To say we live in a time of incessant distractions is an understatement. ‘The world in your back pocket’ is a charitable way to describe how easy it is to access the internet, especially considering it’s rarely in your back pocket, and more likely in your hands, whether you’re sitting on a couch or walking down the street.
It’s tempting to say that this isn’t that big of a deal, as humanity has always had an awkward growth period as we changed our behaviour to incorporate the latest technology in our lives.
However, studies have shown that the effects of our hyperactive clicking and scrolling are much more serious than first assumed. Not only does it increase stress, but it is weakening the social fabric because of the ways we communicate with one another (through baseless accusations, misunderstood pronouncements, and entire arguments replaced with an emoticon).
The solution, though, is not to unplug completely. The internet is obviously here to stay, so the best way going forward is to organize your day around your own needs and wants that comes with the online virtual world that always beckons.
Yes, a cup of coffee can give you the necessary energy to get going, but a proper morning routine is nothing to scoff at, either. Obviously getting up at the same time helps, and even if you’re working from home, doing some basic hygiene once you’re out of bed will definitely make you feel better.
Whether your cereal or eggs and bacon sort of person, make sure you have some fruits or veggies on the side, as eating healthy early means there’s one less serving you need to concern yourself with throughout the day.
Ideally, you shouldn’t have checked your email or workflow just yet. Maybe a quick buzz of some news sites or some more personalized social media, but keeping the work off your kitchen table is a good way to make sure you aren’t blurring the two activities. On the other hand, balancing two jobs at once can require a lot more mingling of the two (unless one of them happens to be a trans sugar baby).
Whether your commute requires a car or a car to a train station, or simply walking into a different room in your house to the computer, having a full belly and looking decent is a good headspace that you should never take for granted.
Not to the Hour, But to the Task
There is always a temptation to write out your workday hour by hour, and stick to it like glue. When it comes to scheduling meetings with other people whether in person or on video calls, of course, you should be there at the appointed time (or really a few minutes early, if you want to make a good impression and iron out any connection/sound problems).
However. around these times where you are expected to work with other people, giving yourself a set period of time to finish work is not always the best idea. Over time, you begin to know not only the work better, but your own habits and approaches towards it, and can better gauge how long it would take to complete certain tasks (and when you can stop to play a round of online gaming, or visit a squirt gay site).
Setting aside rough approximations of time to address your email should bookend your day, and even though there will be dings and vibrations that might inform you of another message coming in, resist the temptation to immediately read it and then respond. Of course, there are exceptions where pressing issues must be addressed, but you should have a general idea of when you will have those sorts of days. Being flexible is always the goal, but don’t be bending backwards so often that it’s become your default position.
When to Not Work
It has been beaten into our heads that it is work between 9 AM and 5 PM, with one hour for lunch (or just half an hour in some work environments). But just as people are starting up before and going long after, there is now waxing and waning of what activities you can do in the middle of the day.
After a high-stress meeting, or working your tail off for many hours straight, going right back to another important task is not necessarily a good idea. A five-minute break might not be sufficient. Saving a bit more time for yourself can make you a more effective employee in the long run, whether it’s an hour so you can do some yoga or meditation in a Group Fun environment, or going to pick your child up from school.
Just remember, the work will always be ready for you, so you do not always have to be ready for it.
Know When to Break Your Schedule
Some workplaces are shuttered at 5 PM, and you couldn’t do any more if you wanted to. Others never truly end, as you or an enterprising co-worker can hypothetically shoot off an email or text at any time of the day (or night) and ask ‘What do you think?’. While your initial reaction might be ‘i think we should talk about this tomorrow’, there’s no doubt that quickly looking something over and giving your two cents can make both parties rest easy. The trick is to never get too sucked into another long period of work when the rest of your life is calling.
Overwork is not just a feeling you have, it has very real medical side effects. The quicker you and your workplace acknowledge this, the better the environment will be in the long run, whether in an office, or a series of homes.