Hey guys. How are you doing? It’s a tough question to answer right now. We hope you are all staying as safe and healthy as possible. It seems like things are changing each day, and society has taken a really big shift into uncharted waters. First of all, we want to say that our prayers are with all of the healthcare workers, grocery store workers, delivery people and all those who are still out and working to keep us all healthy, fed and supplied. Our hearts go out to those of you who may be out of work right now. For some of us, we have the incredible privilege of being able to take our office jobs home and continue working remotely. For some, this has been the status quo for a while. Some of you may be experiencing the work from home life for the first time, and it can be hard to get a handle on. There can be many questions, like:
How do you work from home productively? How to you maintain sanity being alone all day?
I moved from Chicago to California three years ago when my husband was recruited by UCLA hospital. I went from commuting every day for 3 hours round trip to being 100% remote, every day of the week. It was a HUGE change. And I’ve learned a lot. Here’s 5 tips to help you with the transition:
1.) Stick to a schedule
Before I moved to L.A., my work day looked like this:
- Wake up at 6:30am
- Out the door by 7, commute to work and arrive around 8:45 (yes, long as hell)
- Work 9-4:45 in the office, then do the 1.5 hour commute home
- 6:30 to 11:30: Gym (lol), eat, two glasses of red, zone out in front of the couch
- Repeat Monday-Friday
Sound familiar? My morning routine was figured out to the last second (“If I sleep for 30 seconds longer I can just do my mascara on the train!”) and every day had a familiar rhythm. This was both comforting and monotonous. I wondered, “Without my iron clad schedule, what would my days look like?” At first it felt super freeing, but then almost…overwhelming. Being alone with your thoughts all day and without someone keeping tabs on you can feel a bit like free falling. That’s why it’s so important to get up at the same time and plan out each day in time blocks. This keeps you accountable and provides the structure that Type A people like myself desperately crave. Here’s a sample of how I’m managing my day right now:
- 7:00 – Wake up. Coffee. Read a book for 15 minutes (NOT the news, social media, etc)
- 7:30 – Get dressed, even in just a different pair of yoga pants and clean shirt. Sometimes adding a little makeup can boost my mood or just make it feel a little more normal.
- 8:00-10:00 – Check email and make a priority list of 5 things I want to accomplish for work that day. Start tackling the list.
- 10:00-10:30 – Eat a late breakfast, make the bed, tidy the kitchen.
- 11:00-1:00 – Another time block to work.
- 1:00-2:00 – Take a walk. For now, I’m sticking to unpopulated areas and keeping a 6ft distance between anyone I pass per CDC guidelines. But I’m still walking for physical and mental health. Sunshine is so good for you!
- 2:00 – Social Media check in, shower.
- 3:00 – 5:00 – Last working block. I save this typically for writing or things that require less precision, like budgeting and strategy work.
- 5:00-6:00 – Put on music that makes me happy, light some candles and do something creative. Painting, playing a game, doing a craft, you name it. Give yourself some phone-free creativity time.
- 6:00-6:30 – FaceTime with a loved one.
- 6:30-7:30 – Cook a healthy dinner, try to limit it to one drink to keep my immune system healthy (sometime though I full bottle-ing it, let’s be real)
- 7:30-10:30 – Netflix and chill!
2.) Planners are your friend
I’ve always loved the idea of cute planners but it wasn’t until I started working from home that they became absolutely necessary (this is my current fav, it even has stickers which makes my inner Lisa Frank fan SO happy). Now every Sunday I sit down, look at the week, and prioritize my task list. Typically I’ll use three groups: Things that need to be done for my day job, things that need to be done for Perfête and things that need to be done around the house.
If you’re next level like me, I’ll break down the tasks in each category and assign time limits to each so that I can mentally block out what the day will look like. One of the great advantages of working from home is choosing the times for tasks based on when your brain will be the most receptive. Pay attention to when you’re creating your best work and plan accordingly.
3.) Get dressed
I said this in my routine, but it’s worth repeating as its own category. I know – why bother right? Isn’t that a benefit, the fact that you can just look like a slob all day? Now I’m not saying you need to contour, do a cut crease and rock heels at home (but you sure can if it makes you feel good). Just wash your face, brush your hair, put on your nice yoga pants and greet the day. It really makes a difference for me when I sit down to work and puts me in the zone. Also, you never know when that WebEx is going to turn into a camera facing call, and what could be worse that showing your boss that weird stained tee shirt that you won’t get rid of cause it’s so soft?
4.) Connect with your Coworkers
Being alone all day is HARD, introverted or not. Maybe you used to shout to the cubicle next to you when you were second guessing how to word an email, or you’d take mental breaks and chat at the office Keurig. Just because we’re working remotely doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice the team feeling you get in an office setting.
Here are a few ways to do this:
- The Perfête team LOVES Slack. It’s a great FREE tool that allows you to chat pretty much all day in 1-1 messages or teams grouped by project or department. You can share files and integrate with a lot of your exiting platforms. Plus, it cuts down on unnecessary email when you can simply message a quick question.
- Virtual Happy Hour
- We’re all drinking a little bit more right now, so let’s do it together! Whether it’s a Google Hangout, FaceTime, WebEx or whatever platform of your choice, setting a 30-minute happy hour to hang out with your team and bond can instantly elevate your mood. It also will help you still feel a part of the group. Plus, drinks J
- More frequent team calls
- Weekly or even bi-weekly check ins are extra important right now so we all feel connected and don’t get too siloed in our own work. Regular calls allow you to be connected, ask for help when you need it and share the latest with your team members.
5.) Create a designated workspace
Having a designated workspace is key to productivity. #1 rule: you are not allowed to work from your bed. Once you start this, it will be hard to stop. You bed is for two things: sleep and sex. Keep work out of it. if you’re in a small apartment (hi!) you can still make it work. I bought this cute desk from Crate and Barrel and it takes up almost no space and looks super cute. Get yourself some pretty stationary and a plant or two to keep it green. A bright, clean workspace leads to a calm vibe which leads to a more productive day.
And above all, keep calm and carry on <3