Habit Junkie
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Habit Junkie

How to make Work from Home work for us

Balancing life when working from home

Open Doodles

5 months.

That’s how long it’s been since Work from Home became a reality for many of us. From being confused, to frustrated, to grappling to get on with this new “normal”, we have now had time to process the change and settle down. And it seems this is how it is going to be for many more months, perhaps even a year.

I have been on Work from home for last 3 months or so, and this is what I have realized, there are days when I am so occupied with work that I have no sense of time and where my day goes. I take short breaks to fuel myself aka eat and suddenly it’s time to sleep. Then there are days, when I laze around and can not focus on my work. And on deep reflection, I felt, neither of this is the best way to work- not for my health, not for my work and not for my creative endeavours and definitely not for balance in my life.

I decided to take charge and make a change. I began by setting a goal.

I told myself, I’ll bring balance back into my life!

I spent the last month building new habits and routines, a routine that works for me. If you are feeling how I felt, this may help you as well.

Also, a disclaimer: I am a Morning person and I can’t function without my 8 hours of sleep and that’s something I don’t compromise with. That out of the way, and my goal clear, let’s see what I did and what worked.

Building New Work From Home Routines

The first thing I asked myself was, what routines and habits are important for me. This is a key step to prioritise.

Here is the list of things that I knew either I needed to or wanted to do in a day and the time I could allot.

  • 25 minutes of Meditating and Journal Practice
  • 20 minutes of Physiotherapy Exercises x 3 times a day
  • 30–40 minutes of reading
  • Daily 10 minutes of writing
  • 30 minutes of daily walk
  • Work : 10–12 hours (600-720 minutes) sometimes more.
  • Chill out Time 45–60 minutes
  • AND SLEEP. 8 hours of it. (480 minutes)

I needed/wanted to do all of this through my day and it wasn’t happening. So I started thinking of ways I could make it a possibility.

Setting yourself up for Success

I relied on the following:

  1. Habit Stacking: Habit Stacking is a technique where you layer or stack a new habit with an older habit to ease it in your routine.
  2. Consistency: Do it every single day, at the same time. (The trick here is to find the right time.)
  3. Time Management aka Bullet Journal: This is my bible. I am frankly lost without it. I know how my day and week looks like and I plan for it accordingly.
  4. Compassion: If you don’t get it right it or miss a day, that’s okay. Be forgiving and compassionate to yourself. Try to get back to it. Remind yourself what the goal is, to live a balanced life! Also don’t forget, all of it takes time.

Putting it in Action

After assessing my goals, the routines I needed/wanted to build, I now had an optimization problem- What can I do and when. After reflecting, I knew I needed to make a small change- I needed to change my sleep routine.

I began waking up by 6:45 am rather than 7:30 am and focused on building that for some time. I also wanted to do the most important things first and then spend my evening doing other less important things.

I came up with 3 Action Points:

  • Change the Sleeping Routine
  • Spend the first half of the day on priority tasks
  • Spend the second half of the day on other tasks.

I began waking up early and started getting my 30 minutes of reading in the morning while sipping my herbal tea. Then I spent my time doing back exercises and taking a shower. After which I meditated and filled in my gratitude journal. Then I started spending 10–15 minutes doing my daily writing. I had found a fix to do all that I needed and wanted to do in the morning, before I gave myself to work.

Finally, at 9:30 am, I enter work. At Work, I try and spend my first half i.e before lunch finishing all my priority tasks. After lunch, I try and align important calls and complete deliverable. Moreover, I record everything in my Bullet Journal to keep me on track.

This is how I was able to build a routine for myself. Once again, I am not perfect, I miss days, some days I wake up late (because of late night Netflix binge-watching) and I have to let go of one or the other tasks, but I try to pick myself and get back to it, the next day. That is more important.

I have been able to keep up with this routine for a month now.

I understand that many people start their mornings late and this may seem daunting. But whether you start at 6 am or 10 am, you can apply the same steps to build a routine that works for you.

Make it Work for you!

  1. Set a goal
  2. List everything you need/want to do in a day with the amount of time it takes.
  3. Use habit stacking, time management, consistency and compassion to set up yourself for success.
  4. Identify 2–3 action steps and put it in action.

And that’s it.

Remember what we do everyday defines who we are!

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A publication about productivity, habit formation and getting more out of your life.

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avni vij

avni vij

Learning Experience Designer. Writer. Cat Mom. I write about productivity and habit formation and author a weekly newsletter for self-determined learners.

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