8 tips on working from home
Many will attest that I’ve been self-isolating for more than a decade. So, while this is perhaps a little too late to be of much use to anybody, I thought I’d share a few tips on working from home that are especially relevant to those living with noisy little people...
1. If you have kids, control the noise. Buy some earplugs. And maybe some noise cancelling headphones. I use both and play white noise through the headphones that are placed over my earplugs. That’s what it takes to block out three kids and an extroverted spouse.
2. Agree expectations with your spouse (or whoever you live with). There are hours in the day when I need to be left undisturbed, even if I’m with everyone else (we live in a flat). Agree this up front. Otherwise, even if you can’t hear the grumbling, you’ll sense the death stare.
3. Keep office hours. I once heard Don Carson pass on a maxim he learned from his mother: ‘Work hard, play hard, and never confuse the two.’ I often remind myself of that when I’m tempted to procrastinate in the day, or work at night.
4. Build a routine. There’s something very liberating about structure. I love routines, and though I change them quite often, I have found a routine helps me to get on with stuff I might otherwise neglect.
5. Go for walks. Apparently, it’s good for you! Walking will help you be more creative as well as just feeling happier. You need the sunlight. You need the blood flow. And, if you’re doing creative work and you get stuck, stepping away will actually get thoughts flowing again.
6. Block the internet (if you can work without it at all). I have used internet blocking apps (like Freedom) for a long time now. I set aside portions of the day to be disconnected and it helps a lot. In terms of your phone, you can turn off wifi and mobile data (you’ll still receive calls), or put it in another room.
7. Take regular, scheduled breaks. It’s super-helpful, especially when you’re tackling something quite daunting (in my case, sermon preparation) to know when you’re next going to pause. When I fail to do this – imagining I’ll be more productive by powering through – I find the hours slip by and I feel more and more groggy, and get less done.
8. Cut yourself some slack. If you get into a guilt cycle, things will go from bad to worse. If you love Jesus, then remember that he is your justification. He wants you to live a fruitful life, but that’s not necessarily the same as being busy. Ask for his help. Repent. Repeat.