How to Make Working From Home Work for You

April 22, 2020 – Whitney Burton, Marketing Coordinator

This whole working-from-home thing is brand new to me, as it may also be for some of you, but I’ve created a pretty helpful routine for myself through lots of trial and error. Here are some things I do that seem to help me stay productive (and happy) working from home:

 

 Set a work schedule

This probably seems like an obvious thing to mention, but honestly, I am still struggling with it. With nearly all of our plans having been canceled in the blink of an eye, it has really been difficult for me to turn off work mode at the end of the day and just relax (or force myself to clean and do laundry, for that matter), but I’ve been trying to be more consistent. Aside from allowing myself to be more present in my home life, I also believe it will help me transition back to regular work hours at the library fairly seamlessly.

 

Open all the shades and curtains

I remember reading a joke once about people needing sunlight because humans are basically like houseplants with more complex emotions. I find it to be true that I’m a lot happier and feel a whole lot less isolated when I open my shades and let a little bit of the outside come in. 

 

Play music in a room of the house that you’re not working in

Up until a couple of days ago, my husband was still going into work everyday, and we don’t have children yet. Our house can get eerily quiet when I’m home by myself, especially compared to the busyness of the library (yes, seriously!), so I started playing instrumental music in my kitchen (across the house from our office) to add some background noise and help me focus without becoming distracting itself.

 

If you can, pick a workspace that isn’t your couch

Your posture (and productivity) will thank you. Since setting up a designated office space, I’ve been knocking out my to-do list in record time, and I’m not quite as tempted to binge-watch The Office while I work on things.

 

Get dressed in clothes that aren’t pajamas

I’ll be honest. My first week or two at home, there were days that I didn’t even bother changing from my night pajamas to my day pajamas, or vice versa. I thought I was living the introvert dream: working from home in a hoodie, stretchy pants, and slippers, only changing shirts when I knew I had a Zoom meeting with someone I respected. As it turns out, that wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be. I’ve found that the simple act of waking up and going through the routine I’d go through to get ready to head to the office is exactly what I need to do to a.) feel human and b.) tell my brain that it’s time to get. stuff. done. 

 

Eat well and drink lots of water

Refer to point number two about being a slightly-more-complex houseplant. I’m not sure what it is about being at home that makes me want to ingest large quantities of carby, fatty foods, but the struggle has absolutely been real. However, the stress of our current situation and the resulting isolation feels crummy enough without also feeling bloated or dehydrated. Eat food that makes your body feel good.

 

Take (short) breaks

I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ve definitely been feeling the weight of our situation, and it can make concentrating on work more difficult and frankly, kind of exhausting. I’ve given myself lots of grace for this. If things start to feel overwhelming, I take five minutes to get up, stretch, go outside, and breathe. It helps so much more than you would think.

 

I hope that these tips help, and that you’re all staying healthy and well! I can’t wait until we can reopen the library and come together again. 

All my best,

Whitney

 

Cape Girardeau Public Library

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