Easing Back Into Work (From Home)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Working from home; clean, minimal and with hints of greenery

On the last day of my holiday break, I stood for a moment outside the door of what once used to be my bedroom, now turned into my work from home space. I remembered how things looked so differently from the previous year, wherein all that ever existed in the room were two beds; one of which used to be my older sister's. Now, only one bed stays (mine, for work break purposes) in one corner, and on the other side would be my dedicated work space, which has been gradually changing over time.

It used to only be my monobloc chair, desk, and work laptop. But as days turned into months, and now almost a year later, an ergonomic chair and screen monitor came in as new additions to aid my physical body as I continue doing the work. 

An imaginary line divides these two sides, a line I cross at self designated times for when I need a break and when it is time to immerse myself in back to back calls and deep work. The arrangement stays the same even as the new year has rolled in.

I have to admit that I am immensely grateful for not having to endure hours of sleeping and waking up in traffic or having the added stress of beating rush hours. But much like with everything in life, it takes time to adapt and fully embrace new things, to see what works and what does not. 

And so as we start going back into work or study from home for this year, allow me to share a few habits I'm keeping with me as I ease back into working from home:

Beginning and ending with prayer

Number one on my list is lifting everything first in prayer.

From a while back, the work from home setup made me feel alone while working, what with not having work colleagues to physically turn to when I needed to unload my candid thoughts. It was there in the midst of the hustle and bustle of my anxious mind that it struck me that I relied too much on others and my own gut, instead of seeking more of God's presence. I just needed to have more conversations with Him for the daily things in life, down to the smallest anxieties lingering in my mind. 

Sometimes we have this mentality that may go along the lines of "I've got this". But here comes that small anxiety that speaks to us and knocks down our self-made confidence all too easily. That's why we pray. We ask God for His provision everyday. Not just praying for one day and we're set for life, but rather, give us this day, our daily bread. 

Work from home by a window with a plant next to laptop

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

It made me realize how there's many things to pray for. I pray for every email that I write, calendar invite that I send out, Slack message I reply to, that I may have the right words and that God would work in me to make all things seamless. I pray for the recruiters I collaborate with, for my team leaders who guide my growth within the firm, and for the candidates I come across, that if it is His will that they go through the interview process successfully, He will be the one to make things fall into place. 

Emotions may fluctuate, self doubt may shake me, but God is constant-- the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Placing my phone far, far away from me

Often times my attention gets pulled away whenever my phone is near. It's not because I have a lot of people messaging me, but only because I end up spending so much time feeding my brain with information that's not related to my work.. and sometimes even things I shouldn't be concerned about.

Instead of using the pockets of idle time on my phone screen, I hope to use it for intentional rest instead. To close my eyes a bit, or stand up and stretch, drink a glass of water... I also already have one screen in front of me already, which is my work laptop. Would I need more? This question leads me to wanting to lessen the screens that I work with because I don't live online

And so nowadays during my work hours, I put my phone in our living room. In this way, it takes more effort for me to reach out to my phone since I have to stand up and go out of my room. I set the volume settings to maximum so I would be able to hear in case someone is reaching out to me. That's the only time I'll be checking my phone, the only time I allow myself on another screen.

Taking my breaks more seriously

A habit of mine that I'm not proud of is that, during lunch breaks I would take a peek at my work laptop while eating. If I take my work so seriously, should I not do the same to my rest? While going big with work, I hope to go big with my rest too, and that includes keeping work out of my mind throughout my time of rest. As much as possible I stay in another room, or I go out to the living or dining room during my breaks. 

I would then feel much more refreshed when I sit back down at my work desk. I feel as if I can power through the rest of the work day since I have regained my energy.

Acknowledging progress midway

I have a clock hanging inside my room, which I would often look up at to check the time. Somehow, I would always feel a burst of energy whenever the clock strikes twelve o' clock in the afternoon. Part of it is because it's lunch time, of course, but it's also largely because I know the first half of the day is already done and I have the second half left to make the most out of my work hours. 

Beginnings always inspire me, and getting through midway with whatever it is I'm doing pushes me to keep going. 


And lastly.... 

Giving myself generous pats on the back. 

Please, please give yourselves lots of it too!

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My first week of work last week was what I expected; a mountain of emails awaited my reply, and meetings had to be set. But I took my time, and let myself ease into it, knowing that there is a time for everything and accepting that it's time to work again. Heigh-ho, it's 'work from home' we go : - )

What's your best work or study tip that makes you most productive? I would love to know : - ) perhaps we could compile our best practices, and we could learn from each other.

Happy Wednesday, dear reader. Stay safe and well. 

Photo credit: first, second

14 comments

  1. Oh my I really enjoyed this post, somehow it brought me comfort ❤️ I agree, sometimes we tend to rely on ourselves too much, forgetting to pause and pray when things get a little too overwhelming. Thank you for sharing these verses! My favorite is Deuteronomy 31:6 - "Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." Never fails to bring me a sense of security every time I need it 🥰

    Distancing ourselves from our phones is a great tip, too! I read a wonderful trick before - always have a glass of water beside you on your desk, and whenever you get the urge to check your phone when you're working/studying, have a sip of water instead of actually grabbing your phone. Hehe just thought I'd mention, it's been helping me lately ❤️

    Wish you all the best and take care! x

    Chia | http://www.chiasamson.com

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    1. Chiaaa thank you so much <3 <3 definitely a great idea to find our peace in God's word and in prayer. :") I am so blessed that this resonates with you, and thank you for sharing with me your favorite verse. There are so many promises we can hold fast to, both in the good and bad that we encounter in this life.

      Wow, your tip is kind of the opposite of what I do, yet it seems quite effective too! I would probably finish the whole glass and have to stand up for bathroom breaks; such a good consequence! :))

      Hope you've been having a good week, and wishing you a great Thursday evening! The weekend is in sight!!

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  2. Having the room divided into work and personal is such a great idea. Once that balance gets disrupted it's a slippery slope, so it's amazing to have them so separate xx

    Hannah | https://luxuryblush.co.uk/

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    1. Hello Hannah, definitely! I have to admit that when the pandemic started, the lines between work and personal life so easily blurred and blended throughout the days.. it was somehow tiring. But I hope now I'm able to become better in setting boundaries, and being mindful about my activities. Thank you so much for dropping by :)

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  3. What a wonderful post! Praying is such an important part of life, I really want to increase the times I offer situations and request God's help. I hope going back to work will be way nicer with all this.

    Lindifique

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    1. Praise God, Natalia! :) prayer truly is the best weapon to combat life's anxieties. It makes all the difference to know that we're not alone despite the difficult situations we face in life. God Bless you! Thank you for your time with me on here.

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  4. After being on "vacation" for two weeks, going back to work was an odd adjustment, but a needed one. It is great that you've incorporated prayers into your daily routine. You're helped guided into your everyday work, hope for less pushbacks, and more productivity. That's what we all want. Big props to you for keeping your phone far from you!! Sometimes, I wish some of my team members can do the same and be as productive lol! Good on your for taking breaks more seriously!! So important especially if you're home all day. It's not the same like at work when you're getting up and walking around -not at home-. Keep doing a great job, sis!

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

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    1. I feel you, about having a really long vacation. This is the longest one I've taken so far in my career, but I agree that it is a needed one, especially in this pandemic time. Prayer makes all the difference indeed, as it grounds me and reminds me of whom I should root my confidence in. Haha, yes I'm all for productivity, and if it means I have to keep my phone far away, I will do it! I remember being in the office and standing up, going to the pantry, chatting with work colleagues.. sometimes going out for quick snack breaks.. it really is different now, but I realized I need to have those breaks too here at home. Thank you sis!! Let's keep doing our best and rocking it! <3 wish you all the best for this coming new week.

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  5. Your writing style is really good. I know it's a bit different but now I'm starting online school (Again), sometimes its hard to put focus on the class. I often used to check the clock for breaks but now I rarely do it because it would take 1/4 of my attetion waiting for the break and lunch. I'd say, being active as taking notes (for studying online), researching about the topic, and reading further help me focus more in the beginning after two weeks of vacation haha

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    1. There can never be too much notes!! This is definitely a great way to stay focused. Most times, it's good to paraphrase the lecture in our own words too or writing down a to-do in the most elaborate way possible so that it really sticks with us. I know how you feel about coming back after a long break!! Really does take some time to ease into, but let's go easy with ourselves 😌 hope you have a great week ahead, Kandice!

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  6. This post is so comforting to read, and so important, I think it's often forgotten how jarring it can be to suddenly head back into working after a break. An overwhelming too. Some lovely tips here, especially as a fellow WFH-er, I am terrible at taking proper breaks, and feel so guilty when I'm not glued to my laptop! So important to take that time. Thanks for sharing <3

    //teandtwousgars.blogspot.com xx

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    1. I felt that guilt many times last year, but it's good to set boundaries and expectations with fellow work colleagues so there's mutual respect when it comes to taking breaks. We are all human after all, and we needa break! 😄 thank you for your time in reading, Georgia. May you have a lovely week ahead.

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  7. Such a lovely post. Working from home definitely requires *more* boundaries and discipline because it’s just you – no one else is keeping you accountable. And who knows, maybe that’s the lesson of the time?

    best.
    k.

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    1. I like how you saw it in that way! Perhaps, it could be one of the lessons in this season :)

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