• Andrea Hartoyo

8 Things I Learnt in 8 Months of Working from Home

It's safe to say that 2020 has been quite the year for everyone.

It's been new, it's been overwhelming, and it's been challenging. So many people are going through the unthinkable, some made major changes, some made minor adjustments. It's been a year of learning, empathizing, and understanding.

To be perfectly candid, I'm not sure what to make of this year. I've been very fortunate to be able to keep doing what I do in the safety of my own home. I've been blessed with a solid support system who are always there for me, and I'm trying my best to be mindful of others and make sure they have my support. I know many aren't so lucky, so I've been counting my blessings, very quietly.

I learnt a lot of things this year while working from home; about work, about life, and most importantly, about myself. There are billions of articles out there on how to work from home effectively, and this post isn't one of them. In this post, I want to focus on well-being, mental state, and how I've been keeping myself afloat in this current mad world. So here are eight things I learnt in the many months of working from home:

Knowing my own boundaries

One of the things I learnt at the beginning was knowing my own boundaries. It's normal for coworkers to expect to get things done, but I had to know my own boundaries so I don't say yes to everything they asked me to do. That doesn't mean saying no but instead giving myself space and time to complete my tasks so I don't get overwhelmed.

Distinguishing my personal & professional space

Having worked from home for some time now, I had a couple of months where I had a hard time separating my personal and professional spaces. My working desk is right next to where I sleep, and relaxing and working in the same room has been pretty difficult, due to the feeling of guilt. Since then, I've made a point to not sit on my desk at all when I'm not working, and take my work breaks outside of my bedroom.

The importance of video chats

It's very tempting to keep your camera off when you're working from home and work in your pyjamas all day, and also test how long can you go on without washing your hair. Although I do this at least once every couple of weeks, I learnt that it's important to show my face during meetings with coworkers, so we can see each other virtually and stay connected. Also, it gives me an excuse to wear my makeup again!

Knowing my work hours

What I mean by this, is to work during my work hours, and not after. I have a bad habit of working for an extra hour or two, which results in back pain from sitting down for too long and feeling burnt out because all my energy was spent on work. I've learnt since then to know when to focus, and when to stop and enjoy my personal time.

Cherishing my weekends

I'm a firm believer that weekends should be a three-day thing instead of two. I truly savour my weekends and plan them accordingly, including a Saturday/Sunday where I sleep in and do absolutely nothing useful. It's a great way to unwind and not sit on my desk for eight hours straight.

Using all my vacation days

This year, I've taken two weeks off during the summer to do nothing and will be spending the rest of my vacation days for my birthday and Christmas. It's important to take these days off and make time for myself and spend time with the people I live with.

Staying connected with my coworkers

There's a set of coworkers that I meet virtually on a regular basis, but there are some others that I haven't spoken to in months. I make a point to send them a message to check in and see how they're doing. It's been a great experience just catching up with them, and make sure everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Finally, learning to be okay with not finishing everything in one day.

This was the hardest one I learnt, and it's something I'm still learning. At the end of the day, there is always work to do tomorrow. I can focus on a couple of important things today, but there is always tomorrow to finish the rest of the things on my list. It's okay to not finish everything, and make some time for me so I can be ready for tomorrow.

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