Work from home boredom is something we could usually escape by just going to work somewhere else. Co-working spots, coffee shops, and libraries were great places to go to change the scenery and help you to feel part of society again. You might have gone to the gym or exercise classes as part of your fitness regime.
Establishing boundaries between work life and home life has always been a challenge when working from home but lockdown situations have made them even more blurred. With most options now closed, you’re still facing the same four walls with little to separate each day from another.
Regular homeworkers might not have seen a huge difference to their working day but the monotony of quarantine can lead to less cognitive stimulation and cabin fever can make us feel trapped.
Finding purpose and meaning in the everyday
Some psychologists argue that experiencing bordeom can be a good thing. It’s a signal to us that we need to change something.
There’s a difference between feeling bored and feeling depressed although when you’re bored, you often find nothing captures your interest (one symptom of depression).
But if you’re motivated to find meaning in what you do, the feelings of boredom may never arise. In fact, we looked at how to make more meaningful connections and find purpose in your every day in The Flex issue of The Homeworker magazine.
So how do break out of the monotony and general feelings of blah?
Shift your energy to relieve work from home boredom
Energy shifts and punctuating your week with ‘moments’ can help to relieve the monotony.
It’s a bit like when you’re driving the same route everyday. You no longer really notice things, your brain has gone into autopilot. But if you change the route, you suddenly become more alert and aware and notice new things.
The Homeworker spoke with a few different people who work from home and came up with a list of suggestions and ideas as to how you can change things up in your week and relieve the monotony.
Just a few small tweaks or changes can help reenergise you so these ideas are all simple, easy to implement things you can do in your week.
• Take a phone call outside on a walk.
Put in some headphones and take that work call outdoors. Do you find yourself pacing during a phone call anyway? Some research suggests getting the blood pumping helps us to be more creative and improves our memory function.
This is great when you’re having a conversation that involves a back and forth of ideas. Take a walk, get fresh air and change your scenery – it’s a great way to shift things.
• Change your scenery.
If you’ve got a garden with a table and shade, a couple of hours outside is another way of getting out of the house. It might not be the best long-term solution due to heat and different associations with the garden as a space to relax and unwind but it is good to change your environment.
In fact, working from a different room, or adjusting the angle of your desk now and again are simple ways to help you change your perspective! (A portable desk or standing platform can help with this.)
Embrace the fact you’re at home and can work outdoors. Again, this gives you plenty of fresh air and being in nature is shown to improve your health and wellbeing.
• Pinpoint a time in your week where you can afford to take time off.
It might just be an hour or two but find that time in your schedule when you’ve no calls or meetings or impending deadlines.
Dedicate this time to you. Use it for self-care, for reading a book, for taking a walk or doing something you don’t usually make time for. It feels quite indulgent but gives you something different to look forward to and breaks up the time.
• Treat yourself and celebrate
One person said they put an iced coffee in the fridge which they save for the end of the day. It’s a special moment that breaks up that transition from work to home life.
Something as simple as this can also help you strike a better work-life balance overall.
A treat needn’t be big but it can be something you save for completing a task or hitting a certain deadline.
We know that celebrating milestones and even small achievements are really important to improve motivation. When you’re experiencing work from home boredom, this is a good way to make the days feel more special.
• Plan a special event
Some people we know make Friday evenings a special occasion. The whole family dress up for dinner which is a three-course affair and often has a theme: Mexican, Italian, Indian…
This is a great way to mark the weekend and feel as if time stuck at home can still be special and memorable.
• Dress up!
Have you seen some people using the hashtag #dressupfriday?
Working from home under lockdown is even making me tire of my range of ‘loungewear’. Find that bright top, inject some colour into your workwear, put something smarter on and see if it changes how you feel that day.
Some people said they like to find their fanciest clothes just to get some use out of them. It makes them and the day feel a bit more special and defnitely helps to relieve any sense of work from home boredom.
If you enjoyed this, then check out our beautiful coffee table guides to working from home.
Each volume is packed full of articles, interviews, and images to help you work from home better and are a wonderful manual or gift for a friend.