Updated: May 29, 2020
Whew chile - whose Cousin is Rona?! Come get her. As we all try to navigate the uncertain territory presented by a world-wide pandemic, many of you are working from home for an extended period for the first time. I've worked from home full time for almost a year now and I love it because of the freedom over my schedule it provides, and my productivity is exponentially higher on both the work and personal fronts. Prior to this job, my commute was 1.5 - 2 hours each way so the extra 3-4 hours a day is great. I can get up early and knock out what I have to do while my mind is still sharp.
I have to acknowledge, though, that the transition was difficult. I lacked discipline when I first started and found myself working late into the night to make deadlines which in turn threw my sleep cycle off. Then I started working earlier but wasn't capitalizing on the extra hours I gained since ditching the commute… I would look up and be 4 hours into a binge watch like “what had happened?!” All of that to say, I can imagine that those of you forced to work from home to comply with guidance around the Corona virus (aka the Rona or COVID-19) are going a little stir crazy. Here are my recommendations to be productive and stay sane.
Set up a designated workspace
Girl ... don’t set yourself up for failure working from the bed or your sofa. If you don’t have an office, set up everything you need in one place and work in the same spot every day. Keep your workstation stocked with snacks, water, wine… maybe a candle or reed diffuser. Creating a pleasant, well equipped environment will be much more conducive to getting work done.
Get your routine together & set daily goals
Creating a routine and staying disciplined is the key to all of this. Create new habits. Make sure to include making your bed, opening your curtains, and getting dressed every morning. Sit down every night and write out your goals or milestones for the next day and time box everything you need to get done including the personal stuff you need to get done like chores or working out. Don't stay in bed all day or I'm coming to your house like Annalise Keating's momma.
Keep your house clean
So listen … a messy house hits different when you have to sit in the mess all dam day. No one can focus in clutter. Make it a point to wake up to a clean house every morning. When you’re home all day, the jacket you put on to run outside, the empty water bottle, and dirty plate stack up QUICK. At a minimum run the dish washer, straighten up, sweep, and wipe down your counters every night. If you have kids, have them help you straighten up as part of the bedtime routine. My nephew is responsible for picking up the dog toys he launched all over my house during the day, putting his toys away, and helping me load the dishwasher every night (he’s 2). Do not debate me on this! I promise you will wake up ready to work knowing there are no chores to do. There is no way around this - you got to clean everyday Sis.
Submerge yourself in affordable luxury
Put nice touches around the house to keep your spirits and senses lifted. I’ve never felt wealthier than when I put eucalyptus and candles around my shower last week. You can find some specific recommendations on how to do that here!
Don’t forget to move & get fresh air
It’s easy to get caught up in your work, look up, and realize you haven’t even moved in four hours. Get up and move every couple of hours even if only to move laundry to the dryer. Take a break and actually cook something cute for lunch. Work by an open window, eat lunch on your balcony, or take a walk to get fresh air and keep your mind sharp.
Pick a big project to fill your free time with
I hate feeling like all I have to do to wind down is veg out watching Tiger King. That’s fine too but you can hit a wall, look up and realize you’ve watched all 7, hour long episodes in a single sitting … whoops! Be cognizant. So - since I can’t hit happy hour and be ghetto with my homegirls, I’ve taken the opportunity to rearrange my room, organize my pantry, open up my living room, hang up all my art, and buy three new plant babies. But now that things are really locking down until June for us in the DC area, I’m so glad I also ordered everything I need to redesign my bathroom as well.
Call & FaceTime your family or friends during breaks to stay connected and sane. If being in quarantine will yield anything positive, it's being able to spend more time connecting with loved ones. Staying social will help fill the void left by social distancing.
Let me know what y’all are doing to keep it together and get sh*t done while the world stops.