Not sure about you, but I’m a little tired of all those “how to work from home guides” that are currently being sent out. Most of them are written by people who always work from home and have the hang of it.
I too have the hang of it. I’ve been doing it since 2013. But it’s not such an easy adjustment. So my first bit of juicy advice for you is:
think about your normal routine and then throw that shit out the window.
1. Do not, I repeat, do not follow your normal routine…
Nothing is normal, so let’s not pretend.
Now is time to make new rituals, not like *goat sacrificing rituals, but different ones.
If you are lucky enough to be working from home, then figuring it out takes some time. And that is ok. I know the media is pushing upskilling or learning new skills, and that is great, for some people. But not for everyone, some people need to slow down and reconfigure their lives. And that is beyond stressful.
Feeling bad because you didn’t come out of lockdown as a computer programmer, is just crappy altogether.
I wonder if there is going to be some sort of upskill shaming?
I can totally see it now – your waspy neighbor Buffy, who always wears a visor and a pink sweater over her shoulders, comes over and says, “I learned to play the flute, be a chef, and speak mandarin during the lockdown. What did you do with your time?”
To this, I hope your response is “I learned how to get away with murder.” That’ll shut her up.
Some people might come out of quarantine as a ballerina and a fiction writer, and bravo for them. But if you just want to get some work done and read a book, then so be it. Life isn’t a one size fits all situation. So if you’re going to binge Netflix shows, then, by all means, make some popcorn with extra butter, and don’t feel bad about it.
2. Set your alarm for your regular time…
and then shut that shit off.
I know, I know. Starting your day off right is essential. And so is sleep, especially when you are going through a tumultuous time. Stress lowers your immune system, as does lack of sleep. No one has time for a lower immunity, so if rest is calling your name, sweet dreams.
I’m not saying to sleep until noon every day. But if you need to for a day or two, go for it. You are recalibrating your life, so listen to your body.
However, if you start sleeping all day, for an extended period, check yourself. Are you getting into a funk and feeling a bit depressed? Call a friend, reach out. Socially distancing is one thing, emotionally distancing is another. You need people, and they need you. We are all in this crazy doughnut-hole together. Don’t forget that and isolate yourself too much. #truth
3. Brush your teeth and shower…
No one cares. Real talk = I haven’t shaved my legs in a month. And you know what, no one knew (until now). However, I am a bit of a hippy and often go for long shave-free bouts. A month is the longest it’s been since college when I stopped shaving altogether. I was in class one day and looked down to see a full-on man-sized armpit sprout peeking its wiry head out of my sleeve. I left mid-lecture and shaved that shit off.
But I digress.
Unless your partner is working with you in close quarters, this could be an excellent time to let your inner scumbag out. If only for a BRIEF minute. But don’t you go working at a table for two and breathing your nasty-ass coffee breath at your partner, have some decency, go brush.
Seriously though, if you don’t feel like showering for a day, don’t. I said, one day. I’m giving an inch, don’t take a mile.
4. Put on work clothes…
and then take them off and put on your day jammies.
I went out to get wine (because priorities) and never looked in the mirror before I left. Not even sure I brushed my teeth that morning. I came home, took a look in the mirror and was mortified.
Even Mark, who has nothing but kind words to me, said with a nervous giggle, “God, I hope you didn’t run into anyone you know. Not your best look, babe.” Total hot mess! Just two short months ago, I would have at least looked in the mirror.
Public Service Announcement: If you and your partner are both working from home, walking around naked might not be the best idea. Zoom meetings anyone?
5. Enjoy the commute
Take pleasure in the fact that you only have to walk a few feet to your desk, or kitchen table, or wherever your new office is. Maybe take a few extra minutes to enjoy the smell of your coffee brewing, or sit outside on your balcony. When was the last time you heard the birds chirping? Well, enjoy those sounds.
Without the masses commuting to work, life is pretty peaceful. The streets are quieter, the traffic noises are at a minimum. I swear mother nature is happy right now, we’ve had some of the clearest skies and sunsets in years. Enjoy that silence for a few minutes.
Or just until the silence freaks you out and then turn on some music. Because now, you get to choose the music. No longer do you have to listen to that lame-ass Kenny G music your boss puts on. You get Metallica if that’s what you want.
6. Treat yo’self while you work
Work with a facemask on, not the COVID-19 ones. I mean a treatment mask. When does that happen at your “regular” job? It doesn’t, ever. Take full advantage of it.
Not sure what to do with all the Greek yoghurt you bought when panic shopping? How about a face or hair mask? Add a little honey and boom. Moisture mask!
6. Put down the broom…
you are not Cinderella
Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you need to do all the chores. Yes, eventually they need to get done, but they will be there later.
Even though I’ve been working from home since 2013, this feels very different. I’ve given myself permission to roll out of bed, pick my clothes up off the floor and put them back on. I’ve also gotten out of a shower and stepped over a pile of clothes to get to my desk. I didn’t even bother to pick them up.
Don’t you judge me!
At least I showered.
Things that were once important have taken a back seat. I can’t say I’m lazier now, after all, I’m cooking what seems like 17 meals a day. I’m just messier and I DON’T CARE. It’s like my brain knows it’s ok to be a little sloppy, to be a bit laidback about the small stuff that maybe I used to sweat. I’m not this way every day, but I’m not mad about it when I am.
If you need to take 15 minutes every morning to do a quick sweep, or mop or whatever floats your cleanliness boat, then have at it.
Mark would love me to mop in the mornings. But I’m too busy making coffee and enjoying my commute. And Mark is better at mopping than me, he does it with a natural flair. Just look at him saluting me with his middle finger as he mops. So formal!
So in case you need permission to be a little messy, or wait one more day to do the laundry, permission is granted by me, your messy godmother.
7. Don’t take work home with you
Now, this is a tricky one that I struggle with at times.
It’s very easy to never leave your computer, and before you know it, it’s midnight. Make a deadline to shut it down. Don’t just make it, stick to it. You will always have more to do. So pick a time, and walk away. Do something to unwind.
Don’t just go straight from the computer to your bed, it doesn’t make for a smooth transition, and your brain doesn’t shut off like that. Watch a show, have a glass of wine, or if you are somewhere that weed is legal, smoke a joint. You do you, just do it away from the computer.
8. Above all, give yourself some time and grace
This is all new. Some days will work for you while others may not. You’ll find your flow. You’ll find your routine, even if it does include *sacrificing a goat.
But how you could you? Look at those cuties…
The bottom line…
Don’t worry. All of this is temporary. It will change when we are allowed to go out again. We’ll start getting all dolled up and feel amazing.
In fact, it’s almost Easter, and this Jew is going to get all dressed up tomorrow. And by that, I mean wearing clean clothes and putting in hair product. I may even shower and brush my teeth.
*And before you start sending me nasty comments, no one here is promoting goat sacrificing, so just stop. It’s called humor, you wanker.