I’m one week in working from home. It feels like a year. Kudos to everyone who does this willingly. It’s definitely not for me. I think under different circumstances it would be a whole other story as I wouldn’t mind working remotely. Then I could pop in to a cafe one day, a co-working space the other, stay at home one day, even change cities or countries as long as I’d get my work done. You get the picture. Now we have no choice but to stay at home.
I’m really lucky I have a job where were I’m able to work from home during this Coronavirus pandemic so I am by no means complaining but I can’t wait to go back to normal. We have daily video calls with the team but it’s not the same as a natter now and again in the kitchen making tea or across screens and desks. I’m a coworker that needs the face to face interaction and small chats now and again. As much as I need and enjoy my own company, I do so when I myself choose to, not being told by others.
Anyways, it is what it is. As soon as we were asked to work from home, I knew I had to stick to a routine to make sure to keep a good work-life balance. Here’s what I do to keep sane and separate work from day to day life.
Like always, I start the day with a workout. For as long as I could I cycled to the gym to attend an half hour long class. Since they’ve shut every other day (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) I cycle to the park and over phone dial in with the gym ladies for a 30 min workout. The other days I go for runs or do my own abs workout at home. It’s so nice as it gets me out of the flat and gives me energy for the day ahead.
I get ready as usual and is if I’m going to the office like any other day. I could put on lounge wear, even wear my pyjamas or bathrobe but I wouldn’t feel as productive wearing them. Instead, I have something to look forward to when finishing work, slipping into something more comfortable. One thing I’ve stopped doing is putting on makeup. I feel like I at least can let my skin breathe these weeks or (gosh forbid) months being stuck at home. I wear glasses to work so I don’t look too bad for video meetings with colleagues. They might argue differently but no one has said.
Work Space Setup
Luckily I already had a desk in my bedroom and with a few tweaks, I was able to fit both the work laptop and second monitor. I want to make sure that I only do work at this desk and not “bring work home” with me. I think it’s important to set boundaries, especially as my flat only has two rooms: a bedroom and a combined living room and kitchen area. This way, as soon as I leave the bedroom after a day’s work, I feel like I distance myself from work tasks. My kitchen and living room area are my free time space. To help with the silence, I’m listening to the radio. I thought Spotify would help but realised that with the radio I get to hear other peoples voices.
At work I’m pretty good at staying away from snacks. At home it’s different so I don’t keep any snacks at home. I thought it was going to be hard but I’ve not craved any. I think it’s work keeping me busy. Normally on a weekend, if I’m bored, I can easily sit and snack. Even though I’m still working out every day, I am not in this lock down to get fat! At the weekend is when I treat myself to a takeaway and/or a snack. I still want to get that Friday and weekend feeling.
I take regular breaks. I’ve purposely left my water bottle in the kitchen to make sure that I stretch my legs every time I get thirsty. I’m good at drinking water, 1-3 liters a day. I take a proper lunch, either I go for a walk along the canal or I sit outside on the balcony enjoying the sunshine. Anything to break up the day and get away from the screen.
To mark the end of my work day, I switch off my laptop and screen completely. This is to make sure I’ve definitely signed out of work mode. I also get changed into lounge wear, to mark the start of home, chill and free time. I try to leave house admin tasks like washing, cleaning, cooking etc. for this time of the day as well. Anything to make it feel like a normal work day as much as possible and for when we’re let back out again I won’t struggle too much getting back into the swing of office work.
How do you balance life and working from home? Have you got any other tips for me to help with my work-life balance?