There are tons of posts out there about how to make the most of working remotely. We've noticed, however, that one big subject hasn't come up enough: how to keep your calendar defended while you're working from home.

If you're new to working remotely (or even if you're not), you're probably noticing a few changes in your habits:

  • You're probably forgetting to take regular breaks
  • You're probably working later hours than you might normally
  • You're probably eating lunch too late or not at all
  • You're probably finding it harder to communicate your schedule and time needs to others

This isn't surprising. An office environment offers a lot of distractions, but it also offers a few advantages: notably, it means that you have lots of other people around. Need to reschedule a meeting? Just tap your colleague on the shoulder down the hall. Lunchtime? Yeah, everyone's leaving the office at noon, so it must be time to eat. It's the difference between synchronous and asynchronous environments.

The move to remote work was happening long before this month, but in this case it seems we all are getting a long trial by fire in how to do it effectively.

To that end, we've launched 4 new features for Reclaim that we're making available to everyone free of charge until the end of the year to help them -- even just a bit -- with keeping structure in their schedules in a time of uncertainty:

#1: Automatically block lunch on your calendar

The first feature we've launched is called LunchBuddy. It's very simple. It makes sure you have time every day to eat lunch. It automatically adjusts and reschedules itself between 11:30am and 2pm so that it can flex with schedule changes, and then locks itself down by marking the event as busy when your day becomes too full.

You can get started with LunchBuddy right now, and our hope is that it will encourage you to eat something today :)

#2: Get the time you need to catch up and focus

We also just launched a new feature called Catch-Up Time that gives you two 30-minute slots every day (one in the morning, and one in the afternoon) to catch up on email and other miscellaneous tasks. Like LunchBuddy, these blocks will automatically reschedule and defend themselves as your day fills up. It's a nice way of making sure you're not getting snowed under, and it's a nice way to bookend your day so that you finally step away from the keyboard.

#3: Keep all your calendars in sync

One of our most-requested features when we launched LifeWork Calendar was to add support for syncing personal events from more than one account, and from more than one calendar within an account. This is especially important for people with family calendars, or for people working multiple side gigs.

We've added support for multiple calendars, so now you can sync events to a single calendar from as many different schedules as you'd like.

#4: Get the time you need (someday) to travel between events

OK, so we might not be using this one much for awhile -- but you still need time to go to the grocery store when you're working from home, right?

Travel Time adds blocks for you to travel from one event to another, automatically. They stay in sync with changes to your calendar, so there's no need to manually move or manage them -- just add a location to your events (or be invited to events with one on them) and we'll do the rest.

Bonus: if the event is a flight, we'll add 2h beforehand and 1h after to make sure you have enough time to get through security.

This is not normal

If you're feeling a bit adrift working remotely, that's very normal. These are abnormal times.

Don't despair. One of the things you can do to reduce that feeling, if only by a bit, is to get your calendar into a state where it reflects your routine. Make time for breaks, make time to take a walk, and take care of yourself.