Most of us have fantasized about the laidback “work-from-home life”. We have dreamt of trading the dreadful daily commute for extra sleep or TV time. So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, initially it all felt like an extended holiday. We had the luxury to wake up later, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, work from our unmade beds, and scroll Instagram endlessly.
Then the realities began to sink in and this new way of living and working lost its appeal. The truth is, despite what it looks like, working from home is equally (if not more) challenging as working at office. And if you add in the toll this pandemic has taken on all our mental health, then we are looking at a daily uphill battle to stay productive and achieve professional goals.
But, fret not for we understand the struggles of remote working ourselves and bring you practical remote working hacks straight from our Builders to help you out.
I get up super early and sneak around like a ninja to get 2-3 hours of work in before my 6-year-old wakes up. That’s my creative thinking time. The rest of the day, I tag-team meetings, work, and homeschool my daughter alongside my partner.
My tip? Make your weekends special. Weekdays are so repetitive now that although it takes more effort, it’s really worth it. Like we have our own version of Secret Cinema, where we dress up the room and bodge together costumes. It makes watching a movie more of an event. We’re working our way through Star Wars at the moment (I’m Darth Vader). Good luck, everyone!
For me, the biggest challenge with working from home is the lack of daily structure. That is, waking up, commuting, working, exercising, and so on. As such, my top tip is ensuring that I enforce a proper structure for each day. I map out almost every 30 minutes. This practice gives me the structure I need to work effectively.
I also try to talk to as many people as possible; whether it’s on Slack, Zoom or WhatsApp video call to maintain my connection with the team and avoid any potential feelings of isolation that can happen when working from home for a long period of time. If you find yourself becoming distracted, it’s often because you’ve been concentrating for a long time, so it’s important to have regular breaks to be able to maintain effort throughout the day.
I feel like for many people (including myself) who haven’t previously worked from home for a long period, it’s very easy to just spend the entire 9 hours in front of the screen and spend a vast part of the rest of the day in front of it, too. To avoid falling in that trap, make sure you take a short break every hour while working; it’s good for your eyes, your body, and most importantly, it’s good for your mind. Stand up, maybe stretch a little, go make yourself a cuppa, and look out the window. It’s going to help you get back to work with a fresher mind, and I guarantee you’ll be more productive.
It is obviously challenging to keep a positive state of mind these days that you need to stay productive during our daily work. On my side, I tried to turn the current constraints I face into opportunities to pursue personal projects that I normally don’t have the time to do. Gardening has been really helpful and grounding. Growing fruits and flowers from seeds and watching them develop everyday cheers me up and puts me in a good place. My personal hack for everyone would be to ground yourself during this turbulent time through gardening. If you don’t have a garden, a window with a little light, space and fresh air for growing plants will do the trick too.
My number 1 hack is that I always spend my lunch break away from my screen. I try to spend it outside on the balcony or some days I go for a run. I’ve been struggling with anxiety since the lockdown, so I make it a point to wake up an hour before work starts, pamper myself with a grand breakfast and meditate for a few minutes before starting my day. During the day, when I feel overwhelmed with my endless to-do list, I step away, light a candle, fix a cup of tea and cuddle my cat for five minutes. Naturally, I come back to my laptop refreshed. This little trick never fails.
Working from home isn’t for the faint of heart. But it also gives you many opportunities to make it your own and ensure you’re focusing on self-care. As mentioned in this article, taking frequent breaks can be helpful. But what should you do in a break? Take a moment to understand what you’re thinking and feeling with a breathing meditation. As I got my HeartMath coaching certification years ago, I’ve been using heart-focused breathing to help me maintain your composure no matter what.
The best way to start meditation is simply by breathing deeply and focusing on your heart when breathing. Think of something you’re grateful for just a few minutes and you’ll feel renewed afterwards. Finish with regular stretching and movement. For me, this looks like several runs scheduled throughout my day as a break with my dog, Heka, who’s a highly energetic, large Argentinian hound. This also helps keep my dog relaxed during regularly scheduled Zoom meetings so it’s a win-win.
Now let’s hear from all you Builders out there. Already making steady progress with remote working and want to make the most of 2020? Now’s the time to develop your idea with Builder Studio right here. No matter whether you’re thinking of building a blogging app, a dating app, grocery delivery app, a fashion store app, or something else – we’ve got you covered.
We’d also love to hear your remote working hacks. Share your top tips with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. Also, if you’d like regular updates on what’s happening at Builder.ai and get access to our content as soon as it launches, then scroll down and get added to our regularly updated eNewsletter list just below.
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