Welcome to a new series about the joys (and anxiety attacks) of suddenly working from home. Tune in daily for the next couple weeks. Here goes …
Not everyone is like me. But a lot of you are. We function beautifully when most things are happening in our carefully orchestrated way. Walk at 5:15 a.m., shower at 6:30 a.m., office by 7:30 a.m. Put out fires on Monday. Rotary on Thursday at 7:00 a.m. Creative meetings over lunch Friday at noon. It’s not always obvious how much many of us crave, and thrive on, routine.
Then some idiot throws a wrench in the works, and the next thing you know, there’s no commute to work. Now what? Maybe I’ll get more sleep like my doctor’s been bugging me about. Maybe I’ll negotiate that new contract in my PJs with bed hair. And maybe I’ll know I missed eating lunch when I notice it’s dark outside.
The King Print & Promo team decided about two years ago that we hated our landlord, hated our respective commutes, and that we were all really productive on the occasional times we worked from home. We experimented for several months before we had to cancel our office lease, and everyone loved it (except me, who was a bit lukewarm; but I’ll save that for a future post).
Several members of our team immediately got way more productive. But some of us got way more confused. That would be those of us who needed that routine just a bit more. We struggled for a bit, until we realized we could re-engineer our routine. Here’s what worked for us;
- Still set your alarm, still get dressed, and be ready to start work at the same time every day. The idea of working in pajamas may be appealing, but the reality can sway your view of “work”
- Before you head to your “office” (whatever that might look like now), leave the house if only briefly. Walk around the house, around the block, or go get a cup of coffee. It helps to psychologically separate home life from work life.
- Keep a calendar, and religiously follow it. Just because there’s no one in the office next to you to notice you blew off your meeting, routinely going rogue is a slippery slope that’s hard to climb back up.
- Get away from your desk at least every two hours (how frequently varies based on your type of work, but as a general rule, however often you think you should give yourself a break, cut that in half). In our dream world, it doesn’t seem like people that work from home could be workaholics, and never leave their desk. In reality, it is so very easy to fall into that trap. Hours worked doesn’t equal high productivity. Taking a break to move around is good for your mind, body AND the bottom line. Go to the basement and practice yoga. Read 10 pages from your Kindle novel on the porch. Or ideally, get outside and take a quick walk. The change of scenery has a way of (literally) making you see things differently.
That’s it for now. Tune in for more tomorrow!