Meaningful Work and Life

How do You keep focused when working (at home)?

As always, not just in the ”strange” time of now,
I start my morning with I writing down my dreams if I remember any, then write my thoughts arriving just before and just after getting up, then write what I should do today (work and other).
To wake up the body I do a short (15-30 minutes) stretch and physical exercise (kind of yoga but not), sometimes adding a short meditation (although the stretching becomes a little meditative most times).

This makes me tuned in/on for the day with awareness and declutter my brain.

: Now (strange times) : For the last weeks, instead of commuting to work (by metro or bicycle) I either take a short walk (~20-45 minutes) in the ”forest” around the block, or just sit in my armchair with a coffee watching the clouds and trees and birds outside my window (sometimes both).

the signal and the noise - https://www.bokus.com/bok/9780143125082/signal-and-the-noise/
morning time – fueling up with energy from nature, flowers and the sky and perhaps a good book – (recommending ”the signal and the noise” on bokus and audible)

I’m ready for work – my mind is clean and focused.

I do ”focused” work for about 3-4 hours, with a daily morning meeting somewhere in the beginning or middle. Then (as usual) I go for a lunch walk, about 30-90 minutes, to get movement and to allow my mind to rest and work on the problems I’m trying to solve. Sometimes I eat before, sometimes after.
After lunchbreak, I continue work for about 1-4 hours depending on my mood and time balance (working 6 hour days on contract, but, with flex, in reality sometimes 4 and sometimes 10+ and everything in between).

: As usual : Regarding the focus

  • I try to use the pomodoro style with tomato-timer to set 20-25 minute chunks where I rest my eyes from the screen for a minute or two, doing the 20/20/20 exercise, (previously I used protectyourvision but is made in flash..), perhaps do push-ups to energize. The tomato-timer is also good for setting breaks and restrict you from going back to the screen before the timer is done or to time box ”social media” and news.
  • My phone is always (95%) in silent mode (not vibrating) unless I know I have important calls, most notifications are hidden. BUT.. it does happen that I get distracted from notifications when I have to use the authentication app to login on to vpn etc. (a nice benefit of working at home is the lack of ”others” phones, in the open office at work there are always phones around me..)
  • My email is open in the start and end of the day, sometimes I check it after/before breaks, notifications are off.
  • Slack and Teams are used to communicate inside the company, notification sounds are turned of, popups turned of. (the only distracting is the Slack icon showing I have unread messages, if the app is active in my ”activity field” (windows)

: In normal times : when I’m at the office, I try to have regular breaks for coffee and chat with colleagues, but we don’t have set times where we have breaks together so.. it really depends.

: Now : I do have a couple of set times during day where I will check in on the news (usually don’t watch news, but these days I think it is important), and do some chatting on facebook etc. with friends and family and sometimes a call. The time slots are ”after morning meeting”, ”before/after/during lunchtime” around 14-15 to tune in to the daily covid press meeting updates on SVT.

Relax, rest and recover.

: What I believe (and as science proofs*) is very important, not just now: is to really take qualitative breaks – meaning RELAX YOUR MIND , e.g don’t use the phone for a paus in your work, don’t bring the phone to the toilet, allow your brain to relax and recover, allow your eyes to rest, and.. allow your wrinkles in your forehead to relax and sink back =D – you look younger and happier when not doing that 😣 FPF (frown phone face)

* I highly recommend you to Read or Listen to ”Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker

I enjoyed the audio book

and if you feel the need.. to do something creative or take a nap, meditate, exercise.. just do it! REMEMBER! work is not all about the input and output of crunching hours (although I also do that.. as it’s stated in my contract to ”deliver hours”); doing meaningful work is about outcome, and outcome is not the same as output, outcome is about delivering value and quality – things that comes from awareness, creativity and a relaxed mind.

A relaxed mind is a creative mind ~ seek for qualitative breaks to refuel

: What I do think is hard : not just now, but perhaps even harder when working at home, is to not do work when my mind goes to work even outside my ”working time”, and perhaps it is harder for us, that like me, have work and interests/hobbies that overlap – to be a craftsman in any profession requires you to have a desire to use the knowledge and skills to do great things, creative, beautiful, helpful and valuable for others.

~ Sometimes ~
I tell my self that I envy those who can switch of the brain when leaving the office or factory ~ but I do love to think deep and collect knowledge and use it to solve big problems (though I haven´t really solved any big problems yet, I have the desire and a couple of plans in the pipeline ~ I’ll be writing more of that later so stay tuned )

: Finally : Please take care of yourself and those who are important to you, and be nice, be kind, to everyone you meet. 🙏