A recent conversation with a friend covered the topic of working from home for extended periods of time. The past several months required many people to telecommute. The benefits and challenges vary depending on the home environment and the work required.
The lack of a commute saves fuel and car maintenance costs. The casual work attire saves on dry cleaning and laundry. Eating at home costs less than eating out. Pared back schedules produce additional flexibility and more family meals together.
Differing challenges offset some of these benefits. Assisting children with school between work meetings and deadlines extends the normal work hours. The high demand for internet speed drains everyone’s reliable access to data and video calls slowing down productivity. Seeing the same people all day, every day magnifies irritating habits.
Whether you experience any of the challenges or benefits of the work-from-home scenarios above, life altering schedules affect us all.
At home we no longer experience the shift between work and home that our previous commute afforded. Although we grumble about commutes taking away precious time, it allows us to mentally transition our day and priorities. How do we transition when we no longer commute?
Some of my techniques provide that valuable mental transition where I change the many hats that I wear throughout the day. Here are some of my go-to ideas:
1. Row on the rowing machine or take a walk around the block right after logging off the work computer. This provides a nice afternoon boost of energy and keeps me more alert during the evening.
2. Creating a menu for the week makes the dinner prep easier. Since I’m not trying to figure out what I’m going to make, I use the dinner prep time as a mental shift where I process any concerns from the day and pray for wisdom.
3. If my workday proves stressful, I spend a few minutes journaling. This allows me to process my thoughts and usually keeps me from continually replaying the events of the day.
4. Read the Bible, especially the Psalms, and spend time in prayer. This helps me keep or get my focus back on God.
I’m sure others utilize different activities, but I also realize many struggle with always being “on” because they don’t transition at some point in the day. They are always Mom/Dad, employee, teacher, spouse, taxi driver, maid, cook, bill payer… wearing these multiple hats for extended periods of time.
It is imperative that we schedule time for self-care. With so many demands continually placed on us with less time to process the events of the day, it is vitally important that we carve out time for refreshing and rest. Remember that God offers that kind of rest. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
How do you meet the challenges of working from home? If you have discovered any successful tips, please share them in the comments to encourage others.