It’s not easy working from home. It wasn’t easy before the pandemic, and it has been even trickier during it.
First up, you’ve got the barriers to getting work done, like – working from your bedroom or having loads of visitors in your office workspace. In my house, this is often a husband who’s tired from work and needs a break or two cats who constantly cause havoc.
Then you’ve got those barriers that keep you in work mode. On a couple of occasions this week, I’ve settled down to do some writing, then looked at the time I’d sped past my hard cut off time for work.
I’d get the brain upgrade that shuts off a little before the workday is done in an ideal world. Oh, and the ability to telepathically tell my husband and cats when I need to be alone. Sadly, science hasn’t entirely made it that far yet.
I’ve been putting the work in to create a positive workspace attitude for myself and my household’s sanity. Having an interrupted day usually means I’m agitated and frustrated by about 6 pm.
But as I’ve been saying, this isn’t so easy. I’ve started working toward some better home working practices to help, and I wanted to share them with you today.
Your mileage with them will vary as we’ve all got different home situations!
Tools That I Use
1. One of my first significant objectives was to create a space for myself. I spend so much of my free time on the computer I figured it would be better to make my working spot different than my relaxation/enjoyment spot.
In that vein, I have taken ownership of the spare room whilst Jim uses the living room as his office. This way, to annoy each other, we get up from our desks. It also means that we don’t have to do too much to respect the other person who might be on a call.
Sidenote: Sometimes, I need a little Disney singalong to get through a rough afternoon, but everyone else doesn’t need to hear it. I’m listening to the Mulan soundtrack whilst editing this.
I’ve just moved my desk into its 5th position in the room, but I think I’ve finally found the perfect spot. I also use this space to work out at lunchtime to save on room. The aim is to keep the room uncluttered but still a nice place to be for up to 8 hours a day.
2. It might sound like the most obvious suggestion ever, but a timetable of events helps keep me on track. I tend to hold lunch, workouts and end of the day to the exact times each day during the workweek. It’s great for someone like me who ideally needs structure to thrive, and it works well to create some boundaries in the house when working from home.
Google Calendar keeps me on track with 10-min notifications before something is due to start. If you are the kind of person that gets bogged down with work, try putting it all into your calendar with the notifications.
3. The final tool that I’ve been trying to work on is acceptance of changing moods. As people, we don’t love talking about our feelings much, but changing attitudes can impact the workday.
In my case, on a Monday, I might wake up and be productive for all eight hours; on Tuesday morning, it might be a struggle to get out of bed and get a post up.
Noticing the kind of mood I’m in and adjusting my plans around them has been the most important thing that I’ve learned whilst working from home. It’s alright to have an off-day, no matter who you are.
As a result of these three things, I’ve found it easier to enjoy my working week and feel less stress from the home working situation. My aim in 2020 was to getting outside to work in more social settings, which was doomed to fail. Using these tools has helped me feel much better about working on my “own”.
I’d love to hear all about your positive coping mechanisms during the pandemic, as well as a look into your office space if you’ve got pictures. Also, recommendations for wall art are welcomed; I need something to look at!