I’ve been working from home full-time for well over a year, but the coronavirus pandemic has got me questioning everything I thought I knew about working remotely.
Working from home under lockdown is completely different to doing so in normal circumstances.
But it doesn’t have to be this way — here are several tried and tested tips to help you gain control of your time while on lockdown.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a separate workspace or office, then avoid it during the weekend — literally shut the door on work on Friday afternoon and walk away until Monday morning.
If you don’t have a homeoffice and you’re making do with your laptop, carrying it around your different rooms, try and put everything work related away when your weekend begins — and keep it locked up.
If you have Slack on your phone, log off, and turn your emails on your phone off too.
If you use Twitter for work, try and avoid it during the weekend. If you still want to use the platform, you could create ‘weekend’ lists and only scroll through the ‘fun feed‘ at the weekend. Go one step further and mute ‘work related’ topics on Saturdays and Sundays.
The temptation to check in throughout the weekend is real, so make sure you do whatever you can to avoid it.
If something urgent comes up and you’re expected to be on call, try and minimize contact and emails to set times during the day. If you have no self-control (like me), there are specific services that lock down apps for a certain amount of time and there’s no shame in using them.
Do something you wouldn’t otherwise do during the week: binge Netflix, read, listen to podcasts, go for a walk (if you’re allowed to exercise outside), soak in the tub, take a long shower, bake…. You can see where I’m going with this.
Do you like to paint? Or do you prefer building stuff? Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, do it.
Think about what gives you joy and plan to do it at the weekend — this way you’ll keep yourself busy but it will also give you something to look forward to during the week. I like to plan video calls with friends and family and spend as much time outside in the garden as possible.
If you’re single, you could even plan a virtual date.
‘Dolce far niente’
It’s easy to get caught up in everyone’s apparent willingness to keep busy.
I don’t know about you but my Instagram feed is filled with people doing all sorts of activities in an seeming attempt to keep busy all the time (and looking great while doing it, damn them).
By all means work out, or clean your fridge, if that’s what you really want to do but remember there’s nothing wrong about being idle — especially when you’re busy working from home all week!
In fact, the Italians even have a phrase for it: Dolce far niente, pleasantly doing nothing. Embrace it.