Before the stay at home order, work from home (WFH) was an occasional Friday treat for me. Maybe my team decided to not come into the office, had a long week of weekday travel (and my flight landed at 11:55pm on Thursday), or I wanted to save my commute to kick start weekend. Regardless, it was often something I had planned and communicated ahead of time to focus and recharge outside of my normal work environment.
Then came COVID-19.
I didn’t mind working from home at the beginning. It’s great not having to commute, sleeping in a little, staying in my PJs, no makeup, and my whole kitchen at my disposal. I often expressed (and still do) how lucky I am to still be working at these times— not something everyone can relate to. But as each zoom call blurred into each other and I often had to remind myself what day of the week it is I couldn’t help but feel… restless?
Working from home used to be my days I could hide away and trek along my work with fewer distractions. Some may say being at home is a huge distraction (and I get it if you have kids, families, spouses, etc) but for me, with the coworkers I have, every day is a fun little adventure.
I knew I was starting to get bored and zoom happy hours were starting to not be enough to get me through.
I soon learned all the things I was excited about in the beginning— working in PJs, getting that extra bit of sleep, rolling from my bed to my desk (guilty), — were soon starting to decrease my productivity. Here are little changes to make to increase productivity as each zoom call blurs into one another:
- Take dedicated breaks. No really, pencil it in your calendar if you have to, even if it’s for 15 minutes. I found that if I didn’t plan out my day– blocking time in my calendar in between meetings for breaks, tasks, individual work I need to get done– I was tired, hangry and unproductive (as a result of being too tired and hangry). Even if you just need to take a mental break from the work to browse Instagram, give yourself a break to stand and stretch. If you don’t remind yourself, your Apple Watch will.
- Don’t work in your PJs. Yes, I was really excited about this back in March but a few weeks in and I realized I can’t work in what I sleep in. It doesn’t get me in the right mindset. I’m way more productive changing into another set of equally comfy clothes such as joggers/leggings and an oversized sweatshirt. Better yet, if you’re feeling ~fancy~ and want to drop the $$, buy a matching loungewear set. You can feel cute without compromising comfort. Bonus points if you change into your workout clothes in the morning just to give you a little push at the end of the day (or lunch break) to sweat it out.
- Give yourself a morning routine. I was also really excited to just roll out of bed and make a beeline to my desk back in March. This made me super sluggish, I was practically not even awake for the first hour of my day. Even a quick morning routine, ~15 minutes long is enough for me to feel more awake. For me, it’s about taking my time to do my skincare routine (more to come on that), changing into my comfy clothes, and writing up my to-do list for the day. Pick a few things you like to do every morning that works for you and makes you feel ready for the day.
- Prepare balanced meals you’ll enjoy. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge. If you want a slice of cake for lunch (I’m guilty), honor that. But that 2 pm post-lunch carb coma is REAL. Try to incorporate some quick healthy snacks to your day like fruit and nut butter, eggs and avo toast, a peanut butter chocolate protein smoothie — things that will give you energy, keep you satiated and not give you a sugar crash during the middle of your status calls. And most importantly, make your coffee/tea, meals, and snacks something to look forward to. The highlight of my morning is when I have my overnight oats with a glass of cold brew… it hits the spot every time and I get excited about it every day.
- Keep your desk organized. Get yourself a monitor (or a laptop stand), minimize the clutter, and keep your workspace clean. You’ll thank yourself later.
I found myself working longer hours at home, with fewer opportunities for distractions and conversations since no one was physically around me. Bottom line, do what you got to do to take care of yourself — 2020’s been rough, so enjoy the little things to get you through each day. If you’re like me, you might get the Sunday scaries even when working from home, so here are a few I do to help recharge on Sundays to power through another amazing work week.