Busy, busy, busy. That’s always me. If anyone asks me how I’m going, I will answer with “busy.” No, I’m not showing off or bragging, it’s just my reality. It was interrupted with a bit of isolation time though…….
Taking time out of the classroom, firstly for leave and then holidays with stage 3 isolation, has really opened my eyes up to not only how busy I used to be but how much I achieved in an average day. Going back to work this week has left me exhausted. I mean, it’s always like that when you go back to work after holidays isn’t it?!
This has been a long break, maybe longer than Xmas. It wasn’t a total “work” break though because when I was on leave I was actually creating online learning resources. Can you relate to doing that in your holidays? Even if you’re not a teacher you may have a job where you do a lot of work from home and you can relate.
In the holidays, I tend to keep quite busy too. As a family, we tend to go out every day and rarely ever have a day at home. During our recent holiday, we were lucky enough to be able to go out to the beach or park for exercise. Our W.A. state rules for isolation permitted us to get out for exercise. We also went to the shops for essentials only (we didn’t allow our children to do this though). So, life this way had a lot of a slower pace for the first time ever. We would often say, before the next round of holidays came up, that we would relax for the next holiday. Of course, we never did it!
What I have realised is two things; firstly, I was busier than I ever realised and achieved a lot of “stuff” in an average day, secondly, I thrive on being busy. What I mean by “thrive” though is that I tend to get more done when I’m busy and at work and have very limited time frames to get jobs done. This is great in some ways, I certainly achieved a lot (although as a teacher, you just never seem to get everything done ever).
I don’t know if it’s a really healthy way to live for your mind and body though! Slowing down has made me more aware of looking after my mind health and looking after my body more. Sometimes we need to actually relax. This is a hard one for me but I’m working on it. I always like to feel productive and actually feel a bit guilty if I’m doing nothing productive. One thing that has helped me though is definitely working in the morning and then I’m able to relax in the afternoon or evening.
How to work from home successfully:
- Have a timetable – it might seem structured but it works. I find that I need to schedule time in for work and leisure. Generally, I do work fist (unless I schedule a quick work out in first) and then I feel happier when it’s time to have leisure time. That’s just what works for me though. Whatever works for you, write it down. I’m pretty specific. I give a time-frame when I work. For example, I’ll work from 9-11 and then have a break. I find breaking up large chunks of time into smaller chunks helps. For example, I will work for an hour and then have a ten-minute break to do a load of washing, vacuum or do some other household task where I’m moving and being productive to some degree. Relaxing or jogging might be your “thing” though. This helps me though because I will truly relax after my “have-to” jobs are achieved (that includes paid work and unpaid work).
- Write down specifically what you want to achieve in that time-frame – this is a massive help to me because my attention gets diverted very easily and I tend to go off in different tangents. So, to avoid this, I write down specifically what I HAVE to do first and work on that.
- Dedicate a work area – I have a table that is in the family room. It’s not ideal because everyone shares this area however, my children need the spare room and the other rooms (games and lounge rooms) are not ideal for sitting up right in front of a computer. Anyway, when I sit at this table, it indicates to my brain that I’m in work mode.
- Noise-blocking headphones – because I work in an area of the house that has a lot of people “traffic” I use noise-blocking head phones. I find that instrumental music works best for me. If there are lyrics, then I tend to focus on what the person is saying than what I’m trying to “say” in my work creation. You pick whatever works for you though! I remember studying for my masters when we were renting a very small house. My son was playing X-box (thank goodness he’s moved on from that) in the same room. I survived because of my noise-blocking headphones!
I still use these strategies even though I’m actually back at work now. They are simple but they are effective.
All the best,