Growing up, I always dreamed of being able to work in my pajamas. Being able to work from my bed sounded like the greatest thing in the world! Making money without leaving my room? What could be better?
Now that my work has been moved entirely online for almost a year due to COVID-19, I am starting to realize that my childhood self may have been a bit naïve in her vision of what working from home would look like. Turns out, working in your pajamas gets old after a while. Developing a work/life balance is harder when you take meetings and watch Netflix in the same room. Who would have thought?
If you are anything like me and are beginning to hit a wall with working from home, here are 8 quick tips to make that well-worn path from your kitchen to your dining room table a little more bearable.
1. Develop a Morning Ritual
While you may not be able to mentally prepare for the day during your daily commute, it's important to still create a morning routine that adds structure and joy to your day. Getting dressed and doing one thing that makes you smile before starting work gets you started on the right foot. Every morning I walk my dog to the dog park, and we play fetch for about 30 minutes or so. And even though she has a perfectly good coffeemaker at home, my friend does a morning coffee run with her husband every day. It gives them 15 minutes to catch up, discuss plans for the day, and seems a justifiable treat now that her eating out budget is next to nil.
2. Light a Candle
You know when you walk into a fancy store or a spa and the scent just transports you? There's no reason you can't replicate that luxe feeling at home. Candles are an underrated way to get started with your work day. For a cozy feel, light a teakwood candle and imagine you're sitting in your favorite café.
3. Become a Plant Parent
Plants are an instant way to add life to a room. If your work space at home is starting to feel a bit drab, add some greenery to spruce it up. Hang one plant in the corner or turn your work space into an indoor jungle - we don’t judge. If you don't have a good local plant store, you can even order plants to your door through a website such as thesill.com. If you have a tendency to murder plant babies, you can treat yourself to flowers every once in a while.
4. Declutter Where You Can
Simply cutting back on items that are cluttering your shelves can give your whole space a facelift. Less visual clutter can open up a room and also give you some peace of mind. While every room in the house can benefit from this, a clean and organized work area can remove mental clutter and help you focus on the task at hand.
5. Make sure your bookcase is CNN-worthy
We know from all the articles that, indeed, people are noticing the bookshelf behind you during Zoom calls. A well-decorated shelf can tie a room together like nothing else and isn't hard to achieve. Organize books by color, or use Savor boxes to line the shelves, for both organizational help and a good look. (There's a reason we call the Deluxe Collection "The Library.").
6. Keep Regular Hours
While the best part of working from home is the flexibility, we all know that it can also be a slippery slope. Keeping somewhat regular hours is important to maintaining a work/life balance.
7. Organize Fun Breaks
Even though your team may not be able to be together in person, organizing fun breaks is a perfect way to keep things interesting! Organize a bake off, where everyone gets the same ingredients and makes cookies together over Zoom. Or, if you'd rather not broadcast your lack of baking chops, you can also organize fun games during breaks. Heads Up! and Outburst are my favorites, and they are sure to have everyone laughing by the end. SO much better than just scrolling through Instagram.
8. Keep It Moving
Even though it may seem easier to have a dedicated office space, try switching things up by working in a new location. My partner sometimes works standing up at a dresser for a change of pace. Having a traveling workspace, like Savor's Vault, can do wonders - start work anywhere and just pack it up in the box at the end of the day. No more waking up to a table littered with papers and documents!
While lighting a nice-smelling candle or starting your day with a morning walk and coffee can’t completely recreate an office experience, these little changes can help add structure and joy to a routine that may be getting a bit too familiar. With a bit of creativity and effort, we can all begin to adjust to our new normal and learn to make the absolute best out of working from home.