I Work Remotely — On Monday I Tried 3 Different Non-Work Activities Just So I Could Get My Work Done

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Anonymous Employee
Anonymous Employee
May 19, 2024 at 2:20AM UTC
At Fairygodboss, we're sharing stories about how members of our community work and what a workday is like for them. 
Interested in sharing a day in your work life? Share your story here for a chance to be featured.

Today, we follow a writer at a startup as she tries multiple ways to energize herself through a Monday workday.

Job Title: Staff Writer & Content Strategist

Industry: Community

Seniority: Entry-Level

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Type of Workplace: Remote


8:00 a.m. — My first alarm goes off and I’m so tired and not ready to start my work week. Since I work from home and have some flexibility on start time, I decide I’d rather have the extra sleep (rather than extra time to get ready) and set it for 30 minutes later.

8:30 a.m. — Time to get up. I start by scrolling through my inbox on my phone to read through and clear out anything that doesn’t need action. I generally don’t like answering anything until I’m ready to start my work day officially.

8:50 a.m. — I change out of my pajamas and into my outfit for the day. I’m still feeling low-energy, but it’s super important to me to at least get out of the clothes I’m wearing. I don’t have any external calls today and my team dresses casually, so I throw on a comfortable shirt and gym shorts. 

9:05 a.m. — I change my slack status to “active” and sit down at the desk in my room to start my work day. Luckily, my Friday self made me a to-do list, which mostly consists of reporting, analysis and some content writing and editing.

9:30 a.m. — I answer a few slack messages, including one from a coworker who asked us all to share about our weekends! I share a picture of my mom and I at a 10k race from the weekend. Then, I dive into my email. I get to inbox zero (such a good feeling!) and start to fill out my reports for the last week. 

10:15 a.m — I get hungry and realize I need to eat something before my first call. I run downstairs to the grocery store on the corner of my building and grab some yogurt and fruit. When I’m back in my apartment, I make myself breakfast, grab some tea and return to my desk. I finish my Monday reporting while eating my yogurt.

11:00 a.m. — Quick sync with a new member of my team to get her up to speed on reporting. Right when I get on the call, I make a mental note to fix my hair for my next meeting (I look a little too distraught). 


11:17 a.m. — I move to the living room of my apartment to get a change of space before my next call. My roommate and her dog join me. Usually, we chat every so often, but this morning we’re both in focus mode to get things done before our next calls; me, some analysis based on my reporting, and her, a project task before a meeting with her manager.

12:15 p.m. — Back at my desk in my room for a team meeting. We have this meeting every Monday — I love starting the week seeing everyone’s faces. This week, my manager makes an announcement that one of my team members is leaving. We all share a little emotion/well wishes before getting into our reporting.

1:00 p.m. — After a meeting-heavy week last week, I’m thrilled that I’m done with meetings by mid-day. I find I do best with follow-ups if I do them right after the meeting, so I send a few messages regarding what was just discussed: asking a question to another coworker, checking some stats and messaging my coworker who’s leaving. 

1:15 p.m. — I check my inbox again and go through some emails. I’ve saved my creative work for the rest of my day: planning, writing and editing articles. While I usually do better with creative work later in the day, I’m having trouble focusing. Because I have nothing due before EOD, I shift my task order and decide to do a more analytical task first to see if it can get me in the right headspace.

1:45 p.m. — Analytics seem to be helping my focus, but my energy is draining so I heat up yesterday’s leftovers for lunch. I finish my analysis and start ideating our content for this week over pasta with sausage.

2:30 p.m. — My roommate gets out of a meeting and asks if I want to go out on a walk for coffee. I haven’t taken an official lunch break and I feel my energy dwindling again, so I happily join and go offline. It’s the first time since her dog moved into the apartment that we all have done a coffee walk together.  My roommate apologizes that the walk is a little longer because of her dog, but I don't mind.


3:10 p.m — Walk down and coffee next to me, I settle in on my living room couch to get some writing done. I turn my notifications off and let myself write my next article uninterrupted, and I feel my focus come back.

3:58 p.m. — I see a few slack notifications coming in and my article is drafted, so I stop writing and answer them. While I’m answering, I get a text from my boyfriend that he’s gotten a COVID-19 booster appointment and he wants me to meet him there. The appointment is at 6 and I usually go for a run or try to do something outside after work before the sun sets. I decide I’ll walk to meet him there, so I need to log off by 5:25 to get there in time. This isn't too far from when I usually log off, but I know I need to really get focused if I want to get all the things I wanted to done today.

4:15 p.m. — My roommate comes out from a call and soon we’re talking about scheduling her booster shot. I try to help her find an appointment for a bit, then feel super unfocused (again!) when I try to go back to my article and edit it. I decide to shower, which usually is a full-proof way to get myself focused.

4:40 p.m. — It works! Showered and dressed again, I read over my article with a fresh set of eyes and schedule it for tomorrow morning. 

5:10 p.m. — I take a quick look at my calendar for tomorrow and start writing a to-do list, including a task from today I'm also done with that I want to look at tomorrow morning. While I’m thinking over what else I need to get done, I start packing my bag to leave. 

5:23 p.m. — I’m running a little late so I can’t get to inbox zero by the end of my workday, but I wrap up some remaining emails and slack messages that I want to answer before logging off. I grab my bag and say goodbye to my roommate, then set my slack status to “away.”

Self Assessment

Productivity: 6/10

Stress: 4/10

Work Satisfaction: 7/10

Overall Day Rating: 6.5/10

It took a lot of energy to keep myself focused today, and I wish I could have ended the day feeling 100% accomplished vs. more like 85%. Overall, I got in some decent breaks and didn't feel tired by the end of the day — which is always a success.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for getting yourself to focus at work? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

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