I hope this post finds everyone safe and not too anxious. Our worlds have changed suddenly. I miss working at coffee shops. I also miss meeting my friends for coffee and conversation on weekends. But we need to do this. I live with my elderly parents who suffer from multiple ailments so I try my best to get groceries delivered and keep myself safe too. The possibility of infecting them makes me anxious.
Those of us who can work from home are privileged. Those of us who have freelance work during the pandemic are lucky. The internet is full of advice for people who find themselves working from home for the first time. I’ve been doing it since 2012.
Contrary to popular opinion, I’m not going to start with telling you to wear your usual office attire. Agree or disagree, this is what has worked for me.
1) Wear what makes you feel good: If you’ve been following me here and on Twitter, you’ll know that I put a huge emphasis on ‘feelings’. Some days I feel confident and ready to take on the world wearing my pajamas. On other days, I may feel less motivated and need proper pants on to get me moving.
2) Keep snacks ready: You’ll need both healthy and not so healthy snacks to carry you through the day. A lot has changed and a little bit of chocolate or a cupcake can’t be an evil thing. So keep carrot sticks and nuts and dry fruit and yoghurt but make room for some sugar too on days that you need it.
3) Make your own space: Everyone can’t get their own room for office hours. You may have to share a room with your spouse or someone else too. Just don’t share the same desk/table. Even your couch is a better place because your family members can distract you if you’re siting WITH them.
4) Kids & pets: If you have kids, chances are that they stay awake much longer than my cats do. Cats sleep around 70% of their lives I’ve heard. This means that you’ll have a to-do list for the kids stuff. Stick to specific times for getting their meals ready or homework done. Let them know you can’t be disturbed unless it’s urgent. If you get up to feed the kids or pets, take that opportunity to stretch your body. Refill your water glass.
5) Exercise in some form: I love my solitary walks every evening. If the lockdown rules in your location allow them, do it. Don’t take your phone with you. If you can’t step out, turn on YouTube and dance around or choose something else. Our step counts go down drastically when we work from home and forget to take care ofourselves.
6) Tackle hard tasks first: I like making to-do lists since my college days. And then I love the satisfaction I get each time I finish something and delete it. Use the simple calendar app on your phone or go old school with a notebook. Do the hard tasks first. You get tired by the second half and won’t feel like doing it then.
7) Keep the room closed for video chats: Tell the rest of the family and cats that you’re closing the door for a bit. They can slip a note under the door if they need you. You don’t want a child to throw a tantrum or a cat to sing the song of its people during a work call. My cats once started play fighting on my feet during an important call. That’s how I learned.
Hope these tips help. Please stay home (if you can).