Hello from Oslo: we’re all WFH now!
Love the tips being shared about working from home (WFH). I’ve been WFH for a couple of years now – like many start-ups, Spektd was nurtured in spare bedrooms, kitchen tables & garden rooms with invaluable assistance from Skype. It’s always great to see how other people are doing it.
So here’s hoping some of my WFH techniques might help.
Dress UP for the chair
Dressing to impress is not the way to go. When I’m off to the office, despite my more flamboyant intentions I tend to end up with a slightly confused Scandi-casual look. I’ll even make the effort of putting on mascara, not with a 100% success rate. So WFH is a time to experiment!
Clothes are powerful psychological triggers. Those comfy slacks you pull on when only your closest ones are around will have strong relaxation associations. I’ll admit, I work in my onesie from time to time - because it’s great - but they’re never my most productive days.
So when you want to power through the work, use the power of clothes! Dress UP for the chair, not DOWN for the couch. WFH means you can test out those weird outfits you’re not sure should go together, but just makes you smile and feel awesome. Short red skirt, pink training tights and orange woolly socks was my latest experiment. Loved it, did some good work, was on my feet all day. But not sure if I’m brave enough to wear this ensemble into the office just yet.
We all get distracted, intentionally or not. Maybe when the sales rep walks into the office with croissants and cakes, or the boss walking purposely your way causing you to frantically review your to-do list.
At home, there are plenty more wonderful distractions. I’ve spent a lot of time staring into the fridge (food again!), cleaning radiator pipes or making extravagant lunches. This is really productive for my home, but not that great for my work.
We do need distractions, which makes having a set routine even more important. Doesn’t matter what your routine is, just set yourself regular working hours. Distractions are when you get to walk away from work and do whatever you want! So make sure distractions are scheduled in your routine, they will also act as mini-deadlines pushing you to finish up something.
You’ll need to find your own level of required distraction; I’m finding two 15-minute breaks and an hour for lunch each day works for me. But I also allocate myself an unlimited number of “Brain Reset” cards, which I can use at any time. These award me a 10-minute walk, like the UK we can still go outside for exercise in Oslo atm. Anyone else feeling fortunate for being allowed to go outside? Strange feeling to be suddenly so grateful for such a basic need.
If you are a parent, no need to plan distractions! Enjoy the chaos and stay strong.
Look out the window
If you had parents like mine, you’d be well accustomed to hearing “get off that screen and go outside”. In our new WFH reality you might now be thinking they had a point.
A couple of years ago I started getting headaches, eye strain and generally thought I was slowly going blind (ok, hugely melodramatic) and would soon need glasses. An optometrist was less than impressed by the hours I spent in front of a screen. She told me that I needed to build up my long-distance eye muscles again, which was also the moment I learned the aforementioned muscles existed. My headaches were not caused by the easily vilified screen per se, but my short focal distance over a prolonged period of time.
You need to work out those eye muscles! Look out of the window and try to focus on something 100m away. Hold your gaze for around 20sec (you're allowed to blink). Repeat every 20min. All done without even having to change into workout clothes!
Yup, some daily exercise
You all knew this one was coming. There are loads of YouTube videos for every conceivable type of indoor exercise, so my only tip is to make it a routine.
My brain loses focus and starts to wander if I type, read or write for too long. So I (try to) break up my day and get my heart pumping with exercise. Some days I’m good for a 40-minute session, on others 10 minutes is all I can do. But at least I’ve done something, and feel good about my dessert. Not much time? Try the “7min” workout app each day. You can spare 7min, it’s not even 12% of a Peaky Blinders episode.
Step one is the hardest: changing into workout clothes. Change at the same time each day. It will all get easier from there. I have problems motivate myself after a day’s work, so I started exercising in the morning. Ok, I failed this morning, more minutes in bed was just too tempting.