“Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it will surely be yours.”
– James A. Baldwin
With the majority of us working from home these COVID days, we all received something that we subsconsciously thought about when we were getting up, driving the half an hour to forty minutes to work, somewhat dreading that morning meeting, and then chugging through once 8 am arrived. That desire to “Work From Home”. Reality six months ago did not permit us to do this, so we did what we had to put food on the table and prepare for our retirements. Fast forward to 2020, and VPN is your new best friend. The majority of the world doesn’t know what it really means to work from home. The concept is very new. With time however, we’ve all learned to adjust and are now pretty much in a state where we’re figuring out how best to balance work and life.
This article is designed to be a survival guide to help you through this period of “rest”. Now that you are in a flexible work schedule, you can actually make the interim an enjoyable one. Your home…is now your haven, your office, and your entertainment center fused into one. The key to a successful quarantine is time management. Knowing how best to demark your 24 hours will ensure that you fulfill all the critical essentials, and still manage to get some much needed work done. Let’s delve into a few things that you can do to ensure that your time at home is not only restful, but highly productive.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule: The brain is primed for progress. If you’re working from home, that means that you’re doing the majority of what you did in your office in a virtual space. With your commute eliminated, that means that your start time should be the same as it was when you were working. Maintain the same schedule that you kept when you were in the office. If you start at 8 am…make sure that you are up at the normal time, that you’re showered and dressed. While you may not be required to wear formal wear in your home space, dress business casual. If your body is aware that you’re primed to work, and are dressed in attire that is not indicative of a relaxed environment, you feel as if you’re at work, and start getting things done.
- Create a designated work space: If you have a home office, then work from that space. Identify a way that you can create the formality of the work environment in your home. If you don’t have a home office, you can create one. Utilize a spare table that you have in your home, and simply ensure that you have it primed with accessories like books, your computer, some stationery and work essentials, as well as a comfortable chair. If you want to add a pop of color, add a faux plant. Cacti are particularly good for the desk.
- Make some time for self-care. The reason that we have been stressing self care so much over the past few weeks is because being confined can be a stressful event. As people we are used to our freedom, and the temporary removal of certain liberties can play its toll on your mind. To keep yourself in a good frame of mind, you can take the time to actually do things like have a more leisurely cup of coffee, tea or snacks across the days. Stay hydrated, and keep a bottle of water by your desk. It’ll help you greatly as you motivate yourself to get things done.
- Set a work schedule, and stick to it. When the work day ends, take the time to do things like go for a walk in your neighborhood, attend your local park (more allowable in suburbs) and take the time to actually defragment. When you’re away from the home, but still close by, it will allow you to give your mind the illusion of a change of scenery. With the evening commute eliminated, you can now use this time to actually do things like exercise. Work out by walking, or if you have an at home gym…you won’t have to be fighting the traffic in order to attend your workout.
Now that you’re your own CEO to some extent, take the time to actually revel in this freedom. Instead of feeling limited and restricted, embrace your freedom and just enjoy your journey. During your lunch hour you can do things like water your plants, take in the fresh air and just revel in the fact that you have a little more time to yourself for the next few months. Many people actually look at this opportunity to make a career change if they’re not happy with the job they have.
For those of you with children, the responsibility of home schooling may partially be upon you. While places like universities are simply utilizing distance education and utilizing mediums like alternate ways to test their students instead of having them come in-house for examinations, many parents with toddlers are now left to take care of their own children’s education for an interim. Take the time to:
- Create a curriculum for your children. Many parents who homeschool actually take the time to actually download the curriculum for their children and prepare lessons for their children to utilize. The children will then have a program to work with, and you as a parent won’t have to be wondering if they’re falling behind on their education because you will be able to control what they are learning.
- Schedule some play time activities for your children: What seems to be trending now for children is allowing them to colour on anything from your glass windows to placing their colouring papers on the wall, taping up the papers, and simply allowing them to colour while standing up.
2020 is the year of ownership. Take this time to actually create a year that you’ll appreciate. Once normalcy resumes, you’ll be wondering where this time went. Many people actually work from home, and have happily and confidently done this for years. In your memoirs, you can write about what you did during this time.