Like so many others, I now work from home. The desk that used to be for school work has now become my work desk. It’s also still my school desk, because where else am I supposed to go to do course work? That desk is also about four feet away from my bed.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I currently spend a lot of time in my bedroom, and a lot of time at that desk. My current work-from-home arrangement doesn’t feel sustainable; everything is blending together way too much.
So, here’s my attempt to create some type of routine, structure, balance, differentiation. Here’s my new work-from-home manifesto.
I will maintain my morning routine. Get up, eat breakfast, read Academica, get ready, etc., before unpacking my workstation for the day. Key word: before.
I will get dressed every day before starting work. “Dressed” is allowed to mean leggings and a sweatshirt, but does NOT mean wearing the same pyjamas I wore to bed last night.
I will keep a commute. My bus ride to the office has always clearly marked the difference between work and home- and for me, has often been a time to just think, or a time to read. Just because I don’t have to commute anymore doesn’t mean I can’t keep that routine. I haven’t decided quite what this will be yet, but I’m considering a walk around the block, or 10 minutes of reading to start and end my day.
I will create a separate entrance for my “office”. With my bedroom now being the place I work, go to school, sleep, read, do all the things, how on earth are my body and brain supposed to know what to expect next when I walk through my bedroom door?! I’m lucky that my bedroom has a door that leads to the balcony. That door is now the entrance to my office.
I will put up the blind and open the window. Let in the light and air! It makes the world feel at least a little less suffocating.
I will find playlists that aren’t distracting, but provide a little bit of background noise.
I will NOT eat lunch at my desk. All lunches are to be eaten at the kitchen table, and the remainder of the lunch hour will be spent on the couch with a book unless, of course, I have a virtual lunch scheduled. But those can happen on the couch too).
I will have at least one casual conversation with coworkers every day. I have very intentionally scheduled “catch-up” conversations with co-workers that I would typically frequently run into in the hallways or in meetings. There’s no agenda, and no work conversation required- just a chance to be people together.
I will create space between meetings– and move during that time. The first day I had three back-to-back video-conference meetings was a struggle. Usually, I change rooms between meetings, and I have casual conversations with colleagues before and after a meeting. Now, I just click a button, and all of a sudden I’m in a new meeting, and it’s go-time. I’m hoping that we can collectively decide to end all meetings 3-4 minutes early to give a little bit of brain space, and I’m going to use that time to get up, step away from my desk, and do something intentional. I might use this time to do 10 jumping jacks, 5 push-ups, a 30-second plank, or turn on one of these videos– something to create movement and separation between meetings.
I will find places to have meetings that aren’t my desk (sometimes). When I’m at work, meetings are never at my desk… that would be really weird. So I’m not sure why I feel as though I always need to be sitting at my desk for meetings now that I’m working from home. That simply results in me sitting at my desk for a full 7 hours every day, and that’s a lot! Going forward, on days when I have multiple meetings, I’m hoping to meet from my couch, my balcony, my kitchen table, my bed… anywhere but the desk!
I will cover my workstation with a nice scarf at the end of the day. This signifies that the day is over (or beginning, when I uncover it every morning), and helps to put work “out of mind” during evenings and weekends… even when my desk is now four feet from my bed.
This list will likely change and evolve as I figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. It’s worth figuring it out, because as far as I can tell, this is going to last awhile.