How I stopped worrying and started separating my work from my home during work from home.
I know what you are thinking, “another work from home guide” but bear with me for just a minute, I promise this will differ. But before I can tell you how, I must tell you a little about myself.
I am a full-time machine learning engineer working from Bangalore(India), Living in a studio apartment. Working from home since March of 2020, every once in a while I would go to my parent’s house for a few weeks, but other than that it's mostly me and my solitude.
Like most of you, I too enjoyed the initial phase of work from home, the benefits were unbelievable.
- Getting up 15 mins before login hour, no problem.
- Working in your pajamas, no problem.
- Don’t feel like cooking, order-in, you get the idea.
But as the days passed I found it more and more annoying, I started to gain weight because of eating outside. I was getting less work done, at the same time my interest in work went down, even my hobbies of reading and gaming took a hit.
I thought I was missing human interaction so I went to my parent's house for a few days, and very soon realized that's not the problem.
So once I was back, I decided to get to the root of the problem. So I.. googled it like a normal human being. Here is a quick summary of most of the articles I found online.
- Keep a separate room for work, with a full office setup.
- Spend time with your children and family and dogs.
- Connect with people through face time regularly.
- “Be Happy!!!!”
Well, here is the problem, all these points are written for someone who has it all figured out, money, living space, cooking, wake-up time. Well, most of us at this stage in life, haven’t. I don’t have a separate room or children, nor do I wish to connect with people regularly through facetime.
So I decided to create my own set of rules to solve this problem, they are not scientifically proven, but sure do work.
The Imaginary wall
If you are like me and can’t afford an entire room to be converted for a specific purpose, build an imaginary wall and divide your space into designated zones.
For example, whenever you sit on your work desk, make sure you only work. If you feel like using your phone to watch something, get up move to the sofa or bean bag chair. This will help train your mind to focus at work when in a work chair, and let go of office thoughts when lying on the sofa scrolling through the internet or reading a book.
In the same way, never use your bed for work or leisure, this affects your sleeping habit. Your bed should only be used for sleeping, this way every time you are on your bed it makes you sleepy.
Failing to plan, is planning to fail
When I was working from the office, I never had to worry about my breakfast or lunch, I’ll just eat at office cafeteria, but I carried that habit of not preparing meals to my work from home days. I will order food twice a day sometimes, and trust me when you are given a choice between pizza and salad when salad costs more, most people choose pizza.
So I started to plan my weekly meal, and order all the ingredients I need. I found out that making a chart of weekly meals every Saturday not only frees me up from worrying about my next meal, it also is a great way to learn and try(burn) new recipes.
Knowing the boundaries
When working from home and having flexible hours, personal and professional can lose their boundaries very fast. You might end up working till late into the night or get so engaged in movies or TV that you forget about an important meeting.
It is important to create boundaries for yourself and respect them, if you have to get something done, do not procrastinate and get it done. But on the other side make sure you know when to call it a day. Shut down the system and enjoy the rest of the day.
I am going, to be honest here, I myself haven’t fully mastered these ideas, I still find myself scrolling through my phone at my office desk, or attending a call from the comfort of my sofa. But here is the thing, I have been getting better at it over time. And above all I have learned the greatest trick of all to be happy, try to go easy on myself once in a while. I know over time I will improve, and time is all I have, and time is all it takes.
If you enjoyed my writings, here is what you can do.
Leave a clap.
Leave a comment to let me know what is your way of separating work and life.
Share the article with people who you think need it.