Teleworking: a challenge or a dream come true?

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For some time, working from home was just a dream for many, perhaps due to the idea of freedom and flexibility that this would represent. However, when the pandemic turned that dream into reality, we realized that, in practice, teleworking could be more of a challenge than a perfect life scenario.

The demands of day-to-day work moved into the house without adjustments and without so much flexibility. The meetings started to be via Zoom, Teams and so many other platforms that appeared, one after the other, the days start very early and end very late. A scenario that fell from a parachute in our house, which is the stage of everything at this moment and never exempt from other distractions and … more work.

In this sense, how are we going to motivate and be equally productive in this new reality that, with or without a pandemic, I believe is here to stay?

From my point of view, I can say that teleworking is something that I had to get used to since I fired myself in 2015 and, since then, the effort to adapt is daily: some days better than the others. However, there is something I am sure of: a telework day is not the same as a day “in the office”. Comparing the two realities is a basic mistake!

Still, and imbued with the motto “be the best version of yourself”, I read, research, observe the strategies, tips and tricks about this personal management, organization and productivity. There are many coaches in this area and it would be easier if I shared here another list with the infallible tricks that will make you win in telework.

This is the simple part, the challenge is to understand what works for each of us – because we don’t all have the same background, the same personality and the same weaknesses.

For example, I have a tendency to procrastinate, I don’t deal well with the general mess around me, I need a daily ritual and anything that changes that, destabilizes my concentration and ability to work and I waste a lot of time on small tasks because I need such an organization to move on to what is truly important.

I work every day to discipline and organize myself mentally, I learned how to make lists of tasks more and more concise, real and adapted to the variations of my availability on each day. I try to fulfill my morning ritual, which although I cannot define it as meditation, it is a moment when I empty my head and focus my attention on the present moment, in silence and with my coffee before the day begins. I include time for myself every day and there the physical exercise has a double advantage, physically and mentally. I have specific times or periods of the day to dedicate to my home duties and I know exactly when my work day should stop. Finally, and not the least: I learned to say no and not to compare myself with someone else.

Perhaps the secret is this: to know our weaknesses, because only then we will know what tools we need to motivate and reinvent ourselves, without ever underestimating the power of the mind. A calm, clean and focused mind is essential to see things more clearly and objectively. To look at the half-full glass!

Still, there are good news, much simpler to achieve and without the complexity that self-knowledge requires us to do. Having your own work space that allows you to make the separation between home and family life and work, avoiding common spaces such as the dining table or sofa, is an excellent starting point. And preferably with access to natural light and where you feel inspired. Then, an appropriate chair and, for some, an inspiring list on Spotify to help concentration, a scent candle to add ambience and – luckily for those who have no children – no background noise.

Taking breaks for meals – which are already prepared – getting up for coffee or tea, picking up a snack are important things – but with limits and not every five minutes.

Therefore, teleworking is almost like an exercise that requires us to learn to prioritize routines, tasks and, above all, our mind. Dismay yourself if you think you can do everything the same way, because you won’t be able to! In teleworking, nothing remains to be done, unless you use your good ability to be realistic when writing the list of tasks.

An organized person is a productive person. The question is what do you have to organize in the first place and how and that I leave to you to reflect.

by Vera Dias Pinheiro

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