Does anyone else feel like they’re still somehow trapped in March 2020? Schools are closed, stay at home orders are back in place, meetings are over zoom, and social distancing looks set to stay for the foreseeable future. I think it’s safe to say, the last (almost) year has been more than a little challenging to navigate! And, if your situation is similar to mine, you’ve probably found yourself working from home – again!
Back in November, I swapped my office desk at The Edwards Company HQ for my dining room table, and it kind of feels like I’ve been sat here ever since. I’m definitely not complaining – I feel incredibly lucky to have a job that allows me to work from home, I’m safe and well and have a constant supply of snacks on hand – but I’ve found that switching from office-mode to WFH-mode isn’t always easy and does require a little brain adjustment.
To begin with, I found the whole thing a bit difficult to get used to. I’m a creature of habit and thrive on routine (literally could not function without my colour-coded daily schedule), so having to disrupt that made me feel a bit wobbly (?)—nothing major, just a bit unsure, a bit off-kilter. Luckily for me, though, the The Edwards Company team are fab and made my first few weeks of working remotely as easy and as stress-free as possible.
Now that I’m a seasoned pro at this lockdown life, I’m well and truly in a brand-new routine that seems to be working thus far and am definitely moving towards finding that perfect work-life balance. As so many of us are currently working from home, I thought I’d share what a day in my lockdown life looks like, as well as a few tips and tricks for effective home-working that I’ve picked up along the way.
We’ll start with my routine – I’ll warn you now, it’s nothing ground-breaking. It’s simple but effective, and certainly works for me!
My Work From Home Routine
6am – 6.30 – This is my usual wake up time. 6am most mornings works for me, but if I feel like I deserve a little treat, I might not get up until 6.15 (reckless, I know). I’ll then spend around 30 minutes getting dressed and ready for the day. It can sometimes be tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day when you’re working from home because, let’s face it, who’s going to see you apart from the dog? But I honestly feel that getting dressed, putting my makeup on, and generally just making myself look presentable makes me more productive. I’m going through the motions of getting ready for work, and thus my brain feels ready for work…I’m sure there’s some psychology behind it somewhere.
6.30 – 7.30 – This is dog walk time! As I’m the only member of my household working from home, it falls to me to make sure our two energetic (slightly unhinged?) cockapoos get the exercise they need. While the pitch black of winter mornings and incessant drizzle isn’t always the best motivator for getting up and out, it’s got to be done and is actually very beneficial. The exercise wakes my brain up, blows out the cobwebs and leaves me feeling fresh, energised and ready for the day. I think I’d find it really difficult to be productive if I just rolled out of bed straight into my make-shift home office without anything in between. An early morning walk is definitely one of my top recommendations for working from home – if you have the time, get up! Move your body, walk around the block, or even just around the garden. It really does help!
7.30 – 8.30 – yes, I absolutely do dedicate an entire hour of my day to breakfast. Getting the right nutrients into your body before your working day starts is vital to productivity. Breakfast breaks the overnight fast and restores your glucose levels, making you feel much more awake and alert. I’ll usually grab a bowl of cereal, piece of fruit and a cup of tea (or more often than not a hot chocolate with whipped cream, don’t judge) and then I’m set for the day. I’ll usually watch a bit of TV, read a few pages of my book and set up my office space during this time too.
8.30 – 1.30 – Work, work, work! I sit down at my laptop at 8.30, check my emails and schedule and then get cracking. My role at The Edwards Company is mainly social media-based so I’ll spend a good chunk of time planning/writing/designing upcoming content, scheduling as I go. I’m also responsible for, you guessed it, copywriting! Sometimes I’ll be writing blogs for us, and sometimes they’ll be for clients – either way, I dedicate as much time during this first block of the working day to writing. I always feel more productive in the mornings, so I try to get any writing tasks done during this time – that way, my brain doesn’t melt after lunch!
1.30 – 2.00 – lunch! The best 30 mins of the day, so make the most of them! I like to prepare my lunch the night before so that I don’t have to use my lunch break to mess around with making sandwiches. I’ll eat first (priorities) and then, weather dependent, I’ll take the dogs out into the garden for ten minutes of fetch. Getting out in the fresh air just helps to break up the day a bit and means I get a few more steps in! Then at 2pm, it’s back to the dining room for some more work.
2.00 – 4.30 – unsurprisingly, my working afternoon looks very similar to my working morning! This block is slightly shorter, so I usually try to schedule just one or two tasks for this time to avoid feeling rushed or pressured.
4.30 onwards – and that’s the end of my working day! To make myself feel like I’ve actually left work (working from home can start to a feel a bit like you’re living at work, – if you know, you know), I’ll make sure to do a couple of things: I always pack my work things away and put them somewhere out of sight until the next morning, I take myself off into a different room so that the scenery is physically different, and I’ll try to do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen. Reading a book or doing something creative are my top picks, but sometimes you do just need a bit of Netflix.
Top Tips for Working From Home
So, there you have it; a day in the life of lockdown with a digital marketer at The Edwards Company. It may have taken a bit of getting used to, and I know I’ll have to go through all the changes again in reverse once it’s safe to head back to the office, but for now, working from home is working for me.
Here are my final, summarised tips for making it work for you too:
- Set a routine – nothing fancy, just try to do the same things at the same time each day, and you’ll soon find that structure and balance you’ve been craving.
- Say no to pyjama days! Your brain will thank you for it.
- Exercise – you don’t need to get out your yoga mat or run a mile before the working day starts. Honestly, just stand up and do a lap of the living room every once in a while – you’ll be surprised by how much it helps!
- Refuel – eat breakfast, eat lunch, drink your water and have a few snacks on standby throughout the day.
- Step away – once your working hours are over, make sure you’re setting boundaries and stepping away from work at the appropriate times. Nothing good will come of answering emails at midnight, it can wait!
- Relax – so many of us are in the work-from-home club at the moment, and we all feel the pressure of it or get stressed from time to time. But you’re not alone. Relax, do what you need to do, and take it one day at a time – lockdown won’t last forever.
Have you found yourself working from home during lockdown too? Leave your tips and tricks for effective remote working in the comments – I’d love to give them a go!