Greetings and happy St. Paddy’s Day! This is definitely going to be an unusual one, isn’t it? Well, we are all in this together, so let’s try to make the best of it!
For today’s post, I thought I’d share some tips for working from home since so many are finding themselves in this situation right now. But when I asked last night on my Insta Story if people prefer working from home tips or a fun fashion post, it was almost a draw.
Since I’m a people pleaser, I’ll share a little of both!
Up first, my best tips for working from home and maintaining a work/life balance…
5 Tips for Working from Home
I’ve been working full-time from home for quite a few years, and I’ve developed some habits and strategies that I hope you’ll find useful if you’re suddenly navigating these uncharted waters.
I realize that working from home by choice as I do is quite different from being forced into it, and some jobs just aren’t very conducive to working remotely, but hopefully some of these tips will help you create routines and habits that will serve you well during the upcoming weeks.
#1. Maintain your usual morning routine.
It may be tempting to sleep in or do other things in the morning, now that you don’t have to report to work at a certain time, but that can quickly take a downward spiral until you are struggling to be productive and fit it all in.
My best piece of advice is to continue to get up at your normal time and do your normal morning routine — including getting showered and dressed.
Because I gradually went from being a stay-at-home mom to a work-at-home mom, I never really established that getting-ready habit first thing in the morning, and I wish I had. The days that I get showered and dressed early in the day are by far my most productive days.
So make your coffee, do your devotions or meditation, exercise, eat, whatever you normally do; but before diving into work, put yourself together just like you would if you were going the office.
#2. Create a dedicated work space.
This may be hard if you don’t have a home office or an area already designated for working from home, but do your best with what you have. Set up a spot that is YOUR work space.
Don’t be tempted to work in front of the TV or in bed.
Find a spot for some type of makeshift desk, if you don’t already have one, and instruct family members to stay away.
#3. Designate specific work hours, and set boundaries with kids/husband/bored friends.
This advice is two-fold. First, this ensures that you allot yourself enough time to get your work done. It’s tempting to put it off and tend to household chores or socializing with friends or family members when you should be working.
And second, this prevents you from over-working. It can be hard to walk away from work when you’re at home, and before you know it, you’re working 24/7.
So set specific “office hours” and instruct those around you that you are working and should not be interrupted unless it’s necessary.
I realize some have young kids at home right now, and that can be extra challenging, but try to come up with strategies or an alternating schedule with your spouse or others in the same boat as you so that you can work uninterrupted for at least some of the time.
Then, when it’s dinner time or whatever time you designate as the end of your work hours, walk away and don’t go back to your work station until the next day.
That doesn’t mean be a slave to your smartphone, either. Make it a point to be present with those around you, and use the extra time you may be saving from your commute or daily errands to do something productive.
I’ve been cooking more at home, now that our restaurants are closed, and it’s been really nice to get back to my roots. I used to love cooking dinner, but in recent years, I’ve let busyness distract me and conveniences entice me. I’m trying to enjoy this time in the kitchen, with Paul and the kids sitting at the counter chatting to me. #makinglemonadeoutoflemons
#4. Minimize distractions during work hours, but also set specific break times and opportunities to socialize.
You may want to make a to-do list or write out a daily schedule if you’re trying to fit a lot in, but try not to work straight for more than an hour without getting up to move around.
Take 10 minutes every hour to throw in a load of laundry, or play a quick game with the kids, or schedule a chit-chat session with co-workers you via Skype. But set a timer so the 10 minutes doesn’t extend to an hour — that will happen before you know it!
If you normally get a lunch break, take a lunch break. If you normally get out for a walk in the middle of the day, set a time and be sure to do that.
I like to set reminders on my phone to get up and move around during my work hours.
When you are working, focus on the task at hand, and eliminate all possible distractions.
Turn off Facebook and email alerts, and instead set designated times for a Facebook break or to read your favorite blogs… ahem!
That is a good rule for any work situation, not just at home; but with so much happening in the news and no one to look over your shoulder or walk into your cubicle, you may find it even more tempting to click on that Facebook tab when you should be working.
#5. Beware of falling into bad habits like snack mindlessly or watching too much TV/news.
This is good advice for all who are suddenly stuck at home with nowhere to go, working or not.
When you’re at home all day, it’s so easy to walk by the pantry and grab something to eat, or open the fridge out of boredom rather than hunger — especially in times of added stress, like we are living through right now.
If you find yourself bored and looking for something to do, don’t be tempted fill that time with food or media.
Instead, try to stick to whatever good habits you have set for yourself at work. If you find yourself with more time on your hands than you’re used to, fill that time with healthy activity — not junk food or more media.
I would also encourage us all to be mindful of how much time we spend watching news coverage and scrolling our Facebook feeds. We need to be informed so we make wise decisions and behave responsibly, but if we dwell on matters we can’t control, that only incites worry and anxiety.
Rather than spending more time on a screen or gazing at your well-stocked pantry, go for a walk or call a friend or play a game with the kids or read a good book. Find something productive and mentally/physically healthy to do instead.
The habits you form now are most likely the ones you continue to nurture and develop in the coming days and weeks (and months?) ahead, so choose wisely.
Work From Home Outfit Inspiration
For those looking for a fun fashion diversion, here are 5 casual outfit formulas that are perfect for working from home.
I keep it casual and comfortable when I’m at home, but I like to look put together, so I almost always accessorize and get dressed down to my shoes… eventually!
#1. cozy sweater + jeans + fashion sneakers
I’d gander that I wear jeans and a pullover 9 days out of 10, but I don’t wear old schlubby jeans and a ratty sweatshirt. I try to only wear clothes that I love and feel good in.
This striped cowl neck sweater from LOFT is cozy and warm, but the nautical stripes are giving me all the spring vibes, making it perfect for this in-between season. Today it’s marked down to $49, and you can use code GREEN to get an additional 40% off + 17% off with FREE SHIPPING.
#2. t-shirt with cozy cardigan + jeans + mules
This is the perfect time to break out the cardigans — if you aren’t going anywhere, you don’t have to worry about the coat issue! Plus, it’s perfect for this in-between season, because you can remove it if it gets warm in the afternoon and still have a complete outfit.
This cardigan is an #amazonfashionfind and it’s really good. Cozy, soft, stretchy, and not itchy. Plus it has slim sleeves, which are flattering. Read more about how to wear cardigans without looking frumpy.
And you probably already know how much I love these mules, but if you’re just tuning in, they are super soft and comfortable and easy to walk in. They come in a bunch of other great colors too, if white isn’t your thing. (I love the caramel color.)
I’m also trying to support Everlane as much as possible right now because I love how they’re handling this crazy pandemic we are dealing with.
#3. elevated tee + jeans + loafers
This cheerful coral henley tee is another great transition piece from LOFT that’s currently 40% off + extra 17% off and free shipping with code GREEN.
I paired it with ankle-length jeans and loafers for a modern look that’s also practical and comfortable.
#4. cute hoodie + leggings + running sneakers
Sometimes I allow myself to wear workout gear all day, but I try to only do that when I know I’m going to do something active later in the day (like take a walk or do a yoga video), and I try to wear something that I think is cute and flattering.
#5. cute sweatshirt + jeans + fashion sneakers
This one is sort of in between the sweater and jeans looks and the leggings outfit above.
I love this v-neck sweatshirt from J.Crew with the colorful banded drawstrings, and it’s 30% off right now with code NEWNEW. I recommend sizing up; I have it in the medium.
These jeans are super stretchy and comfy and 25% off right now, and they’re TTS.
And on a more serious note, these are uncertain times, for sure. If you need help, please reach out to someone. There are all kinds of provisions being put into place right to help people with emotional/physical/financial needs, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
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