Work From Home: How to Crack the Perfect Work-Life Balance Formula


Work From Home: How to Crack the Perfect Work-Life Balance Formula

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Work from home sounds like the ultimate corporate fantasy, you can get up ten minutes before office timings, there is no travel involved, you can roam around in your pyjamas, take chai breaks whenever you want and even take a nap. When the world is not in the middle of a pandemic and all seems well, we desperately wait for a “work-from-home” day just like Karan Johar waits to launch yet another star kid.

However, one week into lockdown life and reality couldn’t be further away from the fantasy. Yes, you can wake up minutes before that con call but your sleep cycle has gone for a toss, as you keep refreshing your phone for another Covid-19 update until 2 am every day. When at work, you dabble between the assignment for the day and the many breaks. First comes the chai break, followed by a lunch break and then it’s junk time by 5 pm. Post every meal, comes a sutta break. Yes, the days are busy, but you have to find a way to make time for some office goss, browse that website offering discounts on summer wear, and look at food videos.

Work from home has no room for so many breaks. It’s all rainbows and butterflies at first, but by Day 4 it turns into a nightmare. There are no “work hours” and weekends become a blurr. Your boss for sure knows you have nowhere to go and keeps bombarding you with project after project like it’s no one but you who is going to find a cure to the pandemic. In office, leaving at 6 pm is half a day or so your senior believes. He might taunt but once you leave the floor, it’s all history. At home, you are expected to be hooked to your laptop 24 X 7, as if you’re running a pharmacy.

A 21-day lockdown is a perfect span of time to form a habit, any habit.

Along with the work-related concerns, there are also life issues that one has to tackle when being confined to the house. After all there’s that much small talk you can make with the father and that many questions you can answer from a mother who sucks at technology but thinks this is a great time to learn how to video chat with Sharma aunty from the second floor. Eating maa ke haath ka garma garam khana is great but the separation from your gourmet lifestyle affects not only our taste buds but also our pretentious Instagram accounts. After all, there are that many filters you can use on sabzi-roti to make it look glam. Add to that, the usual arguments with your sibling and a tu-tu-mai-mai contest over who will do the dishes and mop the floor. Your only distraction is probably the news but you turn on any channel and it feels like the world will end in the next three minutes. The anxiety and stress keeps piling on so does your work.

Of course by now work-life balance has become a distant dream. But you can’t give just yet. The quarantine could be endless and you got to get a grip of things. And you need to be stimulated.

But how does one do all of that and remain positive during these grim times? After all, there are that many shows you can watch and that many old books you can read. How do you then be productive?

A  21-day lockdown is a perfect span of time to form a habit, any habit. Maybe it’s time for us to channel our inner Baba Ramdev and get on that yoga routine we have always wanted to. Or maybe pick up a new skill set like cooking, so when your friend who lives by himself WhatsApps you pictures of the cake he has baked, you can offer them tips like a Masterchef judge.

But how does one remain positive and productive during these grim times?

This is also the best time to upskill and enroll yourself for online programs that will later help you in the job market in a post-coronavirus world. Online platforms like upGrad allow you to register for programs from some of the top global universities, provide placement support and also help with one-on-one mentoring from industry experts. Since we all spend so much time staring at screens, it would be wise to do away with a millionth rerun of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and spend those hours in learning something new and upgrading our work portfolio. While the world re-lives the ’90s on Doordarshan, you can invoke your inner Sharma ji ka ladka and come out of this lockdown learning new things and onto a brighter path that will help your career.

Working from home and the quarantine life that comes with it doesn’t have to be all glum and routine. If only you can keep yourself positive and productive by following the advice that Doctor Rustom’s father gave in Munnabhai M.B.B.S, “Carrom ramvanu, juice pivanu, maja ni life.” And may I add, ek online program karvanu.

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