The Chief Executive Officer of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner has shared his advice about utilizing the free time for work from home effectively. He always advocates for maximum productivity and has suggested a new approach related to buffer time.
Buffer time is blocks of time in your schedule that serve as buffers between meetings or other high-concentration work that allow you to catch up on the industry news, take a walk, or simply to think.
However, he highlighted an important issue on LinkedIn when a colleague emphasized that establishing buffers during work from home is difficult because you have to take care of all the other chores simultaneously.
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Weiner described the situation in more detail as he said, “For those fortunate enough to have the opportunity to continue to work from the safety of their homes, an astute colleague shared a valuable insight the other day: There are essentially no buffers in our schedules when working from home.”
“ ‘Free time’ in-between video calls is increasingly being absorbed by taking care of kids, caring for dependents, doing household chores, and myriad other ways in which people are jumping from one task to the next. Combined with all the uncertainty related to physical and economic well being, it can take a toll. Make sure to carve out real buffer time: to catch your breath, get some exercise, or whatever you enjoy doing that helps put your mind at ease. It not only benefits you, it will benefit all of the people that count on you as well”, he explained.
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This is because his advice resonated with the majority of people who now have to manage work and home chores. Suzanne Lucas, an Inc employee, “it’s not your imagination that Zoom meetings can be especially exhausting.”
However, you need to establish a little balance and with practice, you will be able to utilize your buffer time productively.
For most parents, working from home is difficult because their kids are a constant source of distraction. With the absence of school routines and babysitters, parents have to take care of the children and also make sure that they remain entertained. However, make sure that you do not let your attention waver away from the buffer time and pretend like it is part of your schedule for the day.
Keep Everyone Busy
Children obviously don’t care about the schedules followed by their parents so if you are dealing with toddlers or kids who are too young to understand your work, arrange fun activities for them during your buffer time. Tune into a cartoon or download an interesting game on computer or tablets which can keep them busy for the amount of time you have set aside for buffering.
If your kids are younger and require help in carrying out all the tasks, then your buffer time might be shorter but make sure you still fit it in. For instance, try to take advantage of your kid’s nap time. Now even though this time may look ideal for participating in official meetings, do take out 15 minutes for yourself before moving to the next task.
Know what you want to do
“The most important reason to schedule buffers is to just catch your breath,” wrote Weiner once in a LinkedIn blog post. “There is no faster way to feel as though your day is not your own, and that you are no longer in control, than scheduling meetings back to back from the minute you arrive at the office until the moment you leave. I’ve felt the effects of this and seen it with colleagues. Not only is it not fun to feel this way, it’s not sustainable.”
A small workout routine, jogging around the block, or just calmly listening to music can fill up your buffer time so find out what gives you the most relaxation.
“Whatever you do,” says Weiner, “just make sure you make that time for yourself–every day and in a systematic way–and don’t leave unscheduled moments to chance.”