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Working From Home – It’s All About Balance

It’s been about a month and a half since majority of us have been sent to work remotely from home in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many of us have likely found ourselves working longer hours than our usual office 9-5. Personally, I’ve found myself working 7-6 almost everyday and logging back on periodically after hours “just to check emails” but mostly because I’m bored and am on the computer anyways searching ‘activities to do when you’re bored at home’ on Google for the 100th time. After about a month of over working myself I took a step back and decided if the “Stay at Home” order were to be extended through summer how could I better separate my home life and my work life? After doing some self refection and talking to a few friends and family who are also working from home I created a few work from home rules for myself.

1. Do not check emails 1st thing in the morning

I am very guilty of doing this everyday, even before working from home. So rather than wake up and check my phone, I’ve been working on turning off my alarm (set for 6AM every work day), going to the kitchen to start some coffee and doing my morning routine of: showering, eating breakfast and having some quiet time to myself before logging on and checking emails.

2 – Get Dressed

That’s right, change out of your pajamas folks. The first couple weeks I would stay in my pajamas all day, although it was comfortable I felt lazy and not put together. So I have my work from home uniform now. It’s basically leggings and a casual top, nothing crazy, but it’s not my sleeping clothes. I think its important to get yourself ready for the day and that means changing from your home attire into work attire. I’ve also enjoyed investing a little more into my work from home lounge looks so when I join zoom or Microsoft teams calls not only do I feel more put together but I present myself as such as well.

3 – Set a Schedule

Working from home also means we have to communicate and over communicate to make sure things don’t get lost in translation via email or pings. This also means that 1/2 your work day can end up in meetings if you don’t properly set a schedule or block out time. My team has shared each others general working hours, mine being 8-4 everyday. This helps my team prioritize meetings for the day. Generally I block out a couple hours for team meetings then block out some time for lunch and a daily walk around the neighborhood. If I’m working on a specific project that needs uninterrupted attention I’ll block out that time on my calendar as well so theres full visibility of when I’m available should another meeting need to take place.

4 – Only work in your workspace

Prior to working from home full time I had a barely there office space set up. Since working remotely early March I have invested heavily into my office space. It’s important to have a well organized, well lit and established work area. Avoid working at the dinner table, that space should only be associated with eating. I had a habit of bringing my laptop to my bed and working there, this made me feel like my resting place and work place were the same and I would often find it hard to rest without thinking about checking emails.

5 – Leave work for the day

Whenever you’ve finished working for the day, “leave” work. That’t right, get up from your work area and go anywhere else. For me this usually means go to my cousin’s room, see what he’s doing and then go to the kitchen to start dinner. This has mentally helped me a ton. When I can, I try to go for a walk around my neighborhood to give me the feeling of leaving the office.

6 – Unwind from your workday

This is something I learned from a friend back in college. Just relax and unwind from your work day. Go for a walk. Have a glass of wine. Call up your parents or friends just to chat. Anything to just relax, unwind and not think about work.

Since making these changes I’ve noticed that my days are more productive and I’m getting a lot more rest rather than feeling like I’ve been working around the clock.

Stay home & flatten the curve friends! Xo, Jillian

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