The Power of Rhythm

With COVID-19 disrupting normal routines, many of us are still trying to get our heads around an unfamiliar home-bound routine. While telecommuting may be business as usual for some, many are still used to shuttling between home and office. The commute between two separate locations segregates our work and private lives and serve as a signpost signaling that we are either starting our workday or packing up for the evening. Some people make use of their commute home to decompress after a hard day’s work before taking up household duties upon arriving home.

Although our jobs often demand our attention long after we have left the office for the day, and we often lug our work laptops home to continue at the dinner table after a quick meal, we may not be prepared for an extended period of working from home.

The main reason is that as we start working from home, the boundaries between our work and private lives start to blur. We find ourselves toggling between answering work e-mails, dashing out reports and tending to household chores or checking in on the kids. This constant juggling lowers our effectiveness and elevates stress over time.

The key to resolving this lies in the word rhythm. To this end, we need to create a daily routine and stick to it. This allows us to build a new rhythm and bring order to our day.

For starters, set a time to start and end each workday and keep to it. Select a space at home to set up your workspace. If there isn’t a separate room for a home office (most of us in Singapore do not have this luxury), select a quiet corner and arrange it such that it can function as a workstation.

Another technique of gearing up for the workday involves rituals like changing out pajamas into street or work clothes. This might sound superfluous, but such rituals are psychological signposts that help us shift into the mindset or mode of operation that we associate with those clothes. It simulates our daily commute between home and office although at home, the journey takes less than a minute! Similarly, it is a good idea to change back into comfy home clothes after ‘knocking off’.  

(Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash)