Updated: Oct 6, 2020
WTF. 2020 has given us the middle finger in more ways than one. If you haven't always worked from home or done remote learning well you probably are now or have been for a while. Working from home has been our gig for many years but now with remote learning it's real easy to get in the "work/school from home" slump. Balancing work, school, and home responsibilities can be a constant struggle. Whether you’ve recently started working and schooling from home because of the pandemic or you have been doing this for a while, finding the blissful marriage between it all can seem impossible.
Here are some things that help us get ready and maintain some sense of balance while working and schooling at home and trying to maintain a personal well-being while also getting shit done each day.
We Get Dressed :)
We know how comfy those jammies are but we feel much more accomplished when we try and dress the part by changing out of our jams each (most) days. Clothing definitely influences our motivation throughout the day and we feel more ready for work when we get dressed as if we are going somewhere. Also, a little blush, gloss or mascara can make us feel so fresh and new. Pick one or all three to boost your mood too. It's likely not necessary to go all out here but a little business casual, a hair do and a splash of makeup goes a long way.
We Have a Dedicated Workspace
Shit gets murky with home and work responsibilities. Our workspaces are set up in the middle of all the daily activities happening in the house. It can be hard to stay focused on work while sitting at the kitchen table with everybody moving about.
If your home allows for it, we suggest trying to choose a dedicated place to work so you can be totally present when you sit down to work. Something simple like putting a desk in the guest bedroom can be a way to segment your work activities and personal life. It gives you a space where you can shut the door and escape the madness. We have been able to move our kids into their own personal space to eliminate distractions. Now everybody can happily focus on work and school tasks.
We Make Plans
At the end of each day we create a plan for the next day. We love and loathe the to do list but it really helps us prepare and get ready to hit the ground running in the morning. Having a detailed plan for the day guides our actions and keeps us on track by avoiding distractions that inevitably come up.
Small household tasks while trying to get work done can be a constant battle. Without a plan to prioritize our work – cooking, dishes, laundry, Netflix (anything other than work!) has a way of creeping in to get the best of the day. A daily work itinerary provides a workflow to focus on and helps to know when to shift from work to home activities. We definitely encourage you to make a plan of attack each and every day.
We Use a Block System
We block out times throughout the day and honor these blocks of time to create some clear boundaries between work, school, and home.
We have a personal block in the morning for tidying, exercising, making breakfast, setting the kids up for school, etc. The workday starts around 9am and we get busy on the computer where we can focus on work stuff for a couple of hours before taking a short break to walk, bask in the sun, or whatever else makes our hearts sing for 15-20 min. before going back to work for a couple of hours. We break for lunch then dedicate at least one or two more blocks of work in the afternoon, depending on how many hours of focused work we need each day.
If a personal task comes up during the work block, we try to wait until break time before addressing it. At the same time, we respect our breaks by holding off on work projects until we are back in a work block again.
The block system works really well for us. If you try it, we hope it will work well for you too!
We Try to Avoid Obstacles
Common obstacles will sometimes just pop up, keeping us from productivity during the workday. We try to quickly identify these obstacles so we can be proactive in setting them aside before they become distractions.
Social media can definitely be a distraction, so turning off notifications is a must. Other times we can get distracted during the day with laundry, cooking, dishes, etc. We try to meal prep and wrap up laundry and other home tasks the night before.
We are all unique and so are our situations which is why you should try to be proactive in identifying your personal workflow and activities that support the balance between your work, school, and home life.
No system is perfect, it's ever changing and can be a lot to juggle but having a plan and a flexible routine and schedule can really help you get the most out of your day.
Above all, cut yourself some slack. We are living and learning and adjusting to new normals. These are all just ways to get the most productivity out of your workday and leave room for personal fulfillment, too. We all know we need it!
Keep on shining :)
Crystal + Tiff