You fantasised about working from home. Now suddenly you have to. Yeah I know context is everything, but how is it?
Tu lah. Be careful what you wish for. Kan dah kena.
Anyway. Working from home. If you’re in this situation during this RMO period, you’ve probably:
- Googled work from home tips (Set up a dedicated work space! Dress for it! Keep distractions minimal!)
- Bought home office equipment from Shopee/Lazada
- Scrambled to make room for the new office equipment – where to find the space at home hmm
- Discussed with your partners on each other’s work schedule so that your video meeting call times don’t overlap. Plus who’s minding the kids ya? One ten jus
- All of the above
Listen. I’ve worked from home for about 5 years now, and I still haven’t fully adjusted to it, so I just want to start this article by saying… be kind to yourself. Know that this transition will take a while to adjust to. Do your best, sure, but don’t expect a smooth transition. You’re still figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
Let me just take you through my day of working from home. I am self-employed, and I don’t have a boss (or you can argue I have many bosses), so I generally set my own time and pace. If your employer is the ‘don’t care what you do as long as the work is done’ type, this might be helpful. If not, hey at least you have one person’s perspective.
I wake up naturally. This is one of my favourite things about working from home – no alarms, no need to rush in the morning to get in a long commute.
The first thing I do is check my phone – this takes from 5 seconds up to 30 mins sometimes. Yeah it makes me feel guilty but I’ve accepted it. Ok still trying to.
After that, I go to the kitchen to boil some water. They say it’s healthy to drink warm water with a splash of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning so I do that, not sure if it works but I’ll take it, even if its placebo effect.
Then I put the coffee maker on. The smell of freshly-made coffee makes me happy every single day.
My mornings are not that rushed, generally speaking. Once in a while I have early meetings, but I like to schedule things between 11-4pm so I can savour that leisure time.
Depending on the day, I have different activities to do. But it usually consist of some sort of writing, digital marketing or communications work. Either for myself (Ringgit Oh Ringgit) or for clients.
I’m lucky enough to live alone, with two cats, so even though my place is small I have more than enough space to work at. Sometimes I work at the living room, on the couch. Sometimes I switch it up and sit at the kitchen.
Note: they are like three steps away
So I sip my delicious hot coffee, power up my laptop (Surface Pro 4!), and open up my notebook to check what tasks Yesterday’s Suraya assigned for Today’s Suraya. And I spend the next three hours working.
Hahahaha joking joking I probably waste at least one hour just scrolling my phone during this time. At least one hour. Usually more.
I used to be guilty (again, that word) about this until I realise… I’m not the only one doing this. The reason I’m online is because y’all post interesting stuff.
And if you’re posting those stuff… that means you’re not working on what you’re paid to do.
Unless if that *is* part of your work Idk. At least I can say I’m online because I’m ‘researching content ideas’ and ‘engaging with the audience’. You?
Anyway, its now lunchtime.
The time varies, but 12-1pm is usually when I eat my first meal of the day. More often than not I do skip breakfast. I’d call it laziness but the new name for it is Intermittent Fasting.
After I prepare my meal, I eat it while watching YouTube. Lately I’m very into grocery haul videos. It’s nice to have a bit of fantasy.
After lunch, I work until 11pm.
I try to have some sort of work-life balance but in all honesty, even after 5 years of working from home, I still don’t know when to switch off from work.
The quote ‘Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’ is SO TRUE. It doesn’t matter if I only have one article to do or do copywriting for a whole website. I will work until 11pm at night, possibly longer.
If you’re working from home for the first time, know that there’s a possibility that Parkinson’s Law will hit you HARD too. With an office setting, you ‘switch off’ when you leave the office, that physical space. At home? No such thing.
That’s why I’ve favoured the phrase ‘work-life integration’ instead of ‘work-life balance’. With that mindset, I allow myself the flexibility to do whatever I want during the day as long as I complete my To Do list. Even if ‘completion’ means dashing to write an article at 11pm to schedule for the next day at 7.30am.
That’s not a joke. This is literally what I’m doing right now. I have, yet again, allowed my work to expand so as to fill the time available for its completion.
You might ask – so what do I do with the time if I didn’t work?
Well, I use the ‘as long as the activity is good for my well-being’ excuse, as in:
- I do more ‘research’ and ‘engaging with the audience’
- I do home chores (cordless vacuum made this chore pretty fun tbh)
- I go to the condo gym
- I do meal-prepping
- I look up recipes
- I cook
- I read a book
- I watch more YouTube videos
- I take a nap
- I prepare To Do list for Tomorrow’s Suraya
- I look for other things to do in RMO period
- I do things in my financial to-do list (for example, I recently enrolled myself in the SOCSO / PERKESO Self-Employment Social Security Scheme)
So yeah. Yes, RATIONALLY I know I should do the work first to get it out of the way, then do all these other activities. I KNOW.
Easier said than done. You try yourself la. You try and see.
But… at the end of the day (night), I usually get my work done. And that’s good enough for me.
It’s 11.34pm now. I should sleep, so I’ll end this article here. Hell yeah, made it through another day of working from home.