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Ensuring You Have Time For Yourself: Working From Home

We asked our Editors to write about making time for yourself.

This is one of their responses:

A navy background with meditation, water, phone, and planner images. text says: from the phd balance editors: ensuring you have time for yourself. submit your story:

I was working from home for quite some time already before I switched to job hunting from home. Therefore, my problem is not that I can't make enough free time around fixed working hours but rather to structure my day in a way that I actually take some time for myself.

So, while a self-built, strict weekly schedule doesn't work for me as it is either not specific or not flexible enough, I'm now using a mix of weekly scheduled elements and a daily must-do list.

The weekly elements are partly work-related - in my case, that's time slots for working on applications, etc., and taking part in a job coaching group (which are at the same time actually not fancy but an important part of self-care for me!), but I also put time aside to care for my body and mind. This can be physio and psychotherapy appointments or a weekly zoom meeting with a group of friends. Since these are fixed appointments, I'm not tempted to skip them easily and thus already have a basic level of self-care guaranteed.

Then there are activities that don't follow a weekly pattern that I'd rather plan on a daily basis. In the morning I ask myself: What three things do I want to do during the day, so that I can be content with myself in the evening?

I define three things:

  1. One task that I should do but I've been avoiding lately.

  2. One task that brings me closer to one of the goals I'm currently working towards and finally.

  3. One that brings me joy.

By keeping it to three to-dos it's not too overwhelming. After working on these three to-dos (and being mild with myself in the case I couldn't complete each one of them!!) I allow myself to be content with me and the day!

Finally, there are a few very basic things that I really want to do for myself every day but that I keep forgetting nevertheless. Therefore I have an app on my phone to track them, e.g. how much water I drink, whether I've meditated and spent some time lightly moving my body.


Thank you so much to Laura for her piece!

Laura Klask is a physicist specializing in nuclear physics and biomedical techniques based in Cologne, Germany. After receiving her master’s degree she started and quit a PhD program because it turned out it wasn’t the right thing for her - a difficult but good decision. For PhD Balance, she is the Content and Editing Co-Lead!

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