Remote work and Life Balance

So many of people switched their daily routine of commuting to work to a remote position where commuting is no longer a part of the day. I was one of these people.

I'd spend roughly 2-3 hours a day commuting to and back from work. This was my me time, where I'd listen to my podcasts, audiobooks, music or at times, just listen to the sound of traffic.

When I went remote, my first reaction was to celebrate. I did, no longer, have to spend hours in traffic. I could wake up and jump to the computer.

Lack of separation

It was not long until I started blurring the lines between home life and work life. There was no boundary left. My notebook at times would sit in the kitchen, and I'd mix worrying about lunch with meetings whilst washing clothes. Everything became one big blurry mess.

I would frequently procastinate work due to home chores only to find myself worrying about work at eleven at night. My sofa was an extension of my office table, my kitchen a secondary post.

I was constantly tired, my house was no longer home and at the same time, my "office" was never fully my office.

What happened to those three hours?!

One day, it dawned on me; whatever happened to those three hours I'd spend commuting? How did I end up having more time, and still finish having less time to do things I did before?

After some reflection, I realized that some really bad habits had been formed, and that I had to take control back.

A new routine

I decided to use my former commuting time to good use. I'd wake up every morning at my usual time, and rather than going straight to my computer, I'd dedicate the hour or so I would have spent going to the office to do some kind of activity. I tried several things, jogging, freeletics and cycling. I'd do roughly an hour of something, shower, and get ready to start my day. At the end of the day, I followed the same principle here. I forced myself out of the computer for at least an hour.

It took some getting used to, but my life did improve drastically. The simple fact that I now had these "breaks", my mind managed to swtich off from work, and switch on "home".

A few Hacks that can help you

  • Wake up early (as if you had to commute to work)
  • Establish a morning routine as if you had to commute to work
    • eat breakfast
    • do an excercise of some sorts
    • do some meditation
    • have a shower
  • Keep your phone off/away. Resist the urge to look at it first thing in the morning. It will make it easier to avoid looking at work notifications.
  • Get dressed with work clothes. At least change out of your "home relax clothes"