4 lessons I learned from WFH during COVID-19
I remember my first ‘’working from home’’ experience 10 years back. It is still so vivid in my mind. I was so excited that I had the opportunity (if I wanted) to work, 1-2 days per week, from the comfort of my place wearing my pajamas without having to drive back and forth to the office. Back then, it was ‘’so cool’’ … 😊
Today, almost a year with COVID -19, ‘’working from home’’ for most of us, is not just an option … it’s the only way of working … Is it still ‘’cool’’? Not sure about you but for me has not only been a great way to strongly challenge my ability to put limits and manage my time effectively … but also to get to know myself better.
Virtual meetings, emails, text messages, and phone calls have no end … even though we don’t need time to go and come back from the office … we actually need much more time to connect with people and get things done … right?
Deadlines and deliverables are there though and we push harder and harder … ‘’its getting late but I just need to answer one more email … just a phone call to sort out this issue … I’ll wake up early to clean up my mailbox … things are pilling up … no time today for gym or a walk … I will do it tomorrow … ’’ and days are passing and work is all over our life … do you relate?
I was drowning and feeling overwhelmed … I was trying had but nothing was really coming out from that effort … I had to take step back and think differently …
- I thought long-term. This is not a sprint but a marathon … soon my energy and ability to be effective was going down so I realized that if I continued like that I would collapse and then…no work at all would be done. Burn out was just a matter of time.
- Hard worker or People – Pleaser? That was a painful realization actually ☹ There is a fine line between being a person who works hard and always tries to help and a person who sacrifices himself to please others … I found myself more on the second option and it had to change.
- Prioritization. I had to carefully select the top 1-3 things that had to be done within the day that were important. Now I’m starting my day with those … then I have time for the rest. I definitely feel more in control and relaxed.
- Use calendar for life – work balance. In the beginning I was just using my calendar to plan meetings & calls. Every time someone was asking for another meeting my eyes were spotting the small gaps in my outlook so I was replying ‘’yeah let’s do it then I’m available’’. As a result, I was spending all night answering emails progressing my work and apparently no time to rest, exercise, connect with family and friends or even eat properly. Things started getting better when I blocked time in my calendar for all the important things I wanted to do within the day. Cook, exercise, relax, work without being disturbed etc. Step by step this practice helped me to find time for everything that really mattered.
There is a hidden opportunity to learn and grow in every challenge we face in life …