Structure Saves!

Still with me, sitting in that chair? Are you factoring in time to stretch, move around, get up? It’s different now for me too. When I moved from LA to NYC ten (!!) years ago, I was sore all the time for two months, using my body very differently, since we gave up owning a car. Now, I find myself in yet another new way of using my body. Ahem, way less moving, and SO.MUCH. MORE.SITTING. Even more sitting than I already do. Wow, it’s a lot.
YES, even though I am continuing my daily home workouts. Yes, I already had a practice of daily home workouts! Yes, I am sore. Tight. Very. It’s kind of stunning. Are you?
Here’s what I clearly know: I need to move. That’s one way I know I need to take better care of me. And if you read last week’s post, you know I think BOUNDARIES are another key to taking care of ourselves while in survival mode. Here’s my next tip:
Structure. I’ve been working from home for years now, and I love it. And I think structure is what makes it work. I’m an entrepreneur, and basically, what this means is the work is never done. So I often feel I could work just constantly. Big and little elements of structure saved me. Here are some suggestions for you:
  1. Your work space. Carve it out. Even if it’s a lap desk on the couch. Even if you’re juggling with your partner, kids, roommates, etc. Wherever you plant your flag, especially if it’s not dedicated office space, I think it’s helpful and calming to the brain to tidy up your workspace at the end of your designated work day. Packing it up up tells your brain you’re done for the day. Speaking of which…
  2. Your schedule. I generally like to bookend my work day. This is major for those of you who are really missing the “me” time or buffer you got with your commute. If you are on your computer, phone, etc. from the moment you wake up until the second you put your head back on the pillow, your days will start to blur, one to the next. Buffers are so helpful with this.
    I’m a firm believer in the power of pre-tech morning rituals. I’ve written about this before, but starting the day with time for yourself before getting to work is essential. Think about what you’re missing from your commute time, and layer that in. Is it phone time with family? Listening to a podcast? Make space for that now at each end of the day. Call it a make-shift commute, but be sure to buffer your work day so it has a beginning and an end. 
  3. Miss your “water cooler” time? Clearly, I’m a proud Gen X’er who used to work in offices during the time before we streamed entire television series in one go. We used to hang around the coffee and break room and chat about the previous night’s episode of favorite shows. It was fun. Though the content is different, breaks and chatting still happen at work. If you miss it: CONNECT! Use the technology for social connection, plan for and schedule breaks in your day to not just connect with pals, but also with the co-workers you may be missing.
  4. Move! If you’re like me, and all this sitting has you stiff and sore, apply some structure to that problem and book time to move more. Even if it’s short jaunts around your room, stretching, etc. . At the office, there’s compelling reasons to get up from your desk quite often, for meetings, to visit a colleague’s desk, etc. It’s hard to remember to do it when you’re not at the office. Set reminders on your phone to get out of that chair. Movement is more important than ever!!
I’m not saying you need to work from 9-5, or set your alarm for your regular early wake up. I just think it’s important to frame your day, in a way that works for you. Structure is grounding and comforting. There’s no one size fits, and no judgment – just apply some structure to your day and week that works for you.
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