Working From Home: 7 Essential Tips on Becoming a WFH Rockstar
Hey, ya’ll! How’s that WFH life goin’ for ya? Can you believe that just a short two months ago, most of us had never even heard of WFH? It’s true, working from home has completely changed life as we once knew it. And I don’t just mean the way we do business. I mean, like everything.
We’ve been stretched in our relationships, both at home and from a distance (good LAWD, don’t we know it). We’ve had to learn new forms of technology and ways to work together without actually being together. And we’re adapting through unique daily obstacles that come our way (like keeping our socially deprived wits about us and not devouring ALL the snacks).
Working from home certainly comes with its own unique struggles. And, for many of us, this WFH situation isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, some companies are choosing to adopt permanent “work from anywhere” policies. If working remotely is becoming our new normal for the foreseeable future, we bes’ be doing it right.
So, here are some of our top tips for becoming a WFH rockstar:
Own your personal workspace.
Now that you’re finally free from that dreadful fluorescent office lighting, it’s essential to establish your own personal WFH vibe.Spend a few minutes each day tidying up, organizing, and creating a space where you can be your best productive self.Display your desk accessories in acute tray (orthese for more color), and do your best to keep things orderly. You’ll feel less distracted by the clutter (and that menacing pile of paperwork) and a little more like getting down to business. #winning
As tempting as it may be to grab your coffee and your laptop and WFB (work from bed), I don’t recommend it. You just spent all night in bed. Do you really want to spend all day there, too? (Okay, maybe don’t answer that.) And do you want to take business calls in the same space where you made your children? That’s just awkward.
Pro tip: If you really want to get $hit done, make your bed first thing and stay out of it until bedtime. Or at least until your workday is done. Make your home workspace cozy enough to feel welcoming and personal, yet not so cozy that you want to slump over and take a nap. Your office might not be your bed, but it’s also not a lifeless cubicle. Focus on the bright side.
Just add plants.
I mean, this goes without saying around here. If you haven’t yet sipped the Crazy Plant Lady Kool-Aid, go get yo’self some plants. This is more than just an aesthetic tip. Your quality of life is on the line. We’re talking about your mental, emotional, and physical health here.A few well-chosen plants in your home office are sure to lift your mood while also purifying your indoor air.Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you (HERE). Whether you prefer minimalist greenery or opt for that jungle office vibe, we’re sure to have the rightplant container for you.
Pro tip: If your home office doesn’t receive much light, my favorite plant for low light conditions is a ZZ plant (short forZamioculcas zamiifolia). If you haven’t already met this social media queen, here’s a small-ish version in ourterracotta triangle pot. You can find evensmaller ones or more mature ZZ plants, which can grow to be about 3 feet tall. (Just don’t let your pets your kids chew on them because they are poisonous when consumed.)
Change your clothes. (and maybe even shower)
Look. I 100% understand the temptation to stay in our jammies all day. We’re most likely not going anywhere. And no one’s coming to visit. Why not be as comfy as possible?The truth is, changing our clothes changes the way we feel, which changes our mindset.Let’s face it. We’re all more likely to be efficient and productive if we get dressed for work.
I’m not saying we need to pull out our power heels to strut down the hallway. We just need to feel a tad put together and ready to rock it in thehome office. You never know when that phone appointment might actually be a Zoom call, and I wouldn’t want you to be caught braless in your ratty college t-shirt. (Unless that’s your thing, then you do you.)
The good news is this: You don’t have to sacrifice “comfy” in your WFH wardrobe.
The growinglist of ethical clothing companies who are making a stand against fast fashion provides plenty of comfortable, sustainable options. Remember, every purchase you make is a vote with your hard-earned dolla bills for the eco-conscious industry. Make your vote count.
Give yourself an actual break.
While you may still have an employer, working from home has given us the freedom to be the boss of how we spend our time. This is when we discover what we’re really made of, how self-disciplined (or not) we are, and how strong our work ethic is (or isn’t).For the serious WFHers out there who diligently put in the time even while no one’s looking, give yourselves an effin break. You’ve earned it. There’s no extra credit given for skipping your lunch breaks while working from home.
If you don’t already have your Apple Watch or some other techy gadget nudging you to stand up at least once every hour, set a timer. Get up and walk around. Grab a glass of water or a healthy snack. Take your dog for a walk and get some fresh air. Doodle in a coloring book. Try acreativity break. Squeeze in a15-minute yoga flow. Meditate. Or take a power nap if you’re lucky enough to have that superpower.Whatever you need to do for a quick refresh and a change of scenery, do it. And do it without feeling guilty. You’ll be more productive, avoid burnout, and be able to manage your stress better as a result.
Tackle the hard stuff first.
We all probably have that one thing on our minds when we wake up in the morning. You know, the task youreeeaaallllly need to get done. The one item on your to-do list you’re dreading because it’s boring, or tedious, or overwhelming. This is likely to be the same task that makes it’s way onto tomorrow’s to-do list because you didn’t make time for it today. That is, unless, you prioritize.
Pro tip: The best way to prioritize your to-do list is to plan it out the night before. Scribble down everything you need to do the next day and circle the one thing that MUST get done. Then put that on your schedule as tomorrow’s #1 job. Don’t get thrown off course by watching endless Instastories before you start your day. Put the kibosh on the distractions and focus on the main task at hand.
When you muster up the motivation to knock out the tough tasks first, you’ll be so glad you did. You know that feeling you get when you conquer a long uphill climb, and you’re enjoying the breeze in your hair as you coast down the other side? That’s how the rest of your day feels when you do the hard stuff first. Yep, like a real-life rockstar.
Live life in the offline moments.
I don’t know about you, but all this time spent trying to replace in-person interactions with screentime has me bugging out a little. As if we didn’t already have our noses in screens too much before this pandemic, by now our screentime is up by about 1000% from two months ago. At the end of the workday, I sometimes feel like chucking my phone at the wall. So, to avoid that ugly situation, let’s just agree to take a deep breath and try out one of these 3 ways to unplug:
- Mail handwritten notes.We all love receiving a bit of happiness in the mail (just take a look at my recent online orders--yikes). Anyone can send a text these days. Why not go the extra mile and send a note of appreciation to your boss, a co-worker, or anyone else who might need an encouraging word? You’ll make their whole week.
- Avoid looking at your phone for the first hour of the day. The honest truth is that abstaining from our devices for any period of time is more difficult than we’d like to admit. If the bulk of your day is going to be spent in front of a screen, avoid a technology overdose by beginning your day with somethingother than screentime. Whether you spend that time in prayer, meditation, taking a walk, or some other relaxing exercise, it’s really up to you.
Get creative with personal connections.
Staying in touch with our friends, family, and business associates during this time of sheltering-in-place has never been more vital. It’s also never been more of a challenge. That is, of course, unless we’re talking about the people we live with...in which case, you might have a whole ‘nother kind of challenge on your hands. (Is there such a thing as too much family time? Asking for a friend.)
If you don’t hold space for social connection in your life, it won’t happen.Staying connected during a lockdown requires some real intentionality. Thankfully, this is when technology worksfor us. As I’m sure you know by now, Facetime, Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and a handful of other apps make face-to-face conversations possible while social distancing. And guess what? Even happy hour can still be a thing.
A friend of mine recently told me about a virtual cocktail party she enjoyed via Zoom. Everyone arrived on the scheduled call, all gussied up in their best cocktail attire, ready to mix some tasty libations with the guidance of a real live mixologist. And it was a blast!
For those of us who are on the sobriety train, why not mix up some mocktails? Or some fun appetizers? You could even host a virtual cooking class. It’s not about what’s being served; it’s about who we’re sharing the time with. We have an incredible opportunity to make the best of a time in history we’ll surely never forget. Who would’ve guessed even a few months ago that every day would be Take Your Dog to Work Day? Talk about WFH perks!
As life slowly returns to a new spin on normal, I know we’ll take the lessons we’ve learned and the WFH skills we’ve developed with us. We see you out there killin’ it, making the best of a difficult situation day in, day out, and we’re proud to know you. Keep on hangin’ in there and living your best WFH rockstar life.