I haven’t had a work from home this long in my life, neither have most of us. Even those who do work from home for a living may not have witnessed the other factors attached to it that are there these days – complete lack of social life, no place to go out to after work, homeschooling children and lack of many services available on normal days.
It’s been more than four weeks that I have stepped out of home or met anyone but my family and few next door neighbours. People have been pushed to two extremes while working. There are those isolating with other people – spouses, roommates, families etc and are looking forward to get some distance from them once the lockdown ends. Those isolating all alone craving for some in person human interaction – I am not in this category, but believe this is a trickier one to handle. It can be difficult to differentiate between work and home and life can become really monotonous – I am going to share some tips and tricks which have ensured, this lockdown has not overwhelmed me too badly. There are good and bad days, but these tips from people who are making it work, me included are sure to make prolonged WFH during isolation more bearable, daresay, even enjoyable for you
- Dress up for work. Make the effort to take an early bath, put on nice clothes, do your hair and put on some makeup(if you do put on makeup), fragrance and accessorise – it will make you feel a whole lot better and make changing into pajamas at the end of work day all that much better. My go to is a bright lipstick and bandanas
- Have a start and finish time for work, and force yourself to cut off from office calls and emails beyond a point. It’s so much more difficult to do it while being stuck at home, but resist the temptation to open your laptop when you have nothing else to do. If you must do something in non office time, pick up something to read or learn
- Play a sport. If you are alone – dance, do yoga or anything that works for you – that makes you move. The goal isn’t to lose weight. The goal is to keep your limbs moving and healthy
- Ok, this will sound counterintuitive – but have a routine. Mothers are told to keep babies and young children on routine to calm their restlessness and to channelise their energy. For some reason, this nugget from child psychology also works on us humans in dark times. A routine and its predictability gives a sense of familiarity in an unpredictable world and calms stress and anxiety. A routine doesn’t have to mean monotony – it has to mean well spaced out and consistent daily activities
- Have a workspace. Even if it means a tiny space you create on your bed while working. Put a pen/notebook, some water and a nice picture or book or visual next to you to self – motivate. Maintain your ‘workspace’ during ‘worktime’ by keeping it mess free and food free as much as possible
- Block some time out for strategic pieces of your goals, so you aren’t just reacting to work but responding to it
- Neither overwhelm yourself with meetings, nor avoid them altogether. Make effort to be seen and then decide when you want to put the video off
- A lot of my colleagues are avoiding taking leaves – thinking they will be wasting them as a leave simply means one is still stuck at home. I have taken physical rest and mental health days to make up for troubled sleeping and just to get some ‘do nothing’ time and it has worked wonders. The importance of taking a break on a working day during these times is underrated
- When you talk to colleagues in similar situations, as you speak about how different it is from usual working – speak about what you are grateful for in your life and what you find positive. Positive affirmations are good for our mind as well as they beget positivity. Avoid negative talk and if someone is only indulging in that, avoid talking to them if they refuse to change. If you cant avoid them, practice breathing and meditation after speaking to them. 😉
- Make time for self pampering AND for a creative pursuit that you either want to learn or practice -that can be cathartic for you!
- Lastly, nice stationary, visual boards and ambient music put me in a mood to work like a boss!
These are some tips and tricks that I am practising – some on my own, other by watching other positive people around me. There could be many more and I would love to hear what you are doing to keep yourself positively engaged.
Lastly, some of the startup’s founded during 2008-2009 recession as I have been told are Slack, WhatsApp, Airbnb, Uber, Pinterest, Square and Venmo. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries were made during pandemics of last centuries. Can you create your own masterpiece (a music, a food, a dance, a song recitation, a poetry, a painting) or anything that would be your medal that will leave you with good memories of these times for the rest of your life?