Sometimes I feel like I am my own boss on my couch and other times I
realize my WiFi owns me.
What’s your relationship like with your Wi-Fi? This week, my Wi-Fi and I have not been friends. Over the course of the last 15 months I’ve come to realize that if I thought that I relied on technology before, I was kidding myself. Having to work from home has put a completely different twist on my reliance on my technology. Then again, my life has been a comedy of errors this week. Earlier in the week, the town was doing some work and cut a tree. In the process of doing so, they cut the lines going to the house which resulted in our house having no Wi-Fi. It took a day or two to get that settled. Me…I enjoy the silence in the house. I don’t need television. I don’t need music. (although I love music) I enjoy entertaining myself in the silence and company around me. (not everyone in the house was this calm and excited) Less than a week later, we again found ourselves with no Wi-Fi - no phone, no computer, no tv, nada. I found myself in panic mode as it occurred on a day that I work from home. I suddenly recognized how much I rely on contacting people on the outside and feeling responsible because I know that my clients and others feel they can contact me. It took another day for that to get settled.
Putting work aside, I realize that without my computer working and without having Internet access to play with my phone, that some of my simple interests couldn’t be pursued. One of the things I enjoy doing is being on or looking at Pinterest. For some people it’s Facebook, for others they enjoy surfing the Internet, for other people they may just watch the news. For me, I guess it’s Pinterest. I had already gone to the gym and meditated and worked for the day and I found myself looking for things to do. I think I need to see this as an amazing sign! This means if I get off of Pinterest I will have lots more time to do lots more things!!
Since Covid started there are people who are reliant on technology for their livelihood as well as for their education. It has taken on such a different role than just ‘entertainment’ these days. When I got on the phone with the company about restoring our Wi-Fi, I heard panic in the customer service representative’s voice as well. She said, “I’m so sorry, I know how important it is to have Internet service.” I appreciated her genuine nature but also recognize that we need to see a balance in our own lives. Schools and bosses need to recognize that technology is imperfect and that there could easily be problems that could interfere with one’s ability to maintain their connection with technology - be it accessibility, connection, poor software issues, not to mention those who do not have a suitable workspace.
So, if you’re struggling in anyway with working from home or pursuing your schooling from home there are a few things that you can do to make it just a little easier.
1. I was recently reading an article that talked about how easily people are distracted from social media sites during working or school hours. It spoke about how they have apps that you can use that will help you limit the amount of time that you go onto social media during your work/school hours. There were 3 apps called - StayFocusd, SelfControl, and Freedom - which basically set an amount of time that you are willing to set aside to “be distracted“ and then it will limit you and literally stop you so that you can get back to your work.
2, At my job, we have to hand in a log at the end of every day for each half hour interval of the work day. If your job is doing anything similar, perhaps you can schedule in breaks and note it on your log. It has been proven time and time again that people who are the most productive, are also people who take mini breaks. It’s very easy to burn out when you are working straight through, not taking breaks, not eating, etc. Remember that balance and self-care are essential and priceless.
3. If you are regularly getting texts and other notifications, it might help you to block all notifications coming in. It took me over a year to figure out how helpful this was. I would be doing zoom sessions on my computer and be getting texts. While you may find yourself drawn to answering every person who contacts you, you may find yourself much more productive if you block time during your day to do so and you will also be much more present for the people you are meeting with or the work you are doing.
4. Create some kind of indicator or alarm that tells you that your day is done. This one is some thing that I am going to have to pay attention to for myself as well. Working from home and doing school from home has elongated the work and school day. I have two daughters who often tell me that they have homework that is “due at 11:59pm.” And as far as I’m concerned, I am not quite sure when one workday ends and the next begins anymore. The convenience of being at home can be a great convenience or an awful detriment to our lives depending on how we treat it. Remember to treat yourself with the greatest respect and self-care as this is something we all often struggle with!
I wish you all the best of luck this week and if you have any additional tips or tricks to make working at home or doing school from home easier I’d love to hear them!