So you’re working from home this week, or next. Maybe you’ve been told you have to, or given the privilege of just taking part to help mitigate things. No matter the reason or length of time, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you’re following a rhythm. When things do settle, the potential adjusment period for not only the economy, but for indivuals will be something we all may need to pay attention to.
After more than a decade of of freelancing or being self-employed, I’ved learned a thing or two about how much of an impact rhythm has on work ethic and mental health. Long ago, between kids, family, and keeping up with house life, I learned how to prioritize. And with prioritizing in mind, how to successfully juggle many balls in one day… from home. While I hope the everyday juggle is a tad slower, I equally hope it is less distracting, while still fruitful.
For me in particular, ever since our family trip to Miami, then a friend visiting, then being thrusted in the non-stop news cycle, it has been more difficult than I’d like to admit. So much so, I wrote a newsletter about it. While rythms are good, I’ve learned they also offset the posibility of inequality in my moods and mental health. There seems to be a feeling of such a lack of control lately, but if we take care of those around us and ourselves, even when it comes to our routines and work from home lives, I dare to believe we’ll all be better off for it.
When this is all said and done, I won’t return to the office. My desk and the cafe will remain me my workplaces of choice. But, I need to work while also staying within a routine, like the next person.
Here’s a few things to consider:
- I hear a lot of talk about Netflix. Sure, go ahead and catch up in the evening. But it’s warm, and the sun is out, thankfully. If you’re not used to watching TV and interested in taking care of work and yourself, I think it’s best to keep the TV off unless you’re actually off.
- Speaking of being off, clock in and out. No matter if you have to. Stick to a time in the morning to turn on and turn off. And more importantly, find ways to help you transition to the on and off. For me, turning on means a host of things (including taking the kids to school, having a coffee, meditating, and setting a few minutes for news and blog reading). When it’s time to turn off, close the computer, switch on or off a light, light a candle. Just do something to actually transition your mind.
- Transitions are hard, aren’t they? Lunch was one of the hardest transitions for me for many years. I have to be intentional about making sure I eat. This year, I feel like I truly figured it out. Personally, I’ve found that I need go out for lunch. Or actually stand up, make a lunch, and change my physical enviroment (the stoop is always a good idea). If I’m in a cafe working, it means I step out and actually go somewhere else to eat. Small but large things really help. No desk eating. I repeat, no desk eating. Especially, if you’re working from home.
- Speaking of, rhythm doesn’t mean boredom. The benefit of working from home is that you can choose to truly have extended lunch breaks. So for me, my extended lunch breaks have been to work out for 28 minutes, to take a walk, to get on a call with a friend, or break out in a mid-day dance party. I enjoy being with myself in such a way, because I’ve learned how to take pleasure in it. I appreciate it so much.
- Have little kids at home? Explain parent-work rules. While it feels impossible to have children understand the abstract idea of having a parent present that needs to work, I’ve learned that letting language lead is SO wonderful. I articulate when and how I’m free. I set them up with snacks, games or tv (and don’t judge myself). They understand what they hear. They care for what they see.
All this talk about working from home is a real privilege. That goes without saying. Especially, if your job pays you to do so. If you’re a freelancer like me, you may be a bit worried about the toll of less activity in such a way. If you’re in the gig economy, you may be more worried, because WFH isn’t an option. No matter where you are, I’m thinking of you. And hoping we all find a way to care for ourselves in a financial and mental health way in the coming weeks.
Any tips of your own?
(photos by Domino of my home tour, in which I share more tips.)