Though working from home (WFH) is not a new concept to many people – it’s a practice that has been gaining in popularity over the last number of years – however, many of us were given no choice but to work from home due to Covid-19 and we learned working from home is hard work.
I think it’s fair to say that most of us appreciate the opportunity our employers have offered to continue to earn a wage throughout this crisis. Many, like me, have come to prefer working from home, though it isn’t ideal for everyone.
Perhaps you are simply more extroverted and prefer to interact with other people or you may not have the space for a separate office. My “office” is the corner of my living room but as it’s just me and Arthur (my cat) it works very well.
However, if you have family at home, having a desk in the corner may not be ideal. You’re going to have to make more of an effort to concentrate no matter how supportive your family is!
And for others, while they may be able to get much of their work done from home, their job would be much easier in an office setting.
But, even those of us that have taken to WFH like ducks to water, there are days when it’s difficult to power through for eight hours.
Whether it’s from feeling under the weather or suffering from lack of sleep or just “one of those days”, there will be times when you find it difficult to stay focused. And that’s okay. There’s many ways to break up your work day into chunks of time that will allow you to still get work done while relieving some of the pressure. Because, let’s face it, our employers are entrusting us to work from home and that trust should not be abused. I’m sure that your boss also has “one of those days” as well and would likely understand.
If you’re simply having trouble adjusting to WFH, here’s a great article from MindTools to get, and keep, you on track.
If you’re really into the swing of WFH but just having the odd rough patch, below are some of my suggestions along with some professional advice to give yourself a break but still get the work done.
I have found that when I’ve been restless it’s not usually the work getting to me, but lack of exercise. Now, I’m certainly no gym rat and won’t even run to catch a bus, but even I know that going from the bed to the sofa to drink my morning tea then straight to my desk isn’t a good idea. You may not be commuting to work but you still need to have a transition from “home” to “work”.
For me, it’s walking. I try to get out every morning for a good walk. I’ll be honest in that there are some days when the snooze button and I are best friends, but even if you can only manage a 20 minute walk, it makes a big difference. I try and fit in another walk after work or dinner and ideally a quick one at lunch. I’ve even begun incorporating some stretches into my workday. And while I may be about as graceful as an elephant in a tutu, it helps!
Here’s an article from Readers.Com that details the benefits of stretching along with some specific stretches you can do at your desk.
Give yourself a mental break:
Sometimes it’s your mind that’s tired or frustrated and you need to give it a break.
If I’m feeling frazzled or frustrated, I like to make a cup of tea and go sit on the balcony for five or ten minutes – a backyard is awesome if you have one. Otherwise just go to another room, as long as it’s away from your desk; but be sure to leave your cell phone, laptop, iPad or whatever behind. (Take the tea, leave the cell phone, come on, Godfather, anyone?)
The point is to just sit, be quiet and let your mind wander. To be honest, your brain will probably focus on work. But don’t grab hold of any of it, just let it flow and you may end up with a solution to a task or problem you’ve been struggling with – or just come back to your desk a little bit calmer which really is the goal.
Here’s a fantastic article from Medium.Com on how to give your brain a break.
Finding work that isn’t “work”:
Most of us have various aspects to our jobs, so maybe take some time to do something that is still work related and of value to your employer but not the core of your job; perhaps conducting research or writing a blog!
Proper eating habits OR “Are cookies a breakfast food”?
As you have probably surmised from my comments regarding exercise, I am not anyone’s idea of a “health nut”. However, it is important to eat proper meals at reasonably proper times.
If you’re like me, making tea in the morning is challenging enough, don’t tell me to cook breakfast – it’s just not going to happen. Perhaps brunch but isn’t that what restaurants are usually for?
However, even I can find something healthy in the morning – instant oatmeal, whole grain toast, or if that’s still too challenging try some fruit with a small piece of hard cheese or hard boiled egg. You can boil up enough for a few days ahead – and if that’s not your thing you can buy them already hard boiled in little plastic pouches – go figure!
Eating regularly scheduled meals will help keep you on a proper work cycle. Let’s face it, if you’re eating lunch at 3:00 in the afternoon while WFH, are you really going to be that productive for the rest of the day? Unless you’re one of those people that normally eat later meals – though personally, I would never last that long – I’d be “hangry” by 1:30!
Anyway, I’m not going even going to attempt to provide nutritional advice – I’m someone that firmly believes potato chips are a food group – but decent eating habits will help you stay focused, and you don’t have to take my word for it.
Here’s some advice from Harvard Medical on foods to help you stay sharp
Just remember, we’ve all had to get used to WFH and if you have those days where you struggle to stay focused, there’s ways to make working from home, well, work!