People around the world are transitioning to living their everyday lives in the confinement of their own homes, as offices, schools, gyms, restaurants and entertainment venues continue to close in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. However, many are still staying connected through social media while social distancing and self quarantining, and even providing a glimpse into their lives in isolation.
As a result, hashtags like #lifeathome and #quarantinelife are trending on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, where people are showing off their at-home offices, their approach to supervising and homeschooling their children, and all that comes with transitioning to an indefinite work-from-home lifestyle. While some joke about not leaving bed, attending virtual meetings in pajamas or coming up with creative ways to exercise, others are providing guidance on ways to remain productive and stress-free during this confusing time.
On TikTok in particular, the hashtag #lifeathome — which has aggregated over 1.1 billion views — encourages users to show how they’re making the most out of quarantine. And while it looks different for all individuals and families, Kara Cutruzzula, who has worked from home since 2013, and shares her experience in her newsletter Brass Ring Daily and upcoming motivational journal Do It For Yourself, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that there are a number of ways to make working from home manageable and productive.
“Mimic your working conditions as closely as possible,” Cutruzzula explains. “This means sitting at a desk or table for at least part of the day, getting dressed (even if it's just into a ‘nicer’ set of pajamas) and eating meals and snacks at the usual times.”
For those with children, the Neuropsychology & Education for Children & Adolescents have created a schedule to ensure that kids maintain the normalcy of getting dressed for the day, eating at proper times and getting some time for play and creativity amongst virtual learning.
Cutruzzula says that creating some semblance of a schedule and splitting days into three parts is a good practice to start. “Think of the day in two or three big chunks: morning, afternoon, and late afternoon. Assigning parts of your job to certain times of day can help you avoid waking up every morning and having no idea what to tackle first,” she says. “If you usually have meetings on Monday, keep those meetings. If you typically spend the morning on deep work and the afternoon on administrative tasks, try to remain on that schedule.”
In terms of distractions that can come from partners, pets and children, Cutruzzula recommends presenting boundaries. “If you're working on a task and can't be distracted, put on headphones and mention that you're going to buckle down for the next hour or however long it'll take you to complete it,” she says. Then take some time to play with your pet or kids — something that Chriselle Lim, a fashion influencer and mommy blogger, has demonstrated on her channels — replacing the time you would typically spend engaging in workplace chatter with co-workers.
Regardless of what your day looks like, Cutruzzula says to stick to normal working hours. “It's easy for ‘work creep’ to happen and to find yourself working late, especially if you felt like you weren't productive enough earlier in the day,” she explains. “If you previously left the office at 5:30 pm, make that’s your work-from-home shutdown time, as well. Use your commute time for something non-work-related, like calling a friend, watching a silly video, or staying informed with the news.”
Most importantly, she assures everyone not to stress productivity at a time like this.
“If you're feeling unproductive right now, definitely go easy on yourself. This is an unprecedented time, and no one should chastise themselves for not being a perfect worker bee at the moment,” she says. “Don't overwhelm yourself with a long to-do list that will make you feel guilty. Completing one major and one minor work task every day is a good way to transition into work-from-home life.”
And, as is demonstrated with the quarantine content accumulating online, “Remember: You get to make your work-from-home rules.”
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