My Dear Luck,
I am a mother of a two year old and I joined work, a full time job a year ago. I am committed to work and I am able to reach my goals fairly well. Recently my company has allowed young mothers to stay at home and work from home a couple of days every month. I liked the idea and the opportunity. I tried working from home a couple of times but I realized I was not productive enough. I work in the marketing department and there is plenty of coordination that is needed. While I have managed some of it from home, there is a lot of work that remains on the plate. Dear Luck, while I have the luck to stay at home, next day at office I feel sheepish with so much on my plate.
The lazy worker from home
Dear Lazy worker from home,
Four-Two-Six . Do you think you will be able to remember this, Four-Two-Six? Lets design a FOUR TWO SIX rule for you.
Four Two Six is a breathing technique, which helps in bringing your focus on your target in about 8-10 seconds. It filters the distraction. Sports persons when they enter an arena, they are encouraged to breathe to avoid self induced stress and distractions. Lack of focus, lack of confidence, lack of peace… multiples challenges can be handled with bringing one’s attention to this breathing technique. Four Two Six rule is so easy that even kids are encouraged to practice. In this technique, you breathe in for a count of Four, hold the breath for two counts and breathe out for the count of SIx. In-in-in-in-hold-hold-out-out-out-out-out.
So let us try not just this breathing technique but In-Hold-Out rule to help you plan your work from home.
- keep a to do list ready for the day you are working from home, ideally a day prior or first thing in the morning
- your time schedule – which hour you will work, which hour you may not be able to. Work from home gives you the flexibility to plan your workday. It doesn’t mean a holiday so you still need to know what time are you getting up and how are you working.
- You have taken work from home to give some attention to your personal life. Be it spending time with the baby, or doing the laundry, or negotiating with your landlady for house extension or just cleaning a cupboard… whatever it is… decide only one or two activity that you would want to achieve and allot fixed time slot for it. Do not try and finish many pending jobs at one go.
- Plan your meals like you would have done it as any other working day.
- tick off physically your to do list, which will encourage you to finish the next job
- hold the time slots frame as much as possible.
- do not miss out on your workday routine of getting up/ exercising/meal time. You are not on a holiday, you are working from home.
- do not invite friends or family over as you will lose the balance off your time schedule
- do not unnecessarily stay engaged with your colleagues at work, unless compulsory. This is your work from home time and you don’t need to stay connected to prove you are working.
- do not spread yourself thin over the day, club your work in chunks of time and keep some time off for your personal needs, for the reason you have opted for work from home.
- do not take unscheduled calls. Return it during your work time. You should have planned your work schedule according to any group discussion/ client calls that you are scheduled to do.
- do not be unprofessional on a call. Put a disclaimer for any background noise in the beginning of the call and ensure to keep the call crisp to avoid any distraction coming from background sound like your toddler screaming for you.
Most companies require the employees to make use of Work from Home in a planned manner. That is a good habit to keep. But in situations where you end up deciding abruptly, without planning, still follow the Four Two Six rule. Just, start the day with the breathing pattern and then work through the plan.