I would love to hear tips about how to separate work from personal life during this time. With media overload and a mandatory work from home routine, how is everyone learning to unplug and reduce anxiety? Or, if your work routine has slowed down, how are you learning to adjust to a new normal?
I try to embrace the fact that I have an assortment of responsibilities. Some work-related, some personal, and some even might intersect.
To that end, one thing that has helped me is to set timers as a way of separating tasks and having focus time to increase productivity. This sort of thing is sometimes called a Pomodoro timer.
Basically, think about a specific block of time. Not a long block of time. Not hours. 30 to 60 minutes. And dedicated yourself to a singular focus, e.g. your day job, a specific project, time with your kids, running an errand, cleaning, exercising, etc. Whatever you need to do. Set your timer, do that task, and when the timer dings, wrap up the current detail you are working on and stop. Then step away from that focus.
Set a timer, focus on that next thing, and stop when it dings. And if you get interrupted and can't ignore it, just pause the timer and come back as soon as reasonable.
Nothing revolutionary there, but it works for me.
I do think that as workplaces that weren't remote continue to be remote, a good number of them will settle in and understand you can't spend every minute talking on Slack or on a Zoom call if you want to get anything done. It's new ground for those folks and they need to live it a bit before they realize that they need to start baking in breaks and focus time to actually continue to move the organization forward.
I love the timer idea! I've noticed that it's easy for me to get sucked into a task or project and spend more time on it than planned.
Planning out my next morning as I'm wrapping up for the day has also been helpful so I know what I need to dive into as soon as get settled at my computer.
Since I started working for Khoros (from the Lithium side), I've been working from home the majority of my time here. The biggest things I've found to be helpful are:
- Setting a login and logout time. Unless something is pressing (which admittedly happens more often than I'd like), I stick to my allotted hours for the day.
- Keep a physical space where I live only for work. This can be tough in a small apartment, but even going as far as switching the way you're seated can help put you in the right work mindset and avoid distraction. Once you're done working, this removes the anxiety of constantly checking emails even when it's 10PM. Depending on role, this may not always be possible, but it definitely helps.
- Have meetings where you spend time with coworkers, but not related to any particular project. This allows you to brainstorm, collaborate, and work through potential problems -- or just get an idea of what other people are working on. This is easily accomplished with a quick turn of the chair in an office, but I've found it far more difficult to accomplish remotely, so setting time aside is key.
- Block time for mundane tasks on your calendar. If you have to do 2 hours of data entry, set it as busy and work through them in that time period. If you finish early, great, but this helps avoid distraction. Having a good Spotify playlist doesn't hurt for these sorts of tasks as well.
- Buy a good office chair and desk if you can. While this may not be a great short-term solution, you're going to be spending 1/3 of your day in one place. Make sure that place is as comfortable and as ergonomically sound as possible.
- Invest in a reliable coffee machine, you'll probably need it.
Hope those help!
I am extra careful to make sure I eat my meals away from my computer--setting boundaries that meal time and break time are not computer time.
Probably one of the most important things is to create a private space, especially if you are part of a customer service team, and you need to access sensitive customer data. Stop and think about where you are, and what is in the room, I highly recommend a workspace away from your smart technology. Sorry Alexa and Google 😉
This was one of the best articles I've read in the last couple weeks, outlining advice for working from home. The two most beneficial pieces of advice, at least for me, have been no TV and prep your snacks, which is admittedly very difficult with a pantry full of goodies. Instead of watching the news all day, I tune in at 9pm every night for a recap of world events. The snacks remain an issue....
I normally split my time between remote/office, so not really a huge change in that sense. I've also worked entirely remote for years in a past life, so nothing new. My wife also occasionally works remote.
What is different though is having our 2.5 year old at home with us, all day, every day, attempting to finish potty training and all. We're actually starting week 5 of being locked up, as myself and daughter came down with strep/flu like thing for weeks right before the world went into lock down. Then daycare shut down two days after we brought her back. It's been interesting to say the least.
We're juggling between playing parent and trying to get some work done at the same time, taking shifts to go outside as we can with her, get walks in, etc. Trying to give each other a solo break as we can while still get some actual "family" time in vs. what has become a truly intersecting life/work balance where my daughter may show up on camera without a diaper on, or demand some more chocolate milk 🤣
Same - except my 3yo is potty trained. But my 1-year-old is now teething! On the bright side. my coworkers seem to enjoy when the kids show up unannounced for meetings. As long as I am muted first 🙂