The frustrations and adjustments of working from home


During normal office hours, I have a good habit (or at least I think so) - I never check DingTalk messages after work unless there is something important and urgent. After work, I don't check or reply to any messages on DingTalk, and of course, I don't send messages to my colleagues either. I stick to this habit in order to truly be in an off-time state, completely separating work and life, and avoiding them from affecting each other, which would result in not doing well in either aspect.

This is similar to my practice of keeping an intermittent diary - recording what I'm doing and what I need to do next in a timestamp format, and marking it as completed with a timestamp and a brief summary. It's like completely finishing the previous task. The benefit of this is that I can focus highly on what I'm currently doing and completely relax after finishing it, without affecting the plans for the next task.

However, my efficiency is extremely low during remote work, and the most obvious manifestation is that I read less - I used to be able to spend more than half an hour reading every day, but during the remote work period, I interrupted this habit for a long time. What's even more distressing is that I became depressed because of the decreased efficiency. The unfinished work piled up in my mind, causing anxiety and leaving no mental space for other things.

As the second round of remote work approaches, I have to reflect and summarize the two reasons:

  • Personal reasons: I thought I had plenty of time at home, so I procrastinated and disrupted my plans.
  • External factors: There are more online messages and frequent communication, which often interrupt deep work and reduce efficiency.

Therefore, the key to the problem lies in boundary management:

  • Working hours and rest time;
  • Work communication and deep work.

To avoid the blurred boundary between working and resting time, I need to set my own working hours and rest time, fully plan my schedule in advance to improve efficiency, and strictly adhere to it. When it's time to finish work, I should avoid being in a state of constant tension, which would affect the quality of rest.

For the second aspect, I need to separate the periods of deep work and the matters that require communication. I should focus on handling the matters that need to be communicated, and after finishing the collaborations that don't require my deep involvement, I can enter the period of deep work. During this time, I can demonstrate my focus and inform my colleagues that I will reply to their messages later.

The solution is simple, but the execution is challenging. I plan to try it during the upcoming isolation period and hope for improvement.

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