The New Normal: Making the Most of Working From Home
The last year and a half changed a lot of things for everyone. Between the government and the people, a lot of different things were implemented to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic. Some of these differences are fading away as we make our way out of the woods, but it’s undeniable that some adjustments will likely be long-lasting and impactful on our society.
One cultural shift was the pivot to working from home as compared to offices and other team workspaces. Everyone from corporate employees to freelancers had to get used to staying in and buckling down to get their work done. Some people had to find new ways of making income to deal with the loss of jobs and opportunities. I’m absolutely one of those people! I really dug into writing when I watched the world go on lockdown. It was an opportunity to grow despite the hardships I saw outside. Going through the different phases of streamlining my day and balancing my efforts is an ongoing process, but I have more clarity nowadays. If you’re open to it, I have some thoughts that you might benefit from.
Now that you have more control over your workspace, make the most of it! It’s up to you to make an effective “office.” Experiment with different locations, chairs, music, and more. You can blast your playlist as loud as you want (given your roommates are chill)! Keep a clean desk to eliminate distractions, and take responsibility for staying on task. It’s empowering once you have trained yourself to get into the flow of work when you sit down!
Figure out when you need breaks and for how long. No one is going to notice if you take 10 minutes to go lay down on the couch or to step outside and get some fresh air. Take advantage of that! I had to quite literally set milestones each day that I would have to complete before checking my social media, but the difference was that it was my decision and mine alone.
The sudden freedom and free reign you have over your workspace is a double-edged sword! No one is there to make sure you’re focused, and all your favorite things are within a few seconds of you strolling through your house. This can work for you as much as it can work against you. Create a rough daily schedule of things you need to feel as though you’ve had a fulfilling day. Make it your goal to push yourself; check all your boxes despite the temptation to take it a little easier. Give yourself more to accomplish during the day than simply hitting your deadlines. This gives more purpose to your day and helps you grow. You can plan around your work, and create a daily life that feels like a better fit for you.
When you’re deep in the daily grind, It’s easy to spend an entire day inside. When everything you are expected to complete can be done from the comfort of your home, the latter half of the day rolls around and you’re ready to chill out. You’ve been working, so there’s always a good excuse to just kick back and not move much when you’ve got some things done that day. Be wary though, of making this a habit! Take the extra 10 minutes, half-hour, or whatever it might have taken to commute, and spend it outside. It’s already hard enough to find time outside when you have to fit in all your other responsibilities, so try to make it a priority. You’re human, treat yourself like one!
It’s scientifically backed that seeing fewer people and getting less sunlight is a recipe for depression. Stringing together days of neither creates a snowball effect where it’s hard to turn your mindset around. You can accidentally make yourself lonely by getting caught up in your kingdom at home. Catch lunch with a friend, or call a loved one. If you don’t always have friends available, take a bike ride or a walk around the block. Light up and take a free vacation (but maybe after your work is done). Give yourself some natural boosts for your mood and mindset!
It’s a change of pace to do all your work from your own home. As you can see, there are ups and down. As far as I’m concerned, this is an awesome opportunity to create a life more akin to what you dream of. I want freedom, and I want to feel like I can truly make my days beneficial. Working from home isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve decided to go down that path, I hope you make the most of it! Good luck.