A few years ago, I remember being offered the option to work from home once in a while.
I didn’t do it.
Why? Because I actually, believe it or not, enjoy going to office. I enjoy meeting people I know and respect, catching up with friends over coffee – even my routine of reading twitter news on the train with a nice cup of hot black Americano. Extra shot please.
Of course that was 2008.
Now everyone works from home at least one day a week, if not more. I do it regularly, as it is quite handy to be able to take the kids to school, and sort out a few things on the home front in between morning calls with Asia, and evening calls with the US.
There is one problem though.
Working from home is dangerous
It is dangerous because you can easily find yourself still in your pyjamas at 2pm. Are working from home days your most hectic and relentless?
In my experience, they are the worst. It could be because I have paranoid tendencies, and therefore assume that people think I am slacking because I am ‘wfh’. Or it could be that I do this to myself by so easily getting carried away, lost in my laptop.. jumping from one screen to another: PowerPoint slides for tomorrow’s steering committee, respond to 17 emails, back to PowerPoint, take a call, quick twitter break, make a coffee, back to PowerPoint, complete mandatory online training whilst keeping an eye on new email messages, return a call… You get the idea. before you know it is actually evening, and you haven’t even gone out of the house at all.
You might as well be a brain connected to the wifi, with no friends, no social stimulation, no reason to get dressed.
It can be quite pathetic.
It has taken me years to agree the following rules with myself
Wake up as if you were planning to actually go to office today. Have a shower, get dressed, do all the things that make you feel good, clean and ‘in the zone’
- Don’t forget to eat! Have breakfast or at least prepare it before you switch on the laptop
- Decide upfront what deliverables need to be finished today, including those ‘big’ emails that take ages to write – then prioritise those versus all the emails and requests and instant messages that will inevitably pop up on your screen throughout the day
- Check your diary and make a deal with yourself: when will you be taking a call whilst going for a walk, or can you fit a yoga/gym session?
- Do not, I repeat DO NOT, start cleaning or arranging things!