Self Care May 29, 2020

Share your PRACTICAL advice for maintaining work/life balance while WFH consecutively

Bruno Raljic @brunor

I'll start with one below. Hopefully we can build a collection of actionable tips that we could start doing TODAY. So, no theoretical discussions e.g. whether going for a walk is a good thing. Also, please provide a reason for your tip.

So, here's mine that I've started doing

At the end of the working hours - Pack your laptop in your backpack. Don't just close the lid. Unplug any dongle, cable, everything. Next morning setup everything for your work. This way you'll prevent yourself from that urge known as "just check this tiny little thing that will eat 2 more hours of my free time". No matter if you are at the same desk in your home for every day, just start doing this. If it seems like too much remember that in pre-corona times you were doing the same things. Plus commuting.

Reason for this tip is that in consecutive wfh you may lose the sense when are you working and when you're not. So you can switch to a 16h+ working hours which is not good. You'll burn out. You're also "stealing" time from your family (if you live with someone).

Who's sharing their advice next?

  1. 3

    Know your most important task for the next day (coding, writing, thinking, filing taxes, making sales calls, whatever).

    In the morning, avoid email/news/media/alerts until you've made meaningful progress on the top thing.

    After doing the top thing, feel free to stop working for the day at any point, knowing that your best hours went to your most important thing.

    I think most work stress comes from doing the urgent/unimportant/immediate tasks until we've used up all our time, and then we feel like we're trapped at our desk for ours because the important thing is still untouched.

    1. 1

      Hey Rob,

      Yeah, I can recognise myself in this. But you have great tips here in general on productivity. Not just related to WFH. I often start to open tons of things in the morning, just to check something. Even if I know that e.g. I need to do an important call. But that's also because I don't like calls, so I'll find a way of not doing them 😅.

      I'll give this a try. Can't lose anything. Agree that these small task eat up all the time, and gues what, they're just comming. I'm constantly adding up things I need to read or check. In the end of the day - you don't acomplish anything. Of course, not always but these days happens too.

      ---
      offtopic, IH is a great place to communicate with the people you wouldn't probably have a chance elsewhere 😉

  2. 2

    I do many things and I did them before as well.

    Closing my computers two hours before sleeping to improve my sleep.

    Drinking a glass of water directly after waking up to hydrate again.

    Fasting with zero to increase my focus and concentration during work.

    I block periods of time in my calendar for friends and family. I use my app for this. Without I tend to neglect this.

    In the morning I exercise to become more alert.

    I pick three most important tasks and do them first. After that I work on anything I want. This is to avoid procrastination and enable working on hard / uncomfortable things.

    I’m also meditating now for almost two months. Works well so far. It gives me calmness and clarity before sleep.

    All of these routines are usually at the same time as it’s easier to get used to it.

    My meta advice is to do only things that make sense for you and to only keep it, if it works and stays beneficial. I tried many things and only few things worked for me.

    1. 1

      hey, it's a nice list of things you're doing. Might steal a thing or two.

      Can you write a bit more about meditation part, what does it look like etc.

      1. 2

        I'm glad that you find it useful.

        Do you have any precise questions?

        The meditation is very simple. Right now it's in the evening but you can also do it in the morning etc. I am calm in the morning with my thoughts. That's why I do it in the evening. I recommend a regular time for any habit.

        1. I stretch a bit.
        2. I sit down on a chair.
        3. I start some timer on an app (what app doesn't matter).
        4. I close my eyes and breathe.
        5. I focus only on my breath.
        6. Eventually I will think about something.
        7. I become aware of my thinking, acknowledge it and let it go.
        8. I focus only on my breath again.
        9. Timer is up. I open my eyes and drink a bit of tea or water.

        This is an unguided meditation with just a gong every x minutes. You can also start with a guided breathing meditation or anything that works for you. Sometimes I also do a loving kindness meditation. There you focus only on repeating sentences in your head to wish yourself and others well.

        I think people have too many expectations about meditation in the beginning. It takes a routine and time to see benefits. You need very good meta habit skills (the habit of keeping a habit) to build and keep the routine. That's why I struggled many years.

        If you let go of expectations and accept that there's no failure or success in meditation it's easier. One day maybe many thoughts come that's no problem. Another day you're completely calm. Both are okay.

        1. 2

          No precise questions, more like to hear what you're doing. I assume there are a ton of variations. For people who are outside of it, they are like - oh, he's doing MEDITATIONS, move on, it's not for us.

          I've attended few breathing session when we have some company event. It's nothing organised, more like a open space format, so a colleague of mine organised it for a few people interested. She explained the basics in a similar way you did.

          Thanks for sharing

  3. 2

    I know WFH can mean varying schedules, but my biggest tip to balance the scales is to "schedule" certain times as "non work" times.

    Some examples : workout at 6 pm. Walking the dog at 7 pm. Movie with kids at 8 pm. Dinner with family at 9 pm.

    This forces you to not work during these slots and any other you decide.

    1. 2

      Yeah, defining non-working time slots is also a good thing. Sticking to it is a thing of self-discipline. I'm dealing with my discipline by "hiding" things from myself. In my example it's adding a physical constraint to check something while I'm supposed not to work.

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        I like it. It forces you to be done with work and not go back until the next day!

  4. 1

    I’m coaching founders and startups on the aspects of motivation and productivity and (distilled) basis is:

    1. Make a work assigned space (one desk that will be only for work)
    2. Make a routine (time, ceremony)
    3. Establish clear boundaries (with your housemates, friends, family, and coworkers)

    Having clear and healthy foundation makes for a superb WFH experience, it just requires a little bit of guidance and effort first 😁

  5. 1

    I built a mindfulness app on this very principle. There are a lot of mindfulness and meditation apps out there mostly in the camp of audio, guided meditations. We went the way of building a daily feed of bite-sized content that you can consume in less than 5 minutes a day. No audio, just solid, short, actionable content to help you reduce stress and improve focus and productivity.

    Please check it out at www.calmascent.com.