I’m sure all of you have worked from home at some point. For many this is normal, but for most WFH was a once or twice a week thing and probably not surrounded by the rest of your family 24/7. I’ve compiled a list of some Do’s and Don’ts that for me have helped make working from home a little more productive and a lot more enjoyable.
Do: Embrace your toaster oven. You’ve probably neglected the poor little guy for years. It’s collecting dust, while the ol’ microwave did all the heavy lifting. Well ya got some time on your hands now… no rushing out to make sure you get to the office on time. Want to take that Amy’s bean and cheese burrito from a 3.6/10 to a 4.6/10? Toaster time!
Don’t: Stare at yourself in the mirror too long. If you’re incredibly good looking, sure, you can skip this one, but for the rest of us… just stay away from reflective surfaces. You can’t go to the orthodontist, get elective plastic surgery or get your eyebrows threaded for the foreseeable future and you’re going to want to keep pontification to a minimum.
Do: Communicate with your team frequently, but do your best to make sure the communication is meaningful. I have a rule that going into any conversation you must have an objective of what you’d like to glean/gain/get out of said communique. Talking is, more often than not, so much more effective than Slack or email. Embrace the fact that people are more available to talk now than they would have been a few months ago.
Don’t: Stay up too late. For those that are not morning people, one of the few silver linings of what we are dealing with is not having to punch in at an office early in the day. But don’t take this as an invitation to stay up til 3am binging Ozark. Jason Bateman is truly a master of his craft, no question, but you’ll have time Friday night.
Do: Bow pose. I know plank is all the rage, but I’ve always been a bit trend resistant and I’m telling you this provides a level of benefit that plank just can’t match. You’ve likely been sitting all day, and this will help stretch the front of your body that has been hunched over your kitchen table/makeshift desk.
Don’t: Go to travel websites. They’ll just bum you out. Live in the present. We’ll be able to roam free like the eagles we are soon enough. For now, there’s probably some very cool areas of your neighborhood you’ve never explored. I discovered a blown up safe on a walk recently… that’s not something you see everyday.
Do: Make your own coffee or tea. Never experienced the magic of some freshly ground pour over? Well, treat yourself! I know, no one likes a coffee snob, but I’m telling you, grinding your own beans and making your own coffee is not only cost-effective and therapeutic but so much better and less crashy in the afternoon. You might even start drinking it black. If you’re more of a tea person, buy some nice loose leaf tea and finally use that electric kettle from your wedding registry.
Don’t: Stay at your desk all day. It’s very easy to equate staring at your laptop with actual work/accomplishment. Working from home is about achievement and not optics. No one is peering over your shoulder or giving you side eye for not being glued to your computer.
Do: Make a list of achievements you’d like to accomplish. I like to pair this with a more tactical to do list, but it’s important we stay objective focused and not overly activity focused. We’re all entrepreneurs now!
Don’t: Keep buying vegetables that you’re not going to eat. You’re probably hitting up the local grocery store with much less frequency. That kale you so ambitiously bought on Saturday is garbage by Tuesday. Make life easy and get nutrients with some powdered greens. So many options from Athletic Greens to Vibrance to Amazing Grass (#notsponsored). I know it’s not as good as the real thing, but it probably won’t end up in the trash.
Do: Hydrate. Drink more water than you think you need. You’d be amazed at what this does for your energy levels. Get a pitcher, you’ll double your water consumption. I don’t mean drink directly from the pitcher. As tempting and as efficient as this might sound, you’ll end up needing to change your clothes and mop the floor. Pair that pitcher with a nice wide mouth mason jar, takes a lot of work to tip those guys over and you do not want to have to replace your laptop right now. The frequent bathroom trips will also help break up your day.
Don’t: Keep your doors and windows shut all day. With people not leaving the house, you and your family are filling up your living space with CO2. Wonder why you’re sluggish in the afternoon? It might not be the coffee wearing off, but high Carbon Dioxide levels. I live in probably the dustiest city in America and I still feel better with a window open.
Do: Get yourself some noise-canceling or over ear headphones. Meditation is all the rage… I get it, it’s powerful, but it takes practice, time, and relative quiet… a luxury many of us simply don’t have. A decent pair of noise-canceling headphones can transform your environment and give you a surprising level of focus. I’m such a believer we make them standard issue to all employees at GrassBridge.
Don’t: Be hard on yourself. Depending on your situation this is possibly the most stressed out and helpless you’ve ever felt. Now’s a great time to embrace the power of positive thinking. I had a friend once tell me: “David, if someone talked to you the way that little voice of yours talks to yourself, you’d punch that person in the face.” She was right. Just like I’m sure you’ve been told to surround yourself with positive people as they’ll lift you up, that inner voice, which is probably more chatty than usual, needs to stay positive.
I would love to hear how you’re finding ways to level up your work from home experience.