Now that I’m working from home full-time at the writing lab, I find that I have to remind myself to get up from my desk every now and then. I just don’t have the regular distractions that come with working in a busy office with other people.
My chiropractor noticed too. (She notices everything. I’m not sure how she does it.)
I have a tendency to get into a project, put my head down and just go. I’ll forget about things like eating because I keep coming up with more ideas, or I start replying to emails when I should just take a break.
My chiropractor suggested using a kitchen timer to remind myself to get up and walk around every now and then. She could see the tension building up in my body from staying at my computer too long. She told me to set it for 25 minutes, which seemed like no time at all to me. I decided to try it out.
I have to admit that it’s not quite a habit yet. However, when I have a lot on my plate (which seems to be all the time lately), I pull out the kitchen timer, set it to 25 minutes (sometimes a bit more) and focus on a task.
What I found is that this tactic of using a kitchen timer not only reminds me to get up and walk around, it also helps me get things done more quickly. I’ll focus on responding to emails for 25 minutes, get up, do some situps and stretch, maybe get a drink and then go back to my computer. Emails are done for now. Time to get to some writing for a project. I’ll set the timer for another 30 minutes and start writing.
The key to getting things done more quickly and efficiently is focusing on one thing during each stretch between the dings of the timer. If you write a lot like me, sometimes it feels like it takes forever to get into the flow of writing. When you stop and tell yourself to write for a short period of time and keep writing no matter what, the good stuff eventually flows out. I find that when I go back to that writing after a short break, there’s usually some really good stuff in there that will get me going for the next round of writing.
(Side note: My kitchen timer ticks very loudly. I put it in the dining room so I only hear the ring when it’s done. This also forces me to get up for the timer.)
Like I said, the kitchen timer technique is not a regular habit yet. (Don’t tell my chiropractor.) However, I’m finding a lot of good things coming out of it:
- It’s a great way to make sure you’re taking care of your body
- It helps you focus on the task at hand, thus helping with time management
- It gets the writing flowing
- It gives you an excuse to stop and do some situps or walk around the block (hoping for ripped abs soon!)
What techniques do you use to keep you going while you work from home? Please share!