Natalia Muzychuk (Product Manager, AB Soft) was going to write about arranging personal space for a working Mum long ago. But she was hesitant as she doubted this post would have a large audience.
Today, amid the lockdown, the entire world has got the taste of being on maternity leave. So, this text may help someone to arrange space better. You don't have to use all the six tips suggested below. But even if you can make use of one paragraph of this text, the author will be happy.
Enjoy the reading!
🔸Working hours and space 🔸
When you work from home, it is always tempting to have a late morning. You'd rather not put on office clothes or take a shower. Working on the sofa, you sometimes want to lay down and take a nap. Eventually, half of the working day is gone, while even half of the work is not completed.
A big mistake is not to differentiate home and office, or the place where you eat and sleep from your working space. So, on working days, take the effort to wake up, take a shower, and have breakfast at the same time you'd do it when working at the office. Except for one thing: in the morning, find some time for yourself. It is important not to dive into e-mailing and addressing working issues. Instead, give yourself 30 minutes in silence. It helps to gather your wits and set yourself for working.
In your apartment, choose your “working space”. It must not be your bed - it's for bedtime only. If you don’t have a private study or desk, you can use your kitchen table. The main thing is to arrange your small cosy working space, where you can operate efficiently, avoiding any destruction.
🔸 Spare the evening for yourself 🔸
In a WFH mode, you can often miss when the working day is over and keep working. Nobody will blame you for being a die-hard employee, but your burnout won't be celebrated either. If you started your working day on time and worked through the required hours, closing all essential issues, take a rest. Having rest is as significant a part of your life as work. I will focus on it further. Set the alarm to signal about the end of the working day not to lose track of time.
The only thing I'd recommend doing in the evening is to spend half an hour to schedule for the following day, including online meetings and tasks. It helps me overcome anxiety and get ready for what comes tomorrow.
🔸 Focus 🔸
All communication is now switched to online mode. With the tasks streaming one after another, you may find it challenging to focus on one of them.
Not to spread myself too thin and be efficient, I single out the main task, set the alarm on, let say, noontime, and once it goes off, I focus exclusively on it. When I'm working on this task, I do my best to stay focused. Not to miss anything important, I set messengers' notifications to direct/mentions mode.
Once that assignment is ready, I look through the tasks again and re-prioritize their list.
🔸 Children 🔸
My biggest challenge is to arrange my work while having a baby at home. Children are different, and I'm lucky to have a calm one. When my daughter slept a lot in the first three months, I would only pause my work for 15 minutes to feed her and then would resume what I had been doing.
Later, the child slept shorter hours and started crawling and walking, so she asked for more attention. What helped me out? The daily schedule! Yes, again! It is tough to work out a routine for a baby or toddler, but everything becomes much more predictable if you succeed.
So, I plan the work that asks for my focus for the time she is asleep. My lunchtime is when she is active, and communication on working matters is possible when I can hold her in my arms.
My husband is my chief ally. We agreed from the very beginning that I would start working a little later but work until late in the evening. My husband, in his turn, works from the early morning, and I hand him the kid over in the evening. He also spends more time with her during the weekend so that I could have some rest. When you are a working mother it feels like you have two jobs. With one big difference: you are only paid for one of them.
If you have an opportunity, get assistance from a professional babysitter. Before the lockdown, I asked the babysitter to come three times a week to give me a chance to go to the office. It wasn't an easy decision to contact a babysitter - I found one only after three weeks of interviews. I realize now it was one of my best decisions. Currently, we suspended our cooperation with a babysitter to avoid any health risks.
🔸 Sports 🔸
To stay fit during the quarantine and boost my immune system, I have 45-minutes work-out sessions every day. The Internet offers a great number of free work-outs and even more on a paid-for basis. Here is my chart:
✅ Smartass. It is a full-fledged online gym for group work-outs. One session costs UAH 100 (or UAH 75 if you take a full package). You choose from various online work-outs: ABS / Barre / Stretching / Yoga / Martial arts etc. The sessions being online, you can’t reschedule them or watch the record: it is an additional incentive to work out and not skip the sessions. You can also pick a time slot you are comfortable with and work out at any time from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
✅ Nike training — one of the best apps with free work-outs, conveniently focused on a specific muscle group.
✅ Instagram. Many gyms are now streaming their work-out sessions. You only have to choose which fits you best.
✅ Sports Challenge. I'm currently taking part in two challenges. The first is launched by the company I work for - AB Soft. You are supposed to record your work-out sessions and send them to the dedicated sports chat at least three times a week. Among those who have met the challenge requirements for eight weeks, AB Soft is drawing prizes.
I realize that not every company has such activities, so let me tell you about my other challenge. With like-minded sports enthusiasts, we share our summary of calories and CPF as well as work-outs. My motivation in this challenge is to avoid gaining extra kilos during the quarantine. Mutual support of the chat participants is also an essential factor.
✅ And here is a helpful Telegram chat: https://t.me/joinchat/CAqJR03hbjvUS8pIoPer8g
It brings together those who work out and share useful materials they come across: YouTube channels and apps on sports.
🔸 Having a rest 🔸
Our culture does not encourage having a rest. But I believe it is a crucial part of our life. You can't work efficiently if you don't give yourself a chance to rest and restore.
My advice: schedule your leisure time, too. Otherwise, you won't fail to find another place to dust, another dish to cook, or other chores to do. Just allow yourself to do nothing and don't blame yourself for it!
Hopefully, this article was helpful. Stay home.