Proekspert remote work diary: week 4

Is there such a thing as a work-life balance? Nowadays, the line between work-related and unrelated activities might get blurred and the transition between the activities becomes much less smooth.

Our employees were asked questions about ways they organize their transition from work-related to private activities. Keep reading to find out what they said.

How to find work-life balance

There are countless articles about how to find work-life balance, and there are many of us who’d like to have it. This chase for balance puts a significant amount of pressure on top of expectations we already have. Balance comes from when you feel harmony with yourself. So whatever you do to keep your physical and mental health in harmony is this balance. 

We spend a significant amount of time working. At the moment, depending on the part of the world you’re living in, you’re spending most of the time in one physical space. In that one single space we organize both our work-related and personal activities. The line between these might get a bit blurred and the transition between the activities becomes much less smooth. 

Have a fixed work routine

Physical presence does not guarantee mental presence. Sometimes when we work, our mind wanders to activities that have nothing to do with the task at hand, especially under current circumstances. To have mental presence, set clear boundaries for when work-related activities take place.

Have a routine. Assign specific times for starting and finishing work. Keep it consistent if you can. It doesn’t have to be a continuous eight-hour session. You can make an arrangement with your loved ones to work every other hour. As long as there’s a consistent plan, it will help you keep your focus. A plan that becomes routine helps your mind know when it’s time to unwind from work. Create some tangible activity to signal the end of the work day for you. For some, this might be logging their hours and tasks. For others, it could be planning work activities for the next day. Find what works for you and use it.

I plan my tasks according to the information gained from the morning team sync meeting. I devote more time for discussion without a set timebox.

Raido, Machina

I set alarms to remember meetings, because I seem to have lost the concept of time.

Mariam, Software Engineer

I have a habit tracker for personal tasks, and I use pen and paper to plan my work-related tasks.

Piruza, Chief Innovation Officer

I do keep track of my activities. Usually I know what I plan to do during the day, and I also have to keep in mind that I need to plan time for the things that appear unexpectedly. At home, activities merge: while cleaning the kitchen I can brainstorm work-related stuff, for example. And while walking I can have a phone meeting outside ????

Tiina, Chief Culture Officer

Making a clear schedule is important, and I have managed to create a good one for myself. Otherwise I would lose my grip, since I have to deal with so many things, like homeschooling the kids, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, etc.

Liis, HR Lead

For work tasks we have priorities set by the Product Owner. To plan my work activities,  I use JIRA, Exchange calendars, and Notepad++ throughout the day. For personal activities, I use a personal Exchange Calendar and Task List. Lately the task list travelled to Google Keep, but I try to tidy things up and keep only shared data in GK.

Denis, Jr. Software Developer

Schedule fun activities

Just as you need to schedule your work, you need to schedule your fun, as well. Give it equal priority. Taking time for yourself and personal communication is paramount to maintaining both mental and physical health. There should be something fun that you do for yourself every single day, especially now in times of the pandemic. There are many good movies and TV shows online, as well as online concerts and other entertaining activities that are just one click away. Find something that is fun for you to do and schedule it into your day.

What’s free time? I’m don’t remember what it’s like having it.

Raido, Machina

It has become a tradition on Saturday to have an online party with my sister in Sweden. I am still taking a lot of dance classes on Instagram live, geocaching, and walking. My dear colleague came up with the idea that we can take calls outside via the Zoom mobile app. It is such a great idea with this good weather now. It’s a month to combine work and health ????

Helen, Accountant

To deal with the stress of quarantine I seem to be working out more than I used to.

Mariam, Software Engineer

I use my watch to track my activity whenever I go for a walk with my dog (sometimes the cats also join) to motivate myself to go out more and give the body rest from sitting behind the computer. At least once a week, I make sure to have video chats with a variety of friends and family members to check up on them and see that they’re not up to anything too stupid. (Friendly suggestion: Do not become a hairdresser and give your husband a haircut at home.)

Ketlin, Quality Engineer

In my free time, I try to experiment with new interests and hobbies. Right now, I’m making candies with mulberry vodka, doing push-ups, and taking dance breaks between calls.

Piruza, Chief Innovation Officer

Right now, my options are limited to walking outside and doing everything else at home. So, I really like walking and breathing fresh air in the woods or by the sea. Sometimes I go winter swimming and this is really refreshing! At home I do yoga, cook, listen to music, and sometimes watch a movie. However, the screens aren’t too tempting in the evening, since the day is spent on the computer.

Tiina, Chief Culture Officer

In my free time I do ice swimming, online fitness training, movie nights with the whole family, cooking lessons for kids, and garden projects.

Liis, HR Lead

For personal tasks I try to apply Getting Things Done principles. It has mostly worked for me for over a decade. I do photography. Due to social distancing requirements, I try to find the uncrowded edges of Estonia and visit them. I’m doing my own hobby projects.

Denis, Junior Software Developer

Negotiate with yourself

You are in charge of your time, so you need to decide for yourself how much work you need and want to do. Be realistic with expectations. Schedule tasks and set up a rhythm of work and fun that you can maintain. Throughout your routine observe how you’re feeling. If something feels off, don’t hesitate to change your plan and renegotiate your focus. Take your feelings seriously and be flexible enough to adjust your activities to your own needs.

I finally took time for puzzles. But the favorite activity I’ve really missed and have more time for now is cooking! I took out the pressure cooker again and have made kimchi for the first time in my life (already two batches!). I plan to make the crème caramel that I learned from my colleague at Christmas ???? And I definitely have more time to spend with my pets, which I also consider fun!

Ketlin, Quality Engineer

Usually, I know what I need to accomplish during the week. I know where I’m heading and I know the next steps towards my goal. Right now, it is all a bit vague. In the middle of this situation you almost never can predict the week ahead. I feel I’ve become used to this home routine. The ups and downs have become more or less predictable, and there are mitigation activities for the downs, as well. Also, I need to remind myself regularly to breathe and to take care of myself.

Tiina, Chief Culture Officer

I divide my time consciously between work, homeschooling, my own personal space, free time, husband time, friends, family, and sleep! It makes things so much easier for me if I have some order in my brain. Otherwise I’d start feeling guilty for not doing this or that.

Liis, HR Lead

About Proekspert remote work diaries

Since many people around the world are bringing their work home to slow the spread of COVID-19, to keep our spirits up this diary aims to share and gain insight from each other’s experiences. Every week is new and different. 

Here, you can explore our company-wide remote work experience by weeks.

Also, check out the Spotify playlist of songs that help our employees stay productive!

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