1. Get out more.
I’m fortunate to work remotely. That is, I’m not bound to a physical office. Other people in this position use co-working spaces to make it easier to focus, or to have backdrops for video calls that don’t include pets or dirty laundry.
Unfortunately, there are no such options where I live. There are a few coffee shops with seating, but the atmosphere isn’t great. As a result, I spend all day every day at home.
My car is currently sitting in the garage, has about a quarter tank of fuel. I last filled it at the beginning of November (2017). I’m not confident that if I tried to go anywhere right now that my car would start. I’m not withing walking distance of anything (well, I’ve definitely taken walks into town, but it’s a couple hours), including the nearest bus stop. No Uber around here either. My circumstances are simply that I don’t need to leave much, when I do, I can often carpool.
I almost used my car yesterday, but I was blocked in by a guest so I borrowed someone else’s car for the errand. 🙂
The goal to get out more isn’t just about weekends. Though that’s certainly something I should do more. But even during the week, grab my laptop, drive to the waterfront, work a bit. Grab a coffee, top off the battery, drive to a viewpoint, work a bit. I’m really only limited by my cell reception (which admittedly, isn’t super great around here).
This might seem a little ironic given the goal of getting out more, but I want my work space at home to be more comfortable. It’s not exactly uncomfortable, it was just never really intended to be used so much for so long. I wonder if my productivity would see an improvement if I had a space that seemed more intentional, if that makes sense.
I currently have a fixed standing desk, with a tall tractor-seat stool/chair because I get lazy. The desk is homemade (thanks Dad!), but never had any finish applied, so it’s showing its age more and more with every drop of coffee.
I’ve been eyeing the options out there, and I’m oddly excited for getting a monitor arm accessory. I have dreams of reducing the clutter on my desk, and it starts with not needing the monitor stand.
After the desk, I’ll look for a chair. Ideally I’d be able to try some out at local office supply stores, but their options may be limited, and there are some really neat ones online only. We’ll see.
3. Setting stricter “work hours”
Sometimes there is a need to work evenings and weekends. That’s okay, I often work better later in the day anyway. But does this stop me from being around during the mornings, or weekends when I’m not officially covering any shifts? Rarely.
I need to truly step away from work when it’s not work time. It probably starts with being more mindful of my Slack status. But it likely needs to graduate to things like quitting Slack over weekends, closing the work email tab, closing all my other work-related tabs, and starting fresh on Mondays, or whenever my week begins.
Since I don’t have kids or a spouse or any other similar requirements, I tend to let myself “be available” for off hours, but then I’m also available during regular hours because, well, they’re regular hours. So my mind spends a lot of time work-mode, even if I’m not actively on a task. I need to take real breaks and do so without feeling somehow guilty. Make no mistake, it’s purely an internal guilt, no one is putting this pressure on me. In fact, I wholly expect some coworkers to see this post and tell me to take a day off.
I shall stop at 3 goals for now, if only because I ended up with more words than I expected 😳