just sometimes... not all the time.

Work-From-Home for the Extrovert

An opinionated post from someone who’s only two months into a work-from-home job. Don’t care for the background story? Scroll down to go straight to the tips.

Okay, quick disclaimer: I don’t qualify as a full-on extrovert. I also don’t think anyone does - we all tend to slide on the scale on a daily basis and this is where I am today:

Everyone looked at me funny when I said I took this new role. “You’ll be bored out of your mind”, they said. “You’re too social to be sitting at a desk alone all day.” I brushed it off, told people this was my time for self-care and discovery. Said it would let me see within. Told critics and myself that this is what my yoga practice has been preparing me for - to accept myself and delve in the silence.

BULLSHIT. 

I’d never had a work-from-home job, in fact, I was in one of the most social industries: tourism and hospitality. Talked to people face-to-face all day, worked hard, and consequently, partied harder. After exhausting myself physically and mentally I moved into the education sector - another extremely social field. To add to this, I started teaching yoga and really put myself in a position of power. 

I loved it all. There’s a certain joy I got from being in control, putting on a show, all the theatrics, and from receiving so much instant gratitude from the students. The students became my kids, the other teachers became my family, and “creating impact” became the foundation of my existence. Eventually, I started taking all these privileges for granted, realized I was no longer learning anything new, and started craving a change. That’s what led me to my current job.

Another disclaimer: It’s a good job on paper. I train and onboard hotels when they take on my company’s software. I talk to clients all day long and continue to teach, which isn’t so far from what I was doing before. But it’s all virtual. 

First couple of weeks at home were great; rolled out of bed, leisurely walked to my “office” and worked. Yeah, there were distractions, but I let them off as part of the transition process. Everyone gets distracted, right? I thoroughly read all the articles about how to adjust and followed the steps, quickly realizing that those are crap as well. Soon COVID hit, and I was reminded by everyone of how lucky I am to have this job, and I just smiled and nodded my head, while my inside voice tried to scream out for help. Confused as to why the motivational quotes on Instagram were no longer serving their purpose, I started making my own adjustments. So, here it is.

A list of things that work for me and might do the same for you:

  1. Do something unrelated to work at the start of your day. Make a coffee, go for a walk, watch a funny video, whatever floats your boat, but avoid going straight to your desk. It tricks your mind into thinking that you’ve taken the time to transition; the last thing an extrovert wants is to feel like work is taking over their life.
  2. If you can, keep some music or some sort of sound on in the background. I talk out loud and sing along a lot. Might sound insane, but it’s the thing keeping me sane. I’ve made work playlists and frequently change the tune to help my mood. 
  3. Get off your phone. Seriously, put it down. The news can wait, social media can wait. As extroverts, we can easily get trapped in endless scrolling because it seems interactive, but instead it creates major FOMO and makes the already dire situation seem even worse. 
  4. Call people when you take a break and after you finish work. I call my parents during lunch or chat with my boyfriend. Doesn’t have to be a significant conversation, most of the time it’s a bitching session, but we need that energy to thrive. 
  5. Make a routine and try to stick to it. I put everything in my calendar so it forces me to come back to my desk after my break, otherwise I start doing chores and conveniently “forget” that I have actual work to do. Hold yourself accountable!
  6. Get out when you can. I seriously cannot downplay the importance of getting that fresh air. Go for a walk, a run, a class, grocery shopping...anything that will force you to put on your pants and get out of the house. (RE: COVID, go to your balcony or open a window)
  7. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ll binge-watch a TV show, finish a week’s worth of snacks in a day, stay in your pajamas for more than 36 hours, so what? Happens to everyone and we’ll all get over it. Acknowledge that you did something that wasted time and/or energy, accept that you’re human and shit happens, and then try to move on. 

You’ll have good days and bad days. Truth be told, I’m writing this during my work hours (Shh). But it’s one those days where I need this type of interaction and I know I’ll be making up for this time later. I also know I’m going to do a great workout from home later and make banana bread, so I’m focusing on those positives instead. 

Final disclaimer: This works for me, might not for you. But what’s the harm in trying?

Going to go call my mum now, bye.