Ogonna, please boil rice before your sister comes back from school.
These are the kinds of messages I get when I am trying to focus on work like ‘mummy can you not?’ I get up and do it anyways, unless I want my ears to fall off from talks of how I will disgrace myself in my husband’s house in future if I am not domestic enough. If I want to cause fight now, I’ll just tell my mum that I do not plan to get married. I trust she’ll be waking me up by 3am for some motherly counselling 😂
I think working from home is mostly cute if you stay alone or perhaps with a housemate, certainly NOT when you live with your family. I come from what you would call a tightly knit nuclear structure so when my little sister tells me that I do not play with her like before or my mum complains that we do not gist anymore or my dad protests that each time he gets back from work I am always in front of my system, I’m just like…
I’m thinking, ‘is it that these people think I am playing Candy Crush on my system everyday or is it not work that I’m doing?’ LOL, take it from me, these people really be getting on my nerves.
Recently though, I realized that it gets better if you can explain what exactly it is that you do as work. It is unlikely that they get the whole picture but your patience in spelling out what you are working on when they randomly glance at your laptop screen counts for something, trust me. People are generally more interested in what seems like an enigma, so when you do not speak about what you do, it is bothersome to them and they want to invade your space to know what it is that you are always doing.
Here is a tip – You have to sound like you are really interested in telling them what you do; the catch is that they get bored and leave you – well, except for my little sister who is a curious cat so this tactic always backfires and I end up chasing her away.
The best part about working from home is that it’s relatively easy to relieve stress; I am only a step away from food, the TV, recreation; you name it. The cutest thing is when my mum or little siblings see me frowning at my laptop and just come to give me a hug or try to make me smile. Really helpful, really. But… there can really be a thin line between discipline and indiscipline when you work from home.
If you work from home, whether you live with the fam or not, here are 5 tips I recommend so you do not get so drained, stressed or burnt out:
- Take regular walks: I highly recommend, do this daily if you can; go outside, see what the sky looks like and remember other people that are not your family members (or on the internet) exist. If you spend a majority of your day sitting, you definitely need this as a form of exercise. Asides from walking, you could also do something that does not require you fully engaging your brain in that usual work mode format; it could even be people-watching.
- Sleep: Power naps, sleeping for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, will give you a boost at work. Working for long stretches of time may be productive but resting in between will increase your energy levels, creativity and thus, your productivity. I usually set an alarm or tell a family member to wake me up (please do both, my family members always tell me they did not want to wake me up because I looked so tired. Tell that to my boss 😂😅)
- Go out, actually leave your house: Not only will this remind you of why you hate to leave your house, like me, it is a good way to have some fun and do something different because time really drags when you work from home. I have gone two months or more working from home and the only other place I went to was church. The burn out that happened was terrible.
- Do what you are supposed to: If you live with your family, this is sooo important. If you have chores, do them early; if you have any other responsibilities, carry them out before you are reminded; contribute in some way to the upkeep of the house; take breaks; have a chitchat with whoever is home so it does not feel like you are absent when you are present. The truth is that you may find your work valuable, but that does not always translate to value for those around you unless you present a form of value they appreciate like giving them your time or money. If fingers are ever pointed, you will be acquitted.
- To add, get or improvise a desk and a chair if possible, especially if your laptop is your primary work tool. Creating your workspace, no matter how simple, manufactures a boundary that your family members can respect. Be aware of your sitting posture so you do not hurt your back or eyes; sit straight. Reduce your screen brightness and wear blue light glasses to protect your eyes if you can. Keep your laptop a safe distance from your eyes. Invest in tools that will make your work easier, like a laptop and phone stand etc. Drink water. Since you are home, changing positions can help but your bed is not included please; you are working, not napping 🙄😂.
Moderation is key. In everything.
Enough serious talk please, it would be a travesty to end this post without listing out all the comic struggles of working from home:
- When I forget to turn off my mic and my whole team can hear my mother’s rapid fire instructions – or complaints – in Igbo. Well, at least it’s in Igbo 😂😂😂
2. Waking up and wanting to head straight to my system but remembering my gender and whose house I am in so I come correct
3. The temptation to call in sick everyday: But I remember I did that yesterday so I get myself together and get busy
4. Me looking for the 5 reasons why I should not quit my job… yet
5. When my power nap alarm goes off and I want to hit snooze
Okay come back, come back. I need to share something important here before you go. There is a Bible verse that really helps me stay put at work. Colossians 3:23 says:
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
The temptation is always there; to do less than you are supposed to, to be negligent, to do nothing. Career buddy’s 0h-so-relatable and triggering posts on Instagram do NOT help at all 😅. In these times, it is important to remember that whatever your hands find to do should be done as a service to God and not men, so it should be done well. Serve your King with utmost diligence. See God in front of you, not your boss.
I hope you have enjoyed my ranting, I just had to do this for the culture. Please leave a comment, did I miss anything? I’ll love to hear your thoughts!