As we push through our third lockdown (or fourth, who knows?) here in the UK, we have been forced to adapt our routines to fit around working from home on a long-term basis. It has been far from easy, but these five tips have allowed many people to find some form of balance.
1. Prioritise using your calendar
Keeping track of the day and the time can become difficult when working from home on a long-term basis. Working from your calendar allows you to set reminders for tasks that you may have forgotten about on the day or week that they need to be completed. If you’ve been struggling to stay on top of things during lockdown, rest assured that you aren’t the only one. Using you calendar more can ease the pressure of trying to remember everything you need to do.
2. Break down your workload into small tasks
It’s easy to think that working from home means you can get a lot more done because you are in your own space. For some people this is the case, but for others, working from home can allow them to become complacent and less productive compared to if they were working on location. Breaking down your workload for the week into smaller tasks can help you achieve more than if you were to attempt tackling your workload all at once. Being stuck indoors can become a drag, and it is easy to start the procrastination process, but completing at least two tasks a day is better than completing no tasks at all. Tailor your workload to your new environment, not to what you were used to doing before working from home.
3. Schedule regular breaks
Many are the first to admit that when working from home, they can get sucked into what they’re working on and forget to take regular breaks. When working from home on a long-term basis, it is absolutely essential that you make the effort to take regular breaks. Whether that may be to have something to eat or to stretch your legs, sitting in one place for extensive periods of time can disrupt your posture and cause you to overwork because you are in a comfortable space.
4. Get some fresh air
Imagine working from home 9-5 for five days a week and not going outdoors to get some fresh air. It wouldn’t be ideal for you physically or mentally. Taking a walk around the block or doing your weekly shop allows you to get out of the house and take your mind off work for a while. The lockdown has kept us isolated for long periods of time, and many people have become used to staying indoors. There is nothing wrong with being cautious, but fresh air and some sunlight can make a great difference to your mood.
5. Set a clock off time for yourself
Setting a clock off time is the most crucial point of all. If you are a freelancer or self-employed, it can be very tempting to work on your projects all day. Even more so if you enjoy what you’re working on and want to get as much done as possible while you have all this time on your hands. This approach to work can be disruptive to your usual work and sleeping pattern. We all hope to be released from lockdown soon, so it is important to maintain some routine as best you can so you don’t suffer a burn out.
It has been a stressful year for all of us here in the UK, and all of us across the world. It is essential that we stay positive and believe that we will all prevail. Thank you to all our readers for sticking around through these hard times.
T K Williams-Nelson