Almost a year into the pandemic now, and any working mother reading this, will be well aware of all the perils of working from home. Regular occurrences of your children bursting in in the middle of a zoom call to ask about dinner, having to step in as a substitute teacher on subjects you have virtually have no knowledge about whilst simulataneously micromanaging what your children are doing when you’re on the phone, have all become the new norm.
I remember one time whilst being on a work call, my son had come in and put some food in the microwave without the food cover on. An essential rule in my house is the microwave cover goes on top of anything you put in it. I found myself waving and mouthing to him to put it on but of course he didn’t understand what I meant, leaving me to clean up the mess I was trying to warn him about in the first place. FYI, my son is twelve so there really is no excuse!
Working from home, our days do not play out how they used to. I felt like I had to juggle things a lot more then compared to life pre-lockdown. Now I’ve realised, although I’m still doing the same number of things I was doing then, I feel much less accomplished. So recently, I’ve been trying out new things to help maximise my day and hopefully make each day a little more fulfilling.
One way I’ve been doing this is by creating a to-do list of everything! Alongside this, I set daily goals like the amount of steps I can get in, calorie intake and plannning nutritious meals. Though it may seem small, all of these small goals together listed on a piece of paper really helped me to see how much I have actually achieved throughout the day.
In addition to my general to-do list, I keep a separate list of jobs which need to get done but are not necessarily a priority. For example, mini DIY projects around the house or cleaning the inside of my fridge. Normally I would be traveling to and from work but now since I work from home, the time I would spend traveling is now extra time gained. So I use this time to look at the list of things non-essential items and work to complete them. It feels great to know I am using my time efficiently and finally getting around to things, which in all honesty, were either avoided or just left alone due to lack of time.
One thing I found that was extremely important to help with my day is to keep a positive mental attitude. How we’re feeling always affects our perception of the day. If you’re feeling bad and angry about things, all things said and done, regardless of how productive you’ve been and what you’ve done, you will still view the day negatively and feel it was unproductive. The way I combat this is by taking five minutes out if I begin to feel stressed or overworked. A little pep talk with yourself can really go a long way.
As you focus on maximising your day, make sure you take time out for yourself and celebrate small accomplishments. If you are constantly working and overlooking everything you do, regardless of what it is, you will start to feel overworked and burnt out. Not only will celebrating your small accomplishments make you feel happier, it will also push you to accomplish more. We all need a cause for celebration given the current situation, so make every day an opportunity to do so!
Working from home can sometimes really blur the lines between work and your normal life, and cause you to feel bogged down or unable to switch off. An important thing to do about this is to make sure you separate the two parts of your life with clear boundaries. If you are working at home, make sure you do it in a different environment from your normal ‘living’ spaces. What I have done is created my own office space which I use exclusively for work. I know that when this lockdown first started, I used to be able to work from my bed but eventually it felt as if my own bedroom was my workspace, which caused me to feel as if I was stuck at work and couldn’t relax after. Once I changed my environment, I began to feel better, as it prevented that feeling of being trapped.
The most significant thing that helped me feel more productive, is simply planning the next day ahead of time. Having a brief idea of what you’re going to do, or even writing down a few things that you would like to do, can go a long way in creating structure for yourself. That way, you will already have some structure to follow and are more likely to start the day with purpose.
Last but not least, the most important way to feel more fulfilled without a doubt is to start the day by reading the Qu’ran. Reading a tiny bit every day can help your soul so much. Whenever I read, not only do I feel more at peace but it seems to make me feel so much more calmer, and gives me just a little bit more energy to help deal with everything that comes my way. In Qu’ran 2: 153, it is says:
“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient”.
Though it may feel right now that there is a lot going on in your life, inshallah with patience and understanding, these times of hardship will come to pass. It is knowledge like this that helps me deal with stressful situation. That said, I wouldn’t have even known this piece of gem if I didn’t read at all.
With so many people working from home, it’s very easy to feel trapped within your house or feel like you aren’t making any progress. Hopefully by using these tips, it will help make your work day feel a little more fulfilling and add a little more structure to your day.
What’s your working from home story? Let us know in the comments.