Working from home is no easy feat and can present unique challenges for those across any employment sector.
For example, you could be working diligently on time-sensitive issues, such as a spreadsheet due in an hour, and that’s the exact hour where many things happen, like the neighbor mowing their non-existent lawn, and your dog randomly barking at nothing in particular. On top of that, you have an urgent Zoom conference, and you just want to curl into a fetal position, and nap until tomorrow.
It can be pretty aggravating and annoying when we tell our loved ones to give us some peace for the day, but those same loved ones do not honor our boundaries. Plus, we can’t exactly go up to our neighbors or the pet dog and tell them to quiet down either.
As a 5-Star crisis responder who works remotely to help vulnerable people in distress, having a great attention span is a very important quality to have. All it takes is some very specific utterances and kind gestures to steer clients towards a more goal-oriented focus, even when things seem incredibly tough for them.
However, it can be increasingly hard to keep your focus sustained when you’re filled with many distractions from home. Even the best of us have boundaries, and sometimes those boundaries cannot be accommodated. For example, if you’re a working mother or father, you still need to take care of your families, all the while juggling corporate interests.
Some of us professionals have a tendency to accidentally overwork and we end up losing time with the ones we love the most. If one or more individuals in your family had expectations that we would all have a Zoom chat later in the day, some people might bail and take a nap instead, which is kind of understandable, given the collective fatigue of 2020.
Balancing life and work within the same environment may require an exceptionally higher degree of self-discipline, especially as you’re balancing multiple needs and interests while not getting overwhelmed.
Plus, multi-tasking is a commodity that can get easily drained. While it’s easy to feel incredibly tired, there are many ways to keep yourself replenished and productive.
1. Move our Bodies
When you work remotely, you’re often sitting in front of a computer screen for many hours at a time. It’s easy to get used to this sedentary approach of working, but we are human, and we deserve some breaks every now and then.
Even if your boss is mean, they are also human like us, so if you really needed to, you can absolutely throw in a few minutes for each hour or so, just to stand and reorient your body and mind.
Taking the time to stretch your body in between tasks can do wonders for your well-being, like reducing physical tension in the legs or arms, alongside making you feel productive. If you can, perhaps you can take a small walk into your backyard, or through a wide path nearby.
If you’re getting stuck on a specific problem or idea, we can get our brains further oxygenated by the fresh air outside. As the research has noted, taking a small jog outdoors can allow us to remember new ideas or generate creative but novel solutions. Once we’re away from our problems, it’s easier to come up with new solutions.
2. Examine Our Goals & Create Structure
We sometimes think about the purpose we are serving, especially when it comes to our career aspirations and overarching goals. When you’re working on a tedious and repetitive task, reminding yourself of the reasons why you are doing this specific job, can keep you grounded for the time being.
For example, perhaps you’re working hard because you want better financial opportunities for your family, especially the kids and grandkids. These constant reminders will help in making your boring and worrisome tasks much easier to stomach.
At first glance, our overarching goals can be pretty overwhelming, but breaking down these goals into more manageable subtasks can make it easier to do the things we need for our overarching goal. If you have an actionable list of items, you can prioritize your most important tasks based on urgency and importance. From there, you can continue to maintain a semblance of structure that makes you feel productive and great.
Maintaining regular breaks while having some time for leisure and exercise can help with managing high levels of predictability and structure. If you give yourself the illusion of having too much free time, you might start to slack off. If you’re too busy, then you have no time for family. Finding that balance is really important, and it might take some trial and error, but it will be worth it once you figure it out.
3. Maintain and Forge Reliable Interactions
As verified through scientific research studies, we are inherently social beings, and we are meant to connect with others across a wide variety of topics. When working remotely, it’s harder to cultivate and sustain our social community, like we once did in the past.
While fostering some semblance of a relationship can be tedious to some people, especially during times like these, virtual interactions can keep us validated when we think things are going terrible, as other people may be going through something similar.
Being proactive with virtual engagements can help us feel like we belong to an overarching community, and with it, a sense of purpose, especially if others have similar professional goals to you. Even if friends are hard to come by, at least there are professionals who are willing to network, even if they have their own reasons for doing so.
Feedback from coworkers, alongside consistent engagement, can help us generate new insights, alongside bouts of humour, and new friendships. While we don’t necessarily expect friendships from the others that we meet, perhaps they can still arise, kind of like our regular social interactions. Perhaps these professional friendships could lead to something greater, such as future partnerships and professional alliances.
Either way, when push comes to shove, there are plenty of ways to keep sustained, and even if we struggle to keep afloat, there’s always someone out there who understands how we feel.