I hate working remotely. There, I said it. And I apologize to all of those who are not working remotely and wish that they could. I am so grateful that I am able to…but boy do I miss going into an office. I have, though, why it’s important to block time in your calendar while working remotely.
One thing I have learned about working remotely is that there is no “off” time. I used to have a clear distinction of when work ended and my personal life started. This is no longer the case. My home has become my office and my office is my home.
If you’re a twenty-something like me who does not have much space to work with (seriously, when did I ever think that at this age I would need to choose a home that had room for an office?!), you can likely see your laptop from every inch of your home.
Why It’s Important to Block Time In Your Calendar While Working Remotely
Lunchtime is still something you should get.
It was so much easier to remember to take a lunch break in the office because others around you were taking it too! Whether you ran out to grab lunch with a friend, or saw others leaving their desks to get away from their computers for a bit, or everyone in your office knowing what time you took lunch, that time was yours.
I know for me, even when I had a meeting during lunchtime, they at the very least would provide lunch for us. In this virtual world, that’s not the case. I’ll be scheduled for back to back calls through lunch, not realize the time, and it’s quickly 3 PM and I haven’t eaten.
As someone who lives alone, there’s no one around me to give me a reminder (or for me to take notice of) that it’s time to eat. It’s so easy to get caught up in work or calls and lose track of time.
You need time for non-meeting work
If your job is heavily collaborative, you are likely similar to me and on calls from the moment you sign into your laptop until the moment you shut if off. We no longer are in a world where someone can walk by your desk and see you are not there (or see that you are busy working on something else).
People now assume that if your calendar is open at a specific time, you are free to talk. This is why if you are working on a project, put it on your calendar, so people know you are busy. Additionally, if you find yourself falling behind on responding to emails, block some time each day or every other day that is solely dedicated to emails.
Don’t laugh, it’s true! If you are on calls back to back, especially if they are video calls, you can’t just walk up and go to the bathroom with your laptop because everyone will see! It is also no longer like the office where you can easily step out of a room and people know where you are going.
Try to block some time here and there for you to use for things like bathroom breaks, grabbing food, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a break from starting at the screen.
Because, well, everyone needs a break
This is the obvious one, but it needs to be said. We all work hard, and when we were in the office, our bosses and supervisors could see how hard we were working.
Now, in this remote world, many of us have a misconception that if we are not glued to our computers the entire 8+ hours of our workdays, people assume we are not working. This makes taking a break impossible.
But think back to your work days—were you glued to your desk the entire time? Or did you get up and chit chat with a colleague? Take an afternoon coffee break? Go outside and get some fresh air?
It’s likely that you did do those things, and we need to trust that even if our bosses and supervisors can’t actually see us working right now, our work and productivity speaks for itself.
This virtual world has not been easy to maneuver, that is for sure. All of the above of some really important reasons to block some time in your calendar.
As I am currently working remote without children, I did not address that above. But, if you are a working mother, especially one that is trying to home school her children, too, that is yet another important reason for you to block time in your calendar.
Juggling everything has not been easy, and it is especially not easy when colleagues think you are on call 24/7. Block time in your calendar, you deserve it, and don’t forget to eat lunch!