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Quarantine Survival Guide: Working From Home

These are strange times indeed!  Many of us have been dreaming of working from home for so long only to find it is not exactly what we had imagined.  

I work from home a lot and find that it is not my favorite in the best of circumstances.  I have a lot of distractions – especially with my kids or husband here. I snack more, I work more hours than I would off-site, and the chores beckon me more than I care to admit.  

For those of you who were dropped into working from home and are now expected to be super productive while reading more news than usual, homeschooling, and sto
ckpiling toilet paper, I am here to help! 

Here are some tried-and-true tips for working from home, along a few situation specific suggestions for our friends who have been doing it for a while. 

Establish office hours 

This really is the secret sauce.  Identify your work times and stick to them.  If you work whenever the mood strikes, you are unlikely to ever really get around to it.  Conversely, if you do not set boundaries for your work, you will find yourself working non-stop. Trust me on this.

If you normally work 8-5, now you can work 9-4.  Now that you no longer have unnecessary meetings and chatty coworkers, you should be able to get a lot more done in less time. 

Honor your office hours.  If you don’t, no one else will. 

Set up a proper workstation 

First of all, no one wants to be in a Zoom meeting with you sitting in your bed. 

Read that again.

Second, the sofa and the coffee table are not a good workstation either.

You need a place where you can sit comfortably and with good posture.  Ergonomics matter at home too.  Sit at the bar in the kitchen or at the dining room table.  Have a plug nearby to stay charged and a flat surface where you can easily make notes. 

I never encourage working from your bedroom, and it is especially true now.  There needs to be a distinct separation from where you work and where you rest.  Use your bedroom as a work area as a last resort, even after you have tried the back porch. 

Manage distractions 

Turn off the television. Put your phone in a drawer somewhere. Wear your Air Pods so you don’t hear your kids playing FortNite. I have even gone so far as to put a note on my (front) door indicating that I am in a meeting and to enter quietly please.

Before asking others in your home to tiptoe around your needs, keep theirs in mind too.  Children need to move around and make noise. 

Create a schedule 

Much like your office hours, creating a schedule to manage everyone’s needs is critical.

Schedule homeschooling time during your office hours if your kids are self-sufficient.  Schedule reading time when you have meetings.  Schedule time to play in the backyard or go for a walk.  Schedule time for fun.

The schedule doesn’t have to be precise.  It can be large loose chunks. 

Here is an example:

9 - 10 a.m. Read emails and set up the day 

10 a.m. - 12 p.m. School time and productive work 
12 - 1 p.m. Lunch 
1 - 2 p.m. Go outside or be active 
2 - 4 p.m. Game/movie time for kids and work time for parents 
4 - 5 p.m. – Close up the workday, send invoices, etc. 
5 p.m. on – family time as usual 

Do something different and special each day to mix it up and help you remember what day it is. 

A few more things 

  • Get dressed every day. In real clothes, not yoga pants.  This will help your mindset. 
  • Use this time to get caught up instead of getting further behind.  Tackle the things on your To Do list that are almost finished first. 
  • This is a rare opportunity to slow down. Take it. Play games with your kids, hug your spouse, and maybe even write a letter – with your hand. 

We can get caught up in the fear or we can get caught up in what is important – our homes and the people in them. 

Stay safe friends!

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About the Author

Jennifer Snyder

Jennifer Snyder

My name is Jennifer Snyder CPO, Chief Executive Organizer of Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts, a Waco-based company of Professional Organizers that is not only focused on organizing the clutter in your home or office but also clutter of the heart and mind. 

I am happy that you are taking an interest in the benefits of getting your home and life organized.  Living an organized life is for everyone!

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