12 Essential Tips for Working From Home

Uncategorized Apr 12, 2020

For me, working from home is not the new normal. I've spent the majority of my career working from a home office in some capacity. For the past three years, I've exclusively worked from home, alone, and on an island. In a sense, I've been practicing self-distancing for years.

Sure there are some perks to working from home. A flexible schedule and no commute. The downsides are dealing with isolation and avoiding the burnout that can occur when the lines between work and home are gone.

Working from home can be particularly challenging, but not impossible! Here are my top tips for surviving and thriving during your stay-at-home work experience. Whether it's a few days or a few weeks.

1. Make Your Bed

I'm starting with this because it's the best tip for starting your day. I picked up this tip from US Navy Admiral William McRaven. In his speech that went viral on Goalcast , he claims, "If you want to change the world, start by making your bed." If you complete that task first thing in the morning, it will build pride and momentum for the next task and the next. It also reinforces that the little things matter.

Working from home is a challenge, you might as well start off feeling accomplished before you even hit the shower. Plus, every time you pass your made bed during the day, you'll get a boost of pride.

2. Dedicate a Workspace

Yes, you can work from the couch and your bed, but don't if you can help it. A physical boundary between work and home will help avoid burnout. Ideally, a spare bedroom or a basement is a good choice. In a pinch, the garage or the RV parked in your yard will work. Anything with a door!

This is your chance to make it your own.  An inspiring space will boost your mood and productivity.

3. Stick to a Schedule

Working from home provides some flexibility, but if you don't have a schedule, your productivity and spirits can sink fast. You will quickly find yourself going in multiple directions and getting no where. Start with a basic schedule. Try not to overschedule and include time for exercise, meals, and time off. 

Establishing daily routine provides you with some certainty in these uncertain times. Plus, if you have kids and a hubby at home, a regular schedule will manage their expectations and keep them out of your hair during work hours. (That might take some training.)

4. Exercise

The gyms are closed, but that's no excuse not to workout. Get outside and walk, run, or bike. Push aside the coffee table and break a sweat indoors. There are many great streaming workouts available now. My favorite is Peleton which has on-demand classes including spin, yoga, cardio, weights, treadmill, and more.

Start a challenge.  My friend is doing 1,000 push-ups a day! I've committed to 1-a-day. (We all gotta start somewhere.)

5. Eat Well and Practice Social Distancing from the Fridge

This is one of the biggest challenges of working from home. Anxiety and boredom often lead to the kitchen and stress eating. When you work from home, you have to control what's in your pantry. Stock your home with healthy choices. Consider a food delivery service to control portions. Or, set aside a day a week to do Meal Prep, where you prepare and store a week's worth of meals at once.

Where you eat matters too! Eat at your dining room table, instead of your couch. Use small plates and eat slowly.

6. Sleep

We already were a sleep-deprived society. Now, there's even more to keep us awake at night. When you work from home, it's easy to get on the computer in the middle of the night or burn the midnight oil. This leads to mental and physical fatigue. Set regular work hours. Limit the news and screen time in bed. Exercise and get natural light during the day. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

7. Are You Wearing Pants?

Yes, you can stay in your PJs all day, but don't. And if you are on conference calls, even though they can't see your bottom half, WEAR PANTS. Maybe you don't need the heels but dress and act as if you are a grown-up going to the office.

8. Stay Connected

Working from home is isolating. Unfortunately, right now, you can't step out to that local coffee shop to work or meet up with friends in the evening. If you are used to going to an office, you are probably missing the people you didn't even like! 

It's essential to connect while we practice social distance. Schedule video conference meetings throughout the week with friends and family. Write letters, send cards. Call that friend or relative you haven't spoken to in a while.

9. Prioritize Personal-Care

Your salon is closed, but you can and should treat yourself well. Taking care of your appearance boosts your mood. Wash and style your hair, at least every few days. Take care of your skin, maybe order a few facial masks and throw on a little makeup from time-to-time. I don't advise cutting your own hair, but you can pick-up hair color at your pharmacy or order online at Madison-Reed
Check out the Ultimate Quarantine Self-Care Guide for a few tips.

10. Get a Pandemic Puppy

If you've been thinking about getting a dog, maybe this is the time. Man's best friend has been shown to ease loneliness and depression. And right now, puppy training and loving is a welcome distraction.

11. Keep Organized

There are physical and mental benefits of a clean and well-organized home. With everyone working and going to school from house full time, things are going to get messy fast. Schedule time every day to organize and clean. Create a chore sheet for the family. Put everyone to work and finally tackle your closets or garage. Check out these 4 tips to organize and declutter your home

12. Cut Yourself Some Slack

The world is different, and working from home is a big adjustment. These tips and others will help, but some days will be more productive than others. Be gentle with yourself.

Do you have any tips? I'd love to hear from you.

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