home: TIPS:
TIP 1: CREATE A WORKSPACE:
Not all of us have the luxury to get a separate room as a home office. But still, make a space in your kitchen/living room or use a desk for your work. By creating a separate area, you are creating an illusion of separation of work and home life.
TIP 2: GET READY:
Take off those pajamas and get ready for the day! You have no idea how much it helped my mindset when I change into a t-shirt and leggings from the pajamas. It gives a purpose and creates another illusion that you are now ready for work.
TIP 3: SCHEDULE A TIME:
I can’t emphasize it enough, scheduling a strict timeline is imperative while working from home, and especially if you are a parent. It is the first step in maintaining a routine while working from home. You can divide the whole work-time into 3 types- ⠀
- Strict work time- when the rest of your household knows this is not the time to disturb you. Keep the Zoom meetings, phone calls, and most important works which demand your full attention for these hours.
- Semi-strict work time- Keep the work that does not need critical thinking during this time.
- Non-essential work time- During this time sort and answer the non-essential emails, answer the social media/customer questions (if you have an online business). You can also sort out which work to do the next day and which projects need more attention.
TIP 4: PREPARE THE FOOD:
Preparing the lunch/snacks for the day beforehand is a huge timesaver. As I mentioned earlier, I meal plan and prepare the food on Fridays or Sundays. In this way, I can always fall back to something homecooked for my bigger meals. For snacks and lunch, it’s helpful if I assemble what I am going to eat in the early morning before work. When you don’t have anything ready, your mind keeps wondering “what to eat”, and you are going to lose precious time and focus. Make a sandwich/salad or anything you like to eat- before you start working in the morning.
TIP 5: TAKE BREAKS:
Take regular breaks. During these small breaks- stretch, move your body, drink water, walk around the house, or just spend some time talking to your loved ones. I covered an article about the bad effects of sitting all day and how Active Sitting can help you. Read it for a better understanding of “Sitting Disease” and how you can prevent it.
At the end of the day, go easy on yourself if some days are unproductive and things are not going according to your plans. Take it slow and take a deep breath. You got this!
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