Disclaimer: I'm writing this from the POV of a healthy(ish) able bodied young(ish) woman with no kids or pets and no intention of telling you what to do because there's no correct way to deal with the current trash fire that is the world at the moment. Also, I'm not a professional writer or self-proclaimed expert, and have no intention of spurring debate or entertaining any negativity. I'm aware there's an extra amount of blogs and email newsletters floating around lately and I honestly suggest reading them all. The tips shared below are based on personal experience and ideas as an artist and small business owner, if you can relate to me and find any of this useful, fantastic! If not, I hope you can find someone/something else that brings you clarity and connection during this time.
Let’s get into it
WFH Tips Round Two: Foundations
The factors that seem to affect how the last 54 days I’ve spent at home stand apart from each other trace back to how I start each day. Here are a few things I’ve done to set up a wfh space, as well as daily practices to maintain some sort of structure in my world.
1) Intentions count
Deciding how you want to spend your day early on sets the tone for the rest of it. You don’t have to have a clear idea as soon as you open your eyes in the morning - make your bed while you figure it out. This decision doesn’t have to be complicated either! Sometimes I start with a simple question about opposite possibilities: am I going to catch up on business accounting today or am I going to make ramen and watch 7.5 hours of Netflix? Go from there.
2) Insert title about how essential routines are here
You’ve heard it a million times already, but that’s probably because routines are how most people get a handle on their day. It can be as time specific and structured or loose as you want, my suggestion is to try including at least one-three things you’re grateful for in your daily practice.
My current morning routine includes waking up not early (extra bed space to sprawl when ya husband gets up at dawn=sleeping in), making a double chocolate protein waffle that’s basically cake, brewing cbd coffee, watching netflix (recently it’s been #blackaf and Never Have I Ever- both excellent). If you really want to avoid the latest headlines first thing in the morning like me, watch an episode of somegoodnews.com instead.
Chill Sunday morning breakfast was always a big thing in my family growing up because that was the one day all of us would get a chance to rest and actually talk to each other. I’m glad to still be able to take time for a variation of that, even if it’s by myself. Honestly, this entire hour I now have to slowly wake up my body and start my day sure beats eating in my car on the way to work and overpaying for mediocre coffee when I get there.
3) Change the scenery
Some days I go on hikes through nature trails and some days I literally go outside for a max of 20 minutes to get my mail and say what’s up to my community cats. Get some vitamin D and boost that serotonin!
If you’re physically able to and up for trying yoga, we adore Yoga with Adriene. She’s been teaching for years and has a TON of guided instructional videos for all levels, here’s my personal fav quick 15 minute morning sesh recommendation
I usually complete chores I don’t particularly enjoy before sitting down to work so I can have the rest of the day to spend my energy on more important matters. Plus doing dishes after breakfast is a good way for me to wait for my caffeine to kick in while I’m still half asleep.
A few of my friends are the opposite and feel their most motivated in the early morning hours to knock out their entire workload by lunch, then take it easy the rest of the day. All of us, however, are definitely feeling the same amount of unexpected fatigue and are struggling with getting a grip on time passing lately. Figure out what tasks need your attention and which ones are on autopilot, then try to expend energy accordingly.
5) Take up space
If you haven’t already, set aside a personal space to do the work that requires the most focus. Even though my current work desk is not physically sectioned off from the rest of my apartment (I’m only 4 ft away from the pantry, help!) it still helps my mind create a separation of which actions occur in each setting.
P.S. you’re not confined to this! Sitting in a chair all day in the same spot can get dull, feel free to move around for tasks that don’t require much concentration or a desk like making phone calls from your couch or writing emails on your patio.
6) But I don’t live in a palace
If you don’t have an area available to carve out a new space, you might be working on furniture that’s already part of your home which is what most people are finding themselves doing. I suggest cleaning up the spaces that are being used for multiple tasks throughout the day though. For example- if your dining table is now also your work desk, clear off your laptop, tech cords, notepads, etc. and visually transition to the next function of eating at the same table. “Closing down” my work area also signals me to clock out for the day and not be tempted to get back to working or feel like I’m leaving something unfinished.
Decorate your new wfh space! Even if it’s a small succulent or your favorite quote on a sticky note, add tiny visual elements that brighten your mood., we've got some art print options all under $20 here. If you’re going to be in a space for hours a day, might as well make it a place you like being around.
Thanks for reading and hope some of my words helped! Next Wednesday I'll be sharing ways I stay focused on days that require deadlines.
Stay kind and eat your vegetables.