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Ten hacks for work-life balance (25 of 25 developers recommends)

We are not gonna lie. Home office is day by day harder even for us. The line between work and free time is already gone and dactyl mates work all day all night.
Okay, that was overkilled. We are not in this bad situation. On the contrary, we have found 10 principles that help us keep our sanity.
25 of 25 dactyl mates recommends.

#1 Sleep here, work there

It was fun at the beginning when we changed an office desk for a bed but our backs and necks started to complain very soon

That's why we have learned to strictly divide place for work and place for sleep. If we work in the same place where we sleep the body is confused and has a problem falling asleep at night. 

Find a comfortable place in the kitchen or in the living room or anywhere by the table where you have a pleasant chair and quietness for work.

„It helped me the most to have a different place for work and rest.“ 

Tomáš Bouma, iOS Developer

#2 Suit up!

Use pyjamas only for sleep and dress comfortably for work. We have learned to dress in “business from the waist up” style because no one ever knows when the online meeting appears in the calendar.

When you get up, dress up like you are normally going to work. Don't be all day in pyjamas“ 

Lucie Marhonsová, HR Specialist

#3 Pomodoro technique

It is not possible to work 100% concentrated all day. The brain needs to switch off sometimes. But how to ensure that he won't stay switched off for half a day?

The pomodoro technique helps us. It is based on 25 min of work and 5 min rest. In these 5 minutes, you have time for getting a glass of water, a stretch, a smile on your partner, and think about your next step of work. And so on. After 4 cycles come 15 - 30 min breaks for a snack or a lunch. 

You don't have to keep the 25 and 5 patterns. We use 50 min work and 10 min relax for more difficult tasks. 

#4 Divide: time for yoga. Or for Yoda?

Try to work only 8 hours a day if it is not necessary to work longer. Then is time for a divide - an activity which divides work from free time. 

Everybody has his own ritual. Someone stretches, someone does yoga, the next one trains, or watches Baby Yoda. The important thing is to switch to "relax" mode.

#5 Sport for a healthy body and soul

We sit by the computer the whole day. That means that without regular movement the health issues will come soon or later. Even our mind needs movement: endorphins are being released into your body when doing sports. 

„If you are healthy, I recommend you to do sport at least twice a week.“ 

Milan Doubek, CEO

You don't need professional equipment. Go to play frisbee, work out with your own weight, or at least plan a brisk walk. The fresh air also feeds your brain so you will be more productive. 

#6 The same time management like in the office

Evening comes so fast if you are in your home office. Did you really sit by the pc for the whole day? No order in anything, days are all the same

Working just like if we are in an office worked for us. We get up at the same time, start and end working at the same time. Thanks to that our colleagues know when they can catch us online and our body and mind thanks us for a regular rhythm. 

#7 Quality sleep = quality work

There are a lot of books describing the importance of quality sleep. We recommend, for example, the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

If we sleep well our work will be better, faster and we will feel fresher. We are also more mentally well.

What to watch out for?

  • Sleep 78 hours.
  • Go sleep before midnight.
  • Do not overeat at bedtime, avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and sweet lemonades.
  • Ventilate your room or go outside to get fresh air before sleep.
  • Don't look at your mobile phone, monitor, or TV at least one hour before you go to sleep. 
  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. 

#8 Good relationships at home and at work

There is a friendly mood in Dactyl, we are honest with each other and we are not afraid to openly express our opinion. But now we are not in so much contact with colleagues at the home office. That's why we meet regularly for online breakfast or meetings.

Try it too. Call your family, friends, organize an online meeting. But beware: there are some situations where contact with loved ones is not enough and it is no shame to contact “experts about the head”. Don't be afraid of asking for help. 

#9 Education, support, praise

We have a feeling of separation and less satisfaction when we are at  home office. Motivation to work is rapidly declining.

That's why we follow unwritten rules in Dactyl:

  • Share what you have learned or what did you achieve.
  • Praise someone who pleased you (for example by “thank you” card).
  • Help everyone who is in trouble.

#10 Don’t eat trash

Did you know that consuming healthy food protects us from cardiovascular and other serious diseases? In addition, you have more energy for work after a healthy meal. 

Example:

Developer Karel will have a duck with cabbage and dumplings for lunch. He feels lethargic after lunch and he would like to take a 20 min rest. But he has to work. He drinks two espressos with milk and sugar so he can work somehow. He feels excited but after half an hour he is tired again, bloated, and would rather not work. So he eats a sweet candy stick to refill the sugar. And in an hour he is hungry again. 

His colleague Peter will have pasta with chicken, arugula, and basil for lunch. He will make herbal tea after lunch and is excited about work. After two hours he drinks coffee, eats a protein bar, banana and his work happily continues.

In general, it worked for us to:

  • avoid simple sugars (candy sticks, chocolates, donuts, juices), 
  • change fried and heavy meals for quality meat or other protein, and lots of vegetables,
  • drink lots of water,
  • reduce caffeine and make herbal tea,
  • supply the sugar from fruits, vegetables, or quality dark chocolate,
  • not forget protein (cottage cheese, whey) and healthy fats (eg. nuts).

I rely on a healthy diet. I enjoy cooking, coming up with new and modern recipes. I sometimes had prepared breakfast in Dactyl and no one complained about the healthier option. I have also started the food blog.“ 

Helena Fadrná, Product & Graphic designer

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Written by Helča F.