18 Tips For Working From Home Without Losing Your Mind
Here's how to make that WFH life easier on you — and everyone around you.
1. Keep a stress ball (or something like it) nearby.
2. You can totally work from bed — just make sure you have a good setup that keeps you comfortable.
I’ve been working from home for a year, and setting up my bedside monitor and back pillow has done wonders for my stress levels.
3. Stick to a routine as best as you can.
Especially with kids. Eat your meals, go for a walk, have your kid(s) nap, etc. all at the same time. It gives you structure. ... I’m also a firm believer in music helping you be productive. If you work in an office, your quiet home might seem eerie. Music may help put you in a better place.
4. Tackle your biggest work priorities first.
I start each work day with a “top three must-dos” list. It seems simple, but it helps organize the day so I can work when it’s work time and then unplug with a feeling of accomplishment.
5. Schedule "walk and talk" meetings with your coworkers.
6. Make a list of all the good parts about working from home — it'll help you keep a sense of perspective.
With two working parents and two kids under 10 years old, things could easily feel uncertain, unstable and chaotic. In order to avoid overwhelming feelings, I’ve written out a list of things I have the opportunity to do in this unique work from home situation, like snuggling my kiddos during the day, going for walks on the trail in my neighborhood, spending 1.5 fewer hours traveling, having time to prep some portions of dinner throughout the day instead of rushing once we’ve walked through the door, etc.
Sometimes, listing the things we see as positive on a physical list can keep us from focusing on negative aspects.
7. Get up early, either to get a jump start on your work or just so you can have a little alone time.
I already had a routine before social distancing that involved waking up early to drink coffee and read the news before the kids wake up. I now use that time to work while the house is quiet, and since the kids are sleeping in later, it means even more time.
8. Try to keep your "work space" separate from your living space...
9. Even if you have to get a little creative along the way.
I'm sitting in the freezing cold basement (it's partially finished) with the door closed and a space heater. My coworkers, aka my dog and cat, keep trying to micromanage me, but I politely tell them I can't take them for a walk or play with them.
10. If you're home with a partner, do your work in separate spaces and then meet up when you both have a break.
My husband and I are trying to keep a normal schedule by waking up at our usual time. He is downstairs and does teletherapy (which all his patients are loving). I've turned my desk (later my vanity) back into a desk in our bedroom.
We take short breaks and if he has an opening, we go for a short walk to get fresh air and to keep moving. Then back to our respective "offices." We also alternate between sitting in the backyard. Day one, I was ready to strangle him. Now that we have a new setup, it's much more tolerable.
11. And if you have kids, set clear boundaries between parent "work time" vs. "family time."
12. Take regular breaks to move your body!
I'm getting regular exercise from home with my company's virtual "Lunch 'n' Burn"! Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we gather on Google Hangouts and do a workout together. It keeps me sane when stuck inside AND gives us all an extra social outlet! We even made a little minute-long video of the highlights.
13. Seriously: Set a timer to remind yourself to get up.
It's all about movement for me. I usually do a short yoga video before I start work while my coffee is brewing, and I'll set a timer for every hour or two and do a Zumba video on YouTube or something (we're talking 3–4 minutes). That way you're not stuck sitting and getting wrapped up in your work so much. I can't sit all day long!
14. Get some background noise going to mask any small, annoying sounds.
Turn a box fan on medium while you’re working. It’s a good way to block out distracting noises. I regularly work from home and use this trick when my dog is licking his paws.
15. You can have the TV on, but just make sure it's not messing with your concentration.
16. Set parenting "shifts" during the day.
Because the kids are home and need help with schoolwork, our daily schedules specify which parent is available during what hours. The schedules say “ask mom” and “ask dad” so they know which parent they can interrupt for help based on the time of day.
17. Keep a window open.
I know this is overwhelmingly simple, but open a window, or at least crack open a door to the outside for a bit, to just have that fresh air and be able to see the natural sunlight and sky. Even though we are boxed inside apartments and houses, it’s still important to be able to have the fresh air and free sky.
18. And hey, if nothing else, invest in some good headphones.
If you've got more tips to add, leave them in the comments below!
Stay safe out there, and don't forget to feed your dog/kids/yourself today!!