Well, we’re on week six of sheltering in place, and as much of the world is coming to realize just starting back where we left off is a distant dream. We don’t know how long this virus is going to affect the world in the way it is and we definitely need to take precautions when returning to our daily routines of opening businesses up, allowing public gatherings and even commuting to work. I am so grateful that my work was able to transition pretty seamlessly to a remote job. Working in a digitally based career space is something I am so thankful to have the opportunity to do. Most of my work is stored in the cloud and we rely heavily on chat services and email to communicate between teams. We have even adopted video chatting in response to not being able to meet and brainstorm in person. But with this transition to working where I live and living where I work has also come with its struggles. Adapting my work-life balance for not only for my productivity but also for my mental health during this pandemic. There have been a few things that I’ve tried to adapt to find the perfect work-life balance for myself.
It totally sounds corny but I have found it really helps me get motivated and in the right headspace to get dressed and put a little makeup on. I definitely still try to find comfy outfits for working from home, and I’d be lying if I didn’t allow myself one day out of the workweek to stay in my sweats but the rest of the week I try and put on a real outfit.
Getting dressed is something I miss most about not going into the office. So being able to get excited about an outfit again has helped me tremendously. From there I will make myself some coffee and a small breakfast while I listen to my favorite daily podcasts. It’s my way of getting a little bit of the news and catching up with my favorite true crime stories. Then I will take my breakfast to my desk and begin my day. For the most part, this essentially my commute routine without the CTA ride and with a healthier breakfast.
You all know I’m a To-do List fiend. I think if you looked at all the notebooks and journals around my house you will find page upon page of to-do lists. This is the way I’ve found is the most helpful for me to get things done especially for work. My last job had a task assignment tool our account team could use to assign us tasks like updating content or creating new landing pages. But my new agency doesn’t have that. So I have to rely on myself to remember the task I have to complete. So I usually have a list for all the bigger tasks like site launches and important presentations that I have on the side and then I create a list of things I need to complete throughout the week. I also still use my diary planner to make sure I don’t forget meetings during the week or personal things I have planned. This just helps me stay organized.
This is one I’m still struggling with but I find to be the most important one… make sure you take a break. Make sure you clock out at a regular time and walk away. I’m a bit of a workaholic and find during work hours that breakfast in the morning before I start my day is the only thing I stop to eat. I might snack on some pretzels or a piece of fruit but will continue my day until its time to clock out. That is not good at all for the longevity of my mental health while working from home and will definitely cause a burnout. So lately in the middle of my day I have been trying to take the hour break, I’m given by work and actually utilize it. I have been trying to get in a quick at-home workout or take a walk around my block to make sure I’m exercising. Don’t feel obligated to sit at your desk all day and work. And make sure if you started on time in the morning you allow yourself to finish on time. Don’t work late and force yourself to get things done all in one day. There is always tomorrow.
Finally, I think what’s helped me feel content with finishing my daily work on time is having hobbies, and things I have really loved doing lately. I have created my own little nighttime routine of learning Spanish and taking care of blog content that I find I get excited to finish my workday so I can begin doing those things. Finding something fun that excites you to take your mind away from work will help you create that separation between your home life and your work life.
I think this pandemic has brought a lot of struggles to businesses everywhere but it’s also teaching us to be more flexible and maybe companies will reevaluate how they create policies around working from home. With my work from home balance, I find myself more productive in my work tasks as well as my personal tasks. When we’re allowed to travel a flexible work routine will also allow people with wanderlust to travel while still working, or allows companies to open their doors to experts in their field who may live in remote areas. Do you think this pandemic will change how your company approaches work from home?