Winter 2019 Work From Home Survival Guide
It takes a certain kind of fortitude to work from home, but especially in the winter. In the winter, you don’t have happy hour on a sunny patio to look forward to, reminding you to be off the clock by 4:45. You don’t get to go on your “brainstorm walk” that conveniently takes you right by the ice cream parlor, and you may find yourself lacking motivation for everything except your new manifesto entitled, “Humans Should Hibernate.”
If you don’t have a good reason to leave the house on winter weekdays, the acronym WFH can stop looking like “Work From Home” and start looking a lot more like “What Fresh Hell (is this?)” in a startlingly short time. If none of this resonates with you, please tell me your secrets and disregard this post. The rest of you, right this way.
How to Deal With The Work From Home Winter Blues
Try a new routine:
Time passes differently when you work from home; you sit down by 9 AM with every intention of blasting through your to-do list and the next thing you know it’s 4 o’clock and you’re Googling “can I pull off a bodysuit,” wondering if you should take up the keto lifestyle, and chasing the errant chin hair that reappears every 6 weeks without fail. Winter makes all of this worse.
Depending on your sense of discipline and need for structure, you might need to reinforce your routine with timers, physically switching locations or your working medium (I often need to write by hand instead of working on the computer). You might also try changing your workflow: check email in the afternoon if you usually check it in the morning, or schedule phone meetings first thing so you have no excuse to hit snooze again.
Drink way more water than you want:
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I have to hydrate until temps hit 75. This is a personal problem and I’m working on it. Hydrating responsibly during the winter will, so they say, stave off distracting dry skin problems, give you a reason to get up and move from your pile of blankets every so often, and do wonders for brain function and focus. Gamify it, if you have to. I play “I have to finish this bottle of water before I can send this invoice” rather often, and it works.
Make phone meetings fun:
Stay with me here: You should wear a face mask during your next conference call. Let’s be real, how often are YOU going to have to talk during this meeting? Unless you’re running the whole thing, I’m guessing not very much. I don’t believe in multi-tasking but I’d make an exception for the opportunity to moisturize and catch up on the latest metrics simultaneously. When you are called on to speak, simply fold the mask up above your mouth and no one will be any the wiser, unless they comment on how relaxed you sound (or you fall asleep and miss your turn entirely—don’t do this).
Do the chores you loathe:
When it comes to not completely succumbing to cabin fever, this is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. You’ll feel incredibly accomplished and it’s an excellent mental rest; switching to a tactile task after staring into a screen is my favorite way to reset my brain during a long day. Plus, if you work from home and don’t have one of those highly-Instagrammable, light-filled offices stuffed with philodendrons, you’ll feel so much better if you tend to your surroundings. You’re spending a ton of time there, after all.
You know someone has never worked from home when they gush about how nice it must be to work in your pajamas. I do sometimes work in my pajamas, and you know how much I get done? EXACTLY 100% of NOTHING. Because that’s a snow day. That’s a sick day. That’s a weekend. I very much value comfortable clothing and love not having to rush to the office with my hair still wet from the shower, but freelance hygiene is key for not only, uh, hygiene, but for your focus. Your brain needs a cue that it’s time to get down to business, and if you feel like you just rolled out of bed, you’ll work like you’re half-asleep. That’s not why you do this.
It takes, like, a second to hit Command+T+N(etflix). It can take hours to pull myself out of a British police procedural binge. Some of you might be able to take Netflix breaks over your lunch and whatnot, but not me. My very unsophisticated system is to simply not start watching anything in the first place. I tried and tried to think of some more interesting advice, like “build it into your day, after a task you’re not enthusiastic about” or “only watch on a television, not the laptop on which you work,” and while I suppose you could try those things, they just feel like inappropriately indulgent workarounds to the blunt truth: If you want to get anything done, you can’t watch TV until you’ve finished the day’s work.
What else do you want to know about working from home in the winter? We’re so close to the end of this one--tell me what’s getting you through!