Tips for WFH: Part 1
Working from home (WFH) or home-based learning (HBL), whichever is applicable to you, is no easy feat. It certainly is not the same as the real-life interaction or experience that we were all so used to pre-pandemic. Now, our reality is not quite the same and we all need to adapt to these changes for the health of our own body and mind – so here are some tips to help make your WFH (or HBL) experience a better one.
1. Set Boundaries
It’s important to set clear boundaries for the time dedicated to work and the rest that are not. I find that being strict with my regular hours takes extreme discipline considering the abundant sources of distraction lying around the house - whether they are external distractions like social media and music, or even internal distractions like daydreaming or hunger. So eliminate as many of these distractions as possible so you can get in the zone for work! But also don’t get too into the zone because it can be just as easy for your working hours to bleed into the time you have set for anything other than work if you’re not careful. When I find myself struggling to find this balance, I remind myself of the wise words that my friend Laili shared - that “self-discipline is, in a way, a form of self-love”. It’s loving yourself enough to be strict and save yourself from the consequences of procrastination. I love viewing self-love and self-discipline through such a lens, it helps!
2. Communicate and Set Rules
Over-communicate if you have to, when it comes to your family. It takes a lot staying cooped up with the same people in the same household so it’s important to communicate and set boundaries for yourself and for others. Everyone has their own schedules and routines, and understanding and respecting that will greatly benefit everyone. If someone has a work meeting, don’t make your sole decision then and there that you’re in need of a karaoke sesh - I’m exaggerating, but you get the point! 😋
Additionally, now that you’re not meeting your colleagues/teachers/classmates face-to-face, communication is most crucial! With the lack of communicative signals that in-real-life communication captures best such as body language, facial expression or tone of voice, the risk of miscommunication runs higher. When engaging in online correspondence, remember to be as clear and precise as you can so as to rule out any possibilities for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. That way, you actively minimise leaving room for any miscommunication to occur.
3. Create a Morning Routine
To help differentiate the start of the day and the start of work, you can do simple things to help establish a morning routine before starting on work. It can be as simple as getting ready or dressed up, waking up an hour earlier just to get in the right mindset, or even making yourself a proper breakfast. I used to skip breakfast before school and work. If you do that too, you and I can take this opportunity to create new, healthier habits! Just one of the many perks of zero commuting time. 😉
4. Dedicate a space to be your “office” at home
Remember the very first point of setting boundaries? This is also one way you can do that! I personally cannot work while on my bed. I either end up sleeping or doing anything but being productive. If you’re the same, I find that setting aside space for work helps with focus and setting up the right mood. A clean table and a clock serves as a reminder that it’s time to get work done. I understand that if you’re someone that needs a change in scenery to keep on your toes, a little tweak to this point may be needed. Find what works for you - be it staying rooted to one designated spot, or rotating from your study table to your dining table, or shifting to somewhere a little more scenic!
5. Get Cosy
I believe in long term investments! If you find that certain things help you feel more at ease when doing work whether it is a pillow to support your back, or a candle to keep the stress at bay, don’t be afraid to get comfortable at your work space! Working from home has some advantages, one of them being comfort. Just don’t get too comfortable that it’s at the cost of your focus and productivity, yeah?
6. Take Breaks
Don’t forget to take breaks here and there! You can start simple by looking into the distance for 20 seconds and allow the eyes to refocus after every 20 minutes of looking at the computer screen. Maybe once an hour, you can stand up and walk around or stretch to get your blood circulating. I recently visited my doctor and she had mentioned that the injuries she tends to are now changing as more people start to work from home, such as an increase in patients who suffer from computer-related hand issues. It definitely made me reflect on all the small things I’ve been doing that might affect me in the long run!
Speaking of taking a break, let’s pause here. But that’s not all the tips that I have - stay tuned for part 2, coming soon! Till then, take care and stay safe. Happy WFH!