I like to work from home, especially when I am the only one at home. I like to WFH less when others in my homework from home or attend virtual classes.
Sounds easy, but keeping a schedule will ensure you take the time necessary for projects, breaks, focus time, and even time to learn more about coding, technologies, and frameworks. A good friend and great leader once told me to wake up early (like you are going into the office), get ready (that means clothes, hair, makeup), and start your day at the same time and end at the same time. How many days have you looked at the time at it's 4 pm, and you never got out of your sleep clothes? Believe me when I say I feel so much better when I actually brush my hair and teeth before 9 am.
Seriously. Sometimes just stepping away from the computer and work area for just a few minutes to stretch, run an errand, take a walk or even not eat lunch at your desk will make a big difference. You will come back, bringing new energy and improved productivity. Try it just for a few days, and let me know if you notice a difference. If using Outlook, My Analytics and Cortana are great resources that help you pre-schedule focus time, learning time, catch-up on meetings, and schedule breaks. They both include a dashboard of your previous schedules. MyAnalytics discovers habits and aid in making your work smarter. This is my favorite of the two; my dashboard displays the last 4 weeks of my designated areas of concentration with a drill-down on specific findings. For example, my Communication habits (don't judge) I sent 258, read 3399 emails, and had 340 chats and calls in the last four weeks. I like most self-discovering; once you see those facts and figures, you can step back, evaluate, and re-prioritize your focus plan.
At first, I didn't believe this and used to take my laptop from space to space and thought it was all good. Having a dedicated space sets the tone for work time and allows you to leave the 'office.' And try this trick, actually leave your office space for a few minutes in the morning, for lunch, and make a quick break in the afternoon. You will come back refreshed and ready to take on the next high priority of the hour.
No, I don't mean to send a work email or chat via teams on a project. I mean, actually, communicate and connect with a human. With all the work from home, stay-at-home, eat, code, sleep, repeating. Please take a moment to reach out and ask how someone's day is going (and really mean it). My golden rule that I strive to live by (well, one of many) is to laugh at least once a day. WFH can dehumanize your colleagues, take a minute or two to catch up on things other than deadlines, debugging, writing code, and troubleshooting. I can't wait to hear your comments about communication, as people either love it or hate it. But trust me, it will make your projects go more smoothly, and collaboration will become easier.
This is big; I mean big aha moment for me. My company is hiring, and bringing in new people in the season of covid can be difficult, but there is an easy way to make them feel welcomed, and you feel happier. We set up just last week a Thirty Thursday Virtual Happy Hour. I see you rolling your eyes, but this was the greatest time ever. We all have been working 11 months remotely, and the only time we do talk is because of a scheduled meeting. Well, I wanted to make one of the new guys feel welcomed, so I set up a zoom call after hours, invited our normal Thursday bunch pre-covid, and just opened a beer and chatting. No agenda, no formality but plan how you have been? Several people have talked about these types of virtual fun events, and I admit I was skeptical, but what was supposed to be a 30-minute event turned into two hours. And after I felt refreshed, energized, and happy that we had the time to chat, and believe it or not, we even talked through a few work issues. We liked it so much we have another scheduled for this Thursday. Will this last forever? Probably not, but I will take what we can get.
Life happens, and we should always remember to stay balanced. These five tips should help with life balance, and laugh a little too.
Let me know what you would add to the list; leave a comment below. I am always trying to make work easier and life more fun.