If you're working from home right now, you're like the rest of the world and searching #WFH to find any inspiration you can to make a cluttered desk that was used to be a catch-all for everyone's junk now function as your home office. Or perhaps you're working in a 200 square-foot space and finding it difficult to transition from bedroom to office. Here are some tips and tricks to surviving the WFH life with your sanity in tact ;)
...before we go too much further, can we stop for a minute and thank those who cannot work from home during this time? The heroes of our age who put personal safety at risk to make sure the rest of us have everything we need in lockdown and the medical care we need. We are also so indebted to those who are still working and thankful for them! Let them know how grateful you are.
TIP ONE: Separate areas in your room. Working from a small apartment where one room is every room? Or the kids are running around the house and you only get your bedroom? Here are ways to create a separate office space (even if it's your bedroom):
A) Use a small desk, even that fold-up table you had stores in the garage for card games. Just having a spot is so helpful for productivity.
B) Have a clearly delineated area for you office - use rugs or a chair to mark the boundaries or prints on the wall to show the corner area you are claiming. Then be intentional about keeping that space "office" and the rest "room".
C) Set some rituals or habits to start your work time. Light a candle and turn on your "office jams" (could be classical or top 40!). Close the door, line up your pencils, and turn on your desk lamp. Brew your cup of coffee, put on your headphones and open your laptop. Whatever your steps are to cue your brain "this is work" and be in a different headspace than when you're in the same room just relaxing.
TIP 2: Change your desk position. If you have the space (or can make the space), try to change up your desk position. This will help keeps things interesting at the home office as well as help you keep your clutter down to a minimum! Having to move everything makes you touch everything and decide if you really need it or not. And, if you're anything like me, there's a lot of things on and around my desk I don't need! Try different positions to see what works best for you. Here are a few ideas...
A) The Loner. This isn't meant to say you are lonely, but the idea is that this position faces the wall and is great for those who get distracted easily by the view outside or other things going around in your space.
B) The Executive. This is the position you'd sit in if you like seeing everything going on around you. I like this view personally because I get inspired by what's around me. It's a little trickier for placement as you'd need to have more space to make this work but it's a great way to freshen up your space if you have the room for it.
C) The Social Butterfly. This is a mix of the two above where you're facing out but also partly tucked near the wall to help save on space. This one works well if you need to share your desk with a partner or roomate as well so that people can sit on both sides.
TIP 3: Organize, organize, organize! Likely, you had a very limited time in your work office to grab everything you would need at home, stuffed it all in bags and boxes, and dumped it near your desk at home. Now's the time to go through those bags, and everything else around your space, to make your WFH environment work best for you. Some people need neat, tidy, and sterile. Others need uplifting, colorful and designed chaos. Whatever works for you, get the space organized so that you want to be there. (Or at the very least, don't hate being there!) Here are some ways to organize...
A) Use boxes to store away things you only need occasionally. They help to hide the clutter and give you spots to keep categories of things contained.
B) Repurpose pieces from around your house. Grab that dusty shelf in the garage that works great to hold books and only needs a quick wipe down. Find your favorite mug or a fun vase to use as a pen cup.
TIP 4: Bring Positivity. More than anything else right now, we all need a little positivity in our day. Sitting at home working while a scary virus is in the world is not anyone's ideal situation. But remind yourself everyday to make the best of it, to keep striving and working hard, and to keep doing the right thing for your friends, neighbors, health care workers, and even strangers on the street. We're all working for a better world. Here are a few simples ways to bring positive vibes into everyday...
A) Use your positive coffee mug that you bought because you love the phrase as a pen cup. Then you'll be using it everyday and seeing it everyday.
B) Find a fun print or photograph that brings a smile to your face or one that empowers you or lifts you up. There's no wrong answer to what that looks like for you. Put it in your sight line and take a second everyday to read it, to feel it, to see it, and be uplifted.
C) Bring a plant into your home office. It's amazing what a little bit of greenery will do for your spirit. And it'll be a good reminder to make sure your plant friends are getting watered!
P.S. If you have children at home that you are now trying to homeschool (raising hand over here!), then some of these tips don't matter at all because you're doing your best just to get by everyday! One thing that has helped me is setting certain times of the day that's dedicated work time and dedicated homeschool time. We try and get school done first thing in the morning by lunch (or soon after lunch) and then the kids can have free time after. A couple weeks in, we have gotten into a rhythm but that first week was NOT easy. We all cried a lot!
I know these times are hard, but we will emerge on the other side stronger and better connected for these small sacrifices we're making now. I believe in this amazing Oh Joy! community and urge you to commit to staying home if you can to make us all safer. We're still here, and we want to hear from you. How are you handling the lockdown and social distancing? How are you working from home? Comment here, or message me on social!
(Photos by Lily Glass and Casey Brodley, styling by Julia Wester, Production Assistance by Jess Hong.)