10 Ways to Make the Most of Working From Home

If all had gone according to plan, I would have spent the week in LA for work and then flown to Tucson to see my grandparents before returning home to Park Slope Heaven. However, all has not gone according to plan…instead we are confined to our apartments, working from our living rooms, and trying to stay sane and healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 2020.

Before we talk about working from home, let’s talk about gratitude. Those of us who can work from home are extraordinarily lucky. I am so grateful for the healthcare workers, the grocery store staff, the mailmen, and everyone else putting their health at risk to keep society alive. I feel for the service industry, required to pause many operations, and cannot wait until we can safely go to restaurants, bars, nail salons, etc. once again. Heck, I’m even looking forward to rescheduling my dentist appointment!

All right, so let’s talk about making the most of working from home. I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve been spoiled with the flexibility to work remotely over the last few years. I usually work from home once a week, so now that I’m working from home every day, I’ve been very conscious of the behaviors that help me make the most of it. Sharing a few of my favorite tactics below, if you’d like to read them…

  1. Set up a dedicated work space – During the day, my kitchen table (located in my living room, because, New York) becomes my office. When I’m done for the day, I put away my laptop, my notebook, and my mouse and it once again becomes a kitchen table.
  2. Make an aggressive to-do list and start with the worst thing first – I hear my father when I say this, but there’s no sense procrastinating if you have to do it anyway. Do it first, and then feel the accomplishment that comes with crossing it off of your to-do list.
  3. Use video, even if your coworkers aren’t – I do this at the office too, because I believe it makes your teammates feel closer to you. The non-verbals are so, so important. (This also implies showering, which I’m not going to put on the list because it’s on every other WFH list. Do what you need to do to feel comfortable showing your face on video.)
  4. Turn off the news – Because the news has become a scary place, I do my best to limit my intake to a few minutes in the morning and a few more minutes in the evening as I cook dinner.
  5. Eat real meals – It’s easy to forget to eat real meals when you’re working from home, but it’s important to keep your body on a schedule and avoid getting hangry.
  6. Drink lots of water – You’ll feel better.
  7. Sneak in fresh air or a workout…maybe both – During the early pandemic days, I loved taking walks through the park and around the neighborhood. Now that things have escalated, I’ve been outside much less and am taking online classes through ClassPass, Bend + Bloom, Heatwise, Yoga Vida, and Yoga with Adriene. (Quick shout out to the yoga studios for setting these up so quickly!)
  8. Plug in your phone…somewhere else – We all know our phones can be distracting, and they are especially distracting with all of the quarantine memes. They’re so good, but they can wait until you’re done.
  9. Turn on white noise – We’re two weeks into quarantine and the children in my building have completely lost it. The dogs, too. And okay, some of the adults. Between the sirens, the crying, the barking, and the yelling, it’s quite distracting and turning on white noise helps.
  10. Put your head down and work, work, work – This one’s simple. Do your job, and appreciate that you can do your job in the comfort and safety of your own home.

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