What a lot has changed since my last post. Just two weeks ago life was relatively normal; now social gatherings are cancelled and the streets are quieter. My church is looking at how to stream this Sunday’s eucharist with no congregation present. We are into uncharted territory for everyone.
For some of us, working from home will be the new normal. If you are now sitting at the kitchen table staring at your laptop for long periods, here are my top five tips after working from home for the past five years:
1. Have a routine – there’s no commute and the lines between work and home blur very easily. Set the hours you are going to be at your desk and stick to them. Take regular breaks. Put a reminder to stop for lunch and to finish at the same time the end of the day so that you don’t lose track of time. Make sure you can walk away from your ‘office area’ or pack away your laptop at the end of the day, so that you create a boundary between work and home.
2. Organise for when you are most productive – as far as possible, arrange your day so that you are using your most creative time well. I am at my best in the mornings, so I plan to do my creative work then, leaving other tasks for the afternoons.
3. Deal with distractions – it’s easy to get sucked into social media or the internet. If I am working on something challenging (especially if it’s a bit of a chore!) I find it helps to set a timer to work on the task for a relatively short time – 25 minutes – and then have five minutes break (to make a drink, check email, write a shopping list) and then do another 25 minutes on the task. It is known as the Pomodoro technique – more on this here: https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique
4. Stay sane by keeping in touch with people – it’s easy to feel isolated (even more so these days!) and it’s helpful to be intentional about connecting with people. Check in with them by text and set up FaceTime or WhatApp calls to chat.
5. Get outside – one of the joys of working from home is that there is more time to be outdoors because there’s no travel time to work. I do a walk on the seafront every morning which helps set me up for the day. Fresh air and exercise refresh body, mind and spirit.
There are lots more ways to make this work and it can take time to find your own rhythm. Now I am used to it, I love working from home and would find it challenging to go back to an office job.
If you are new to this or have been working from home for years, please share your experiences and tips in the comments.
Stay safe and well in the meantime.