Balancing the boat

Unlike a few years ago where we worked in office spaces, COVID-19 lockdowns have proved that work can be done remotely. In my case, the issue of working from home came my way long before lockdown as I worked for an online writing company as a budding writer. It was here that the need to research before I wrote was birthed. That aside, the job was demanding that sometimes, I had to forfeit some family gatherings to meet a deadline. Pretty annoying, right? However, that might also have been fuelled by the fact that we had differing time zones.

With the new norm, working from home should not, in any way, bar you from enjoying your home. Simply put, your home should not hold you hostage just because it has become your new office. Here are some things you might want to consider:

Have a time frame: It is not right that you work from 6am to 8pm simply because you are home. Granted, you will not lose time in travelling as it normally were so your employer may expect that you turn those into productive hours. While that may be so, remember that there was a time frame within which you worked while going to office. Try, as much as possible to work within that frame even while at home. That would mean that you respect lunch hours rather than work through them and put a cap to work hours at say 6pm. That way, you will have time for your family and yourself.

Make priorities: It is nice to be the ‘go to’ person. However, there is no rule that says you must do everything. To start with, come to terms with the fact that while some things must be done right now, others can wait. That way, you will have an ordered list of things that must be done. The other thing is that you do not have to do everything. In this case, you must learn to know when your plate is full and thus differ other duties either for the next day when your schedule has been cleared or liaise with another person if you have long term tasks. Otherwise, if you make your co-workers and bosses accustomed to pushing things your way all the time, the day you say no, it may rub them the wrong way. You can start making these priorities with baby steps and you will be amazed at how well you love working from home.

Do the essential few: Reading the book, Essentialism, I learned that oftentimes, we have several trivial obligations to which we give lots of attention while ignoring the few yet important tasks. As you work from home and learn how to set your priorities, you also need to divide your tasks into the trivial and important ones. Thereafter, let go of the trivial ones; it takes time but worth venturing into, for the important tasks. That cuts across all aspects of life. You will start becoming more productive in your work and life as a whole.

With these, you will also enjoy your family better because it will no longer take the back seat.

Joan S, a journalist, blogger, and parenting coach