First, I’d like to acknowledge all of the people who aren’t able to work from home. I think we all should (thank them/be able to stay home and not worry about wages). It’s tough to have to essentially ignore what we’re being told to do so that you can provide a service, or simply work and continue to make a living.
I know that it’s easy to complain about getting bored because we’ve been told to stay home, but there is so much privilege in that, especially if you’re able to work from the comfort of your home as well.
For the past 3(?) years, I have been working from home in some capacity.
When I first started, Kane would often come home to me, in my same pjs, with greasy hair, ’cause I still hadn’t showered. I also used to work during all hours of the night. He didn’t chirp me that hard about it, thankfully, but it did take some time for me to get my groove and find my own normal, under circumstances I’d never had to navigate before.
To be honest, I still have those days, and I am by no means the poster child for a productive freelancer. However, I have learned a thing or two about how to effectively work from home without driving yourself nuts.
- Give yourself a schedule
It took me a while, but realizing that I needed a schedule and a routine around working when I was home saved me a lot of stress, and also saved Kane from bad sleep.
As I said earlier, I used to work at all hours of the night, sometimes, just starting to work at midnight. I learned very quickly that a) I was no longer built for the all-nighter life, and b) it just wasn’t the most efficient way for me to work. Doing little all day and then staying up all night stressed about work really put a strain on me, and I also found that I wasn’t being all that present as a partner, ’cause by the time Kane got home from work, I decided it was time for me to start, so we didn’t get any quality time. If the 9-5 structure is what you’re used to, by all means, keep that going right now. Structuring your days gives you free time, but also keeps you accountable for how much work you should be getting done, since you’re technically “on the clock.”
- Get dressed (sometimes)
When I was only freelancing, one sure fire way to get me out of my pjs was to head to my local coffee shop to do work for a few hours. It got me out of bed, showered, and dressed.
Of course, hanging out at a coffee shop isn’t really an option at the moment, but you can absolutely still shower and get dressed, just to put you in the mindset that you’re no longer just hanging out at home. Maybe don’t put on a full suit, but even having “work sweat pants” helps to shift your thinking from relaxation to work mode.
However, if you’ve got a day where pjs is just the only way to go, do it up! You’re home!
*Full disclosure: I took a call today and worked without pants on, ’cause why the heck not?
- Take breaks
It’s easy to get on a roll and work for hours and hours without end while you’re at home. No one’s kicking you out, there’s no one there to tell you it’s time to end your day, and sometimes, being comfortable at home actually makes you feel like you’re actually not that tired, so you just keep going.
Do not do this.
Just like you need to maintain some sort of schedule, you should also include breaks in your day. Make yourself a delicious snack or lunch, pause for an episode of your favourite tv show, or just shut your computer and walk away from it for a while.
- Avoid working in your bed
I cannot tell you how many times I straight up fell asleep with my laptop on my chest while working from my bed or the couch. If you have a home a home office, keep your work there. Now, I try to work from the dining table, since it’s got a great view of the TV, but is still just desk-like enough that I can’t pass out there, mid-work day.
Also, not working from bed means that when the work day is done, you can cozy up on your bed or your couch and RELAX.
This could mean a lot of things to everybody, but to me, it means working sans pants, and doing the occasional mask while I work. It’s a luxury to get to multi task this way, since I can’t mask while I teach a class or work at an office, but I can work at home and mask at the same time.
I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe out there right now! Sending you all a virtual hug, and happy social distancing!