5 Simple Ways to Make a Calmer WFH

1. Create a “Commute”

In ye olden days, the process of getting ready and heading out of the house gave your brain time to shift over into work/school mode before settling in at your desk for the day.  With workspaces now safely under the same roof as your bed, however, it can be difficult to create a distinction between your personal and professional lives – which can lead to a rise in stress and mental exhaustion.

In order to combat this, and still enjoy the money your saving on transportation, try going for a brief walk in the morning.  Even just to grab the mail!  Give yourself a treat and grab breakfast at a nearby cafe to break up the monotony of mornings.  If you have kids, a spouse, or other roommates who also work from home, have a joint outing in the morning to grab some fresh air before sitting down to focus.

2. Dedicate a Work/School Space

While working in bed may have been fun at first, working in the same place you sleep can train your brain into associating that spot with productivity instead of restful sleep.  

And who wants to dream of work?  Or not dream I suppose.

Finding a location in your home to have a dedicated work/study spot can help you create a space for focus and productivity – but you don’t need an entire room!  While dining tables and counters are the first things that come to mind, you don’t have to feel restricted to them.  You can easily convert a side table or a console/coffee table into a work station.  Having a box or bag handy to store items can help you stay organized and allow for easy cleanup if you need to repurpose the space.

Plus, if you have a group of WFH-ers under the same roof, you could even purchase a set of TV trays to give everyone their own portable desk that can be tucked away when not in use.

3. Recess is for Everyone

While most people reminisce fondly on days when school was broken up with play and children proudly proclaimed recess their favorite subject, don’t feel like that needs to stay in the past!  Creating periods of work/study broken up with a short walk or change of scenery can actually help keep you focused on your tasks – even something as simple as grabbing tea or coffee from your kitchen.

Building in breaks is especially important when you have children learning from home.  Not only does recess give kids a chance to exercise and mentally store the information they’ve learned, but it also gives them a chance to explore their creativity and social skills during a time that is largely unstructured.  While the social aspect is rather difficult due to remote learning and required separation, we can still foster imagination and the thrill of playing pretend to help them succeed both physically and mentally during these difficult times.

4. ‘Zoom’ is for … playdates?

Working and learning from home, social distancing, places closed….2020 has certainly made it difficult to catch up with friends and family, no matter what your age is.  One of the ways we’ve been keeping in touch is actually with Zoom and a variety of online games.

While it doesn’t always have to be Fortnite, there are a surprising amount of online board and card games available for groups to play together:

While Zoom isn’t required to play these games, it is nice to see your friend’s reactions when you beat them – er, when you play against them.  Humans are very social creatures, so adding in a face you can chat with while you play, or in between games, definitely helps combat the physical separation.

And if you or your friends aren’t the gaming type, logging on to Zoom and enjoying a drink while you catch up works just as well!

5. Break up your Chores

The downside of remote work is that you’re stuck at home.  I know, that’s normally one of the upsides but hear me out.  Being home all the time makes you hyper-aware of all of the little cleaning that needs to be done and has always been able to pull my attention away from my work.

One thing that definitely works for me is putting a time limit on my cleaning.  By giving myself 15 minutes to pick up, I can do a quick pick-up without losing my entire day to cleaning.  Plus, setting a time limit is also great for kids since they can visually track how long they have left to clean instead of feeling like they have to find an invisible threshold to pass on what’s clean enough or not.  (You can even add in learning how to read a clock instead of setting a timer, win-win!)

Another thing I have to remind myself is that the privilege of working from home doesn’t mean my job is the home.  While it can feel rewarding to keep up the house and complete your 9-5, it also means you’re balancing two different jobs during the week.  Falling behind can add unwanted stress, especially if your actual job performance begins to decrease.  While slipping in a 15 minute clean is one thing, especially since taking a break can increase your focus, keep in mind you still have after you clock out and/or the weekends to catch up on any homely affairs.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you find some calm as we head into 2021.

What’s your favorite card or board game? (We’re always looking to expand our collection :))
Plus, let me know if there are any tips that have helped you stay sane during this unconventional year!

Enjoy the Holidays,
xx Sam

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