Blurred Boundaries: 5 Lessons for Organizing Your Work at Home

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Because of the endless lockdown, the Philippines has been trapped in since March 2020, resulting with people like you taking lessons for organizing your work at home. This meant every business and educational system had to adapt to the online setting, and the need to make huge changes even resulted in the shutdown of some establishments.

Meanwhile, citizens have been trying to cope with the new normal within the walls of their households. With that, it has become quite common for people to have trouble separating their work and home lives due to the physical borders that have been broken. Without these boundaries, all tasks at home have become blurred together, whether they be for work, school, or family.

While there is proof of adaptation on almost all platforms, many of us haveーand areーstill struggling to find the right personal system to balance out all aspects of our lives. People have their own varied ways of dealing with their personal schedules and lifestyles, but here are just a few tips and tricks that I have learned over the past year at home.

1.You can find your own method of time management

Everyone might have their own time of day for doing specific tasks, and while that is acceptable, there is much importance in keeping track of how much time it takes to complete each one. This applies especially if you are someone with a lot of tasks and assignments that need to be done within a short amount of time. Being stuck at home means having fewer places to go to, however, allocating a good amount of time for each item on your schedule allows for a sense of mental division and organization. 

A popular time management technique that has become more well-known over the pandemic is the Pomodoro technique, which uses a timer (which can be found on many apps across the Internet) to break down work into intervals (ex. 30 minutes with 5 minute breaks in between). This allows users to be more conscious of the time they have while working, while also having the subtle time pressure of watching the Pomodoro timer tick as they work.

2. Take everything one step at a time

One of my favorite tools to use for organization are checklists. The satisfaction of checking off one item at a time as the day passes gives me a huge sense of productivity, even if it’s just simple household chores or a piece I need to read. Though I’ve tried multitasking before, I realized that having too much on my plate at once makes me too overwhelmed to continue working.

Multitasking seamlessly might be an admirable skill, but there comes a certain extent where doing it too much makes your mind very cluttered. Doing so might lead you to forget some details that could be essential, thus not completing a task to its fullest potential. It might be better to focus on one job before moving on to the next one, so at least something is guaranteed to be finished already. This also allows for you to easily double-check all the details without distractions.  

3. Take a few minutes away from your computer screen every now and then

Computer-related eye fatigue is actually a condition one can get after spending long hours in front of a computer screen. Being forced to stay in front of the screen all day because of the online setting means needing to be more conscious of how much time you spend on it.

It’s always a good idea to give yourself a breather and take your eyes off the screen for a while, whether it be by looking at something 20 feet away or simply reminding yourself to blink, so that your eyes don’t dry out. Besides the eyesore, giving yourself time off of your work to lie down or exercise can boost morale and prevent burnout.

Finally, rewarding yourself with a nice snack or a nap after you’ve finished a big task will allow your system to rejuvenate after all the hard work you’ve done. Give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished!

4. Make yourself more productive by imposing internal deadlines

Based on personal experience, self-imposed deadlines really help decrease the pressure from the actual solid deadline. Giving myself an internal deadline a day or two before the real one allows me ample time to edit and refine whatever project I have worked on. On the contrary, if a deadline is open-ended, giving yourself an internal one will let you finish your task early and allow you more time to do other things. 

Some people thrive under time pressure, but with internal deadlines, allowing yourself to get a task done earlier will decrease the burden of the tighter time pressure you might have to deal with as the deadline draws closer and closer.

This method helps especially in online groupworks wherein everyone has their own different schedules at home. It might be more understandable for everyone to agree on an internal deadline to avoid confusion and miscommunication in case someone does not submit something at the same time as everyone else. To avoid further anxiety and pressure, however, be sure to make your internal deadlines feasible.

5. Cleaning your space makes it a happy place

It took me a pandemic to realize how much the design of my room mattered to me. Before the lockdown, I wasn’t home that much and my bedroom was just a room where I slept. However, now that I’m always doing my work here, I decided to reblock it and reallocate my workspace so that there was somewhat of an invisible divider in my room.

You can choose to spice up your workspace by adding photos of things you love or even accessories for your gadgets so they look somewhat fresh and more customized. Whatever it is, do what you wish to make your own workspace more conducive to productivity. Personally, I also like keeping it clean with different compartments for different items, and on a more health-related note,  I always have a tall jug of water with me to keep me hydrated throughout the day. 

Whatever system works for you will work for you. However, if you need a little revamping, you might want to rethink your habits and rearrange a few things here and there. Who knows what fresh view will make you feel more productive and efficient!

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