“Time is slipping away for all of us at the same time. You cannot manage time, but you can manage your energy.” - Sadhguru
March 31, 2020 - Time is one resource we all have equally - no one gets more than 24 hours in a day. But some of us manage to use our time more productively and find more satisfaction. Suddenly, many of us have shifted to working at home for the first time during an unknown and chaotic moment in our world. Our attention may be split between work life, home life, child care, supporting our family members, and constantly refreshing Instacart for delivery windows. Now more than ever, it’s critical to understand how to create an optimal, healthy at-home work environment that supports productivity and satisfaction.
As a society, we are realizing more and more that we cannot “hack” our way to optimizing our workday. We are beginning to remember that we are humans and not machines. We cannot simply work more hours or squeeze a little more output from our day without an equal and opposite consequence somewhere else in our lives. Working from home presents a brilliant opportunity to rethink time management by shifting perspectives instead toward the management of our energy.
Energy is not governed by the clock, and our productivity is ruled by our energy.
When you are fired up about a project, your energy is high and focus is unparalleled, giving you access to fresh insights and creative ideas that are simply unavailable when your energy is low. Low energy leads to feeling burned out and only going through the motions of “working.”
Our decentralized team of leaders, multi-company entrepreneurs, energy healers, moms, and nomads have been working from home for years and have put together our recommended tips to manage your energy and create an at-home work environment that inspires, motivates, and nurtures you.
Create Boundaries You Can Live With
Commuting to the office creates natural, geographic, and time boundaries between work and home. All that is lost when you work from home and wake up, immediately spotting your laptop staring at you three feet away. Families place demands on us that aren’t constrained by time. Kids need us when they need us! These competing needs can quickly split our focus and cause the lines between work and home to blur.
Talk to whoever is living in your communal space, whether it be roommates, a partner, or a family. Communication is always the key to aligned expectations about how much and what type of support you are able to offer each other, and it is no different now. Create an agreement about when you can have uninterrupted focus time - as if you weren’t home. Having an agreement allows everyone’s needs to be met, and specific time blocks compartmentalize worries about what the kids need or when you are going to compile your tax docs because you know you’ll pick them up at a certain time. You can then 100% focus on the task in front of you.
Create the space you need to focus. If you are sitting in the middle of the living room with other people milling around you, it may be difficult to focus even if they don’t intentionally distract you. Even if you can’t totally close the door to everyone in your house, you can create your own mental space. Put on headphones that have a noise-canceling function or play the music you enjoy. Split time in the living room and position yourself to look out a window or at an interesting piece of art on the wall.
Create A Sacred Work Space
Our office spaces are not up to us. Many of us work in glass fish bowls or cubicles under harsh fluorescent lighting. Our walls are bare or boring and we can hear our colleague in the office next door on the phone all day. We are sensitive to stimulation and traditional office structures ignore the power our senses have on our energy.
This is your chance to create a workspace that you enjoy! Find that favorite window of yours that allows in soft, natural light or post up outside or on the porch for a few hours in the afternoon and soak up vitamin D. Decorate your space however you want. Maybe those psychedelic cat posters you love, but can’t hang up at work get primo placement now. Burn calming incense or use a refreshing mint essential oil. Jam to the beats that get you into a flow. Make your space inviting by nourishing your senses.
Learn Your Energy and Schedule Your Work Around It
Most of us don’t have a natural 9-5 rhythm. We force it, and that’s why we are unengaged and dragging our feet until the clock strikes whatever o’clock that permits us to release ourselves from the office. To the extent your job allows you flexibility, use it! If this is the first time you’ve thought about how your energy should guide your work, start simple. Are you a morning person or a night person? Honor when working works for you. When you feel more connected to your energy, you can get more nuanced. Do you wake up feeling creative? Schedule a morning block for your brainstorming, strategy session, or writing time. Feeling introverted in the morning? Don’t schedule conference calls until the afternoon. Does your energy wane after lunch? Don’t do any heavy lifting then, either take that time to hang with the kids or do laundry. If you have to work, then do the simple, easy tasks on your list.
Listen to your energy and learn its patterns.
You might notice that your energy is different on different days, depending on how you slept or whether it’s raining. Some days you might wake up and be immediately ready to dive into the proposal you left off the night before, and some days you may wake up finding chores to distract you from sitting down to focus. Our energy isn’t the same every day, so don’t force it. You’ll notice that you fight less with your task list, your engagement with what you are doing is higher, and you enjoy it!
So remember, the disruption of your normal routines by working from home does not have to negatively impact your productivity. Working from home can be satisfying and even more productive when you know how to create an at-home work environment that works for you. Take this opportunity to experiment with different work setups! We hope you’ll find that not only do you enjoy working from home but you learn something new about yourself.
Part of our mission at AMMA is to provide education about the latest scientific research and discoveries in health and wellness. The content provided is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. You should consult with your healthcare provider before taking our products, especially if you take other medications, have certain medical conditions, or are pregnant or nursing.