As an introvert, I have to say I love working from home. Having my own space to work without having to share it with coworkers and minimal distractions is a dream come true. And even though I’ve been a Product Gym employee working remotely for a few months, I’ve been freelancing and working from home for years now.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all of those years, it is that structuring your day is important. Especially if you want to keep your sanity intact.
I used to find myself almost a bit lost when I first started working from home. Not having a set schedule almost made me feel like a ghost mindlessly floating through air every once in a while. You know what I mean?
Keeping a calendar and a daily to-do list were the first things I tried that I found are helpful when it comes to structuring your day. And if you haven’t gotten into the habit of doing either of those things, I certainly recommend you do.
But a lot of people go about creating to-do lists and adding tasks to their calendars all wrong.
In my experience, most people use calendars and to-do lists mainly for work-related things. And everything else they have to do kinda just falls into the empty slots. (This used to be me). Most of us are very intentional in scheduling and making time for our work but we tend to neglect the rest of our lives.
This is especially true when it comes to working from home. Because we don’t have a distinct separation between work and home, we start mixing the two. All of a sudden we are having 15 minute PB&J lunches and work bleeding into your yoga time.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the flexibility that comes with remote work. It’s one of my favorite things about it. I just think we need to learn to manage that flexibility so we can find a better work/life balance.
The way to go about it is pretty simple. It’s something everyone can easily incorporate into their daily lives. All you have to do is to structure your entire day, not just your workday.
So go ahead: pencil in all your meetings and work tasks into your google calendar (or your preferred calendar method), but also make sure to include things like your lunch break, any errands you have to run, your workout time, etc; into said calendar.
We tend to neglect these things because we’re under the impression that work is more important. But making sure you’re fed and have the proper amount of time to wind down is also important. I would even say it’s more important than work.
The more we start neglecting things like this, the harder it becomes to work from home. We get burnt out, we don’t feel our best physically, and –– more often than not –– our space is a mess! And little by little our actual work becomes affected by this.
You see, it’s all a cycle. And a lot of the time we don’t see how much work affects us until the rest of our life is affected and vice versa. So we must find a way to keep things balanced and working for us and not against us.
Scheduling in my entire day has been the way I’ve accomplished structure in my remote work life and I think everyone should give it a try and see the amazing results for themselves.
I encourage you to try this not only if you’re struggling with finding the time to take care of yourself and your life, but also if you’re struggling to get the gears moving and do some work. It’s very easy to procrastinate when we’re in the comfort of our homes. But I find that it’s a lot less tempting when I have a designated time to work and a designated time for leisure.
Remember, part of the beauty of remote work is its flexibility so your daily structure doesn’t need to be set in stone. You can switch things up when necessary. But giving yourself time to schedule and take care of all areas of your life will make your days go from drab to fab.
And just like that, no more mindlessly floating through your day!