As someone who has worked from a home office for 26 years, I’m sharing these general tips, which still hold true today. I challenge you to select one of these simple disciplines and commit to it this week.
1.) Get dressed.
Take a shower and get dressed, even if it’s athleisure wear. Pajamas and flannel, while comfy, can lead to a lackluster attitude about one’s work situation after wearing them for several days.
(I’m embarrassed to share this tidbit, and it’s the first time I’ve ever told anyone, but my first day of working from home was in June of 1993 in my apartment in Overland Park, Kansas. I actually put on pantyhose and pumps for making phone calls to hospital administrators all day long. I never left the apartment.) I believe we can find a happy middle ground between pj’s and pantyhose.
2.) Keep a daily morning routine.
Make your bed. Have a healthful breakfast. Get a cup of hot coffee or tea. Did I say make your bed? I don’t know about you, but I can’t fully commit to work if I’m looking at an unmade bed. It’s not a bother to some, but it’s a huge distraction for me.
3.) Schedule a “mandatory” break every hour.
One of my clients at a nuclear station requires employees to work 50 minutes on and 10 minutes off. That 10 minutes is used as a stretch break, a bio break, a fresh-air break, a monotony break. More important, it’s required.
As a mom working from home, I’ve adapted that approach to 40 minutes on and 20 minutes off. During this shelter-at-home environment we all find ourselves in, I’ll work for 40 minutes and then use the 20 minutes to check in with my sons to see how the virtual classroom is going and work on a few must-do’s around the house such as laundry and calling to check on friends.
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