In March, like so many others, I began working from home. My home is a one-bedroom studio I share with my boyfriend, who was also working from home. The transition was sometimes rough—neither of us had a desk, and our routines were smashed to bits! Months later, we’re still working from home, but things have gotten better. So, here are some work-from-home hacks that have worked for me:
Hack #1: Give yourself a defined space.
Even if it means you move an end table and chair into a corner of the room. Creating a space that is “for work” helps you create the mindset of being at work. I worked from the kitchen table for a few weeks, which worked fairly well, but then I moved to the couch and that killed what little routine I’d built. It made it much harder to focus on work tasks.
Also, don’t be afraid to make changes to your workspace! I moved from a kitchen view to a window seat. I have a brighter workspace, and the natural light is awesome. Keep adjusting your space as you start to learn more about what you want and need or as funds become available.
Hack #2: Be mindful, take breaks, and remember to do self-care.
When you’re working from home, it’s super easy to fall into bad habits like working all day without taking a break. Or, if you’ve got kids at home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things happening around you. These things can cause a great deal of anxiety. So, to combat that, take breaks! If you must, put them in your calendar or set an alarm on your phone.
Aside from bathroom and lunch breaks, I also sometimes use breaks to do some light cooking, such as tending to my sourdough starter or throwing together a quick recipe (most recently, blueberry muffins). There is even a bread baking class in Universal Class you could participate in on these quick breaks!
Another suggestion is to practice mindfulness or meditation—maybe even do a little yoga or stretching. I get incredibly stiff because I’m not moving around as much as I would be in the office. There are quick yoga for beginners videos on OverDrive Video and Access Video On Demand that you could easily do on a quick break. Or, take a walk! Just wander around your block and enjoy the quiet or city noises.
Especially if you are in a situation where you share a workspace! This is not just for the noise cancelling—though that is extremely handy—but actually for the quality of the microphone (since most of us don’t have a high-grade microphone like podcasters would). If you’re like me and have a naturally quiet voice, a headset or headphones with a good mic can save you from having to yell to participate in virtual meetings! In terms of noise cancelling, which can be important if you are in a coworking situation, many gaming headsets are great at filtering outside noises.
Hack #4: Talk to your work friends!
They miss you and are going through the same crazy stuff you are. It’s very easy to just stick with the people in your home, but don’t forget your work friends. Make a chat group in Messenger or Discord, set up weekly Zoom calls, create a Slack channel, or maybe even schedule a socially distant lunch at a nearby park. Just do your best to stay in touch!
I hope these four quick hacks help. You’ve probably heard some of them before, but they really do help. If you want some more tips for working from home, check out these articles [1, 2, 3, 4]. And remember the Library is here to help! If you would like to learn more about meditation and mindfulness, check out eBooks through OverDrive or courses through Universal Class.
If you want more information about using Facebook, Zoom, or other technologies, visit MCPL’s YouTube channel, past blogs, or videos on Niche Academy. And finally, if you’re looking to boost your tech skills while working at home, check out some of the many educational videos and courses on Lynda.com.
Consumer Technology Specialist