Since the corona pandemic out break, my office has shifted from working on site to working from home. It has been a challenge, some days a struggle, but in the same breath also inspiring and creatively liberating.
The first days while working from home, I tried to copy paste my usual routine into my ‘new’ working space. While combining my role as manager, wife and mother of two toddlers, this old routine made me exhausted and made me feel I could no longer accomplish the goals I set earlier on this year. So a change forced itself up on me. Today I would like to share the changes I made into my life, day sheme, current home office and mindset. Hopefully they can inspire others to set a new routine that sooths our post pandemic life.
To battle anxiety and prioritise my health, I decided to balance out my daily menu. As a bride- to-be, I already made some changes this year (as in: tackle that scale) but there were still many adjustments to be done. Reducing my coffee intake, drinking more water and learning more about food and its nutrients. Therefor in March, I decided to start my day with a daily ginger&lemon shot, recommened by Lydia Elise Millen. It tickled my bitter tooth and became the morning pick-me-up I needed. The idea I was waking my body up, set me in the right mindset to jump into my planner. During the day, I made sure I kept a big 2.5liter water carafe at my desk, added with some lime, mint, blueberries,… all that jazz. As a coffee lover, I made sure I opted for the best quality so I could indulge with a little espresso during a 10 minute break or as dessert after a healthy meal.
Talking about meals, I made sure my fridge was filled to the brim with tasteful fruit and veg, so I could prep a healthy lunch every day. As a mother, I always made sure to play top level when it came to preparing healthy breakfast or diner meals. But my own lunch was never a priority. Some broth, jam on toast, a sandwich,… as long as it was a quick meal I could eat during work. I can’t remember to have taken time to lunch that often last year. So much work to be done, no time to ‘waste’, was my motto. Staying at home and taking a few minutes to prep a delicious and still healthy lunch has really made all the difference. I love to cook, so it was a creative, inspiring and indulging win for me.
Something I learned from Elke Geraerts is to keep focus while working. Don’t chase the rabbits if you want to catch the elephant. One of her many great tips is to choose music wisely. Working from home gave me the opportunity to select my own music, depending on the vibe I wanted to create. For example, I selected my own spotify focus playlist, that I listen to whenever I need that productivity boost.
To stay focused, I’ve integrated 2hour-uninterrupted work time in my agenda, these are my elephants. No TEAMS-notifications, no e-mails, no phone calls. Outlook creates these blocks automatically, I only have to fill them in with their designated tasks. This way, I keep chasing my goals by regulary ticking off important tasks. I also make sure to plan in ‘admin’ time to jump into my mail/chatbox and tackle those little daily bumps.
Working on site didn’t mean I worked at my desk at all time. I found myself often on the road, visiting my teams at different locations or being in too many meetings… Working from home means meeting them via Microsoft TEAMS, while I sit down the entire day. After a few weeks, my neck started to get soar and I started feeling more stiff. I decided to no longer have a unique work desk and switched to remote-at-home. For example, I change my scenery from task to task. Meetings are taken outside thanks to cordless headphones with noise filter and some really enjoyable weather the last few months. Creative tasks can be done in the kitchen where the heart of my home lies, more challenging tasks are tackled in my private office that hosts no distractions. Changing up the orientation of where I’m working keeps my mindset fresh and present.
As we all know, the day is devided in three different parts: morning, afternoon and evening. I use the transitionmoment between these parts to zone out. For me, that’s lunchtime, the moment after I close my laptop around 6 PM and right before I go to bed. These are the moments I give my brain some rest. I try to avoid screentime, I snooze all notifications, close my eyes, drink a large glass of water and free my mind. It’s what they call ‘mind wandering’, offering your mind a moment to calm down and process all the intake the hours before.
I make sure my evenings and weekends are my free time, to spend mostly with my husband-to-be and my children. They are my roots and provide the energy I need to tackle the next task or project. I don’t forget to shedule in some me time, I love to paint or sketch so taking some time to be creative during the weekend really brings tranquility into my mind. Me-time also means giving myself the gift of excersise and meditation. Taking five to boost my energy by stretching and some interval cardio or breaking down the day by meditating… it makes me feel centered and energised.
I’m eager to maintain this routine post COVID-19, where my office and settings should reflect the task I’m commited to. For me, it’s not one or the other. The real balance can be found in the mix of both.