Upon graduating last year, I imagined myself preparing for a traditional office-style job, in which, I would get up in the morning, go to work and then join the other irritable rush-hour commuters home.
I actually like routine, I like knowing what to expect and having a clear structure of what my day ahead will involve. However, because of my chosen profession and the year that it is, this did not pan out as I envisioned; the result was several jobs that are done mostly remote. And I know I’m not the only one!
Almost all job sectors are being affected by technology, mass population and the rise in education across this generation in particular. Manual labor has decreased and contracts, as well as the demand for full-time workers, has shifted, making companies prefer zero-hour contracts, freelancers and “telecommuters”.
This means less time and money dedicated to training and cutting down on budgets that would be for employee benefits, such as healthcare. It also means, we get to stay at home and work in our pajamas and hope we don’t get sick.
So it isn’t just the coal miners that are struggling to adapt to a new, and albeit, expected evolution of their workplace. Writers, graphic designers, tutors, programmers, salespeople, researchers are among some of the careers that are becoming to be worked independently, from home. Those that fall under those categories are usually balancing multiple gigs at a time.
This can be misleading, though, as one would expect someone grappling to finish a list of many things to be productive and especially active. But like I said, we’re in our pajamas. Least forgetting finishing the cleaning and laundry that is able to stare at you from behind the laptop screen. It’s difficult and challenging to those that struggle with self-motivation. So, here are a few tips that I’ve learned since working from home and fighting my urge to stay in bed all day, just because I can.
Make A List Before You Go To Sleep
Write or type a list of shit you need to get done for the following day. This will allow you to stay focused and keep track of what you have achieved and what you still need to achieve, leaving much room for distraction and what-to-do-now feelings.
Set A Reasonable Alarm
It’s easy to say at 6 pm that the following morning you will leap out of bed on the first ring of your alarm and begin delving away at your list. The feeling is unanimous at 6 am when leaving a warm, inexplicably softer bed than the night before seems treacherous. Make the most of a flexible schedule and don’t relinquish getting the required amount of sleep, which many office workers would give a tooth for.
This, however, does not mean sleeping until noon every day, as lovely as it may sound. Set a re-occurring alarm and a moderately reasonable time. This may even grant you a sporadic lay-in one day.
Have A Morning Routine- As If You Were Leaving The House
Eat breakfast, have a shower, brush your teeth, get dressed- and yes, sweatpants still count. The rule of thumb I use is to look presentable enough to see the mailman or bodega guy. Be comfy enough to work without wanting to nap.
Don’t Work Where You Sleep
Again, staying in bed all day can be tempting. Devote a space in your living area to separate leisure from work, like a desk. You could even venture outside to a coffee shop if you cannot focus inside your home.
Keep Wherever You Work Organized
Don’t let the clutter from your desk restrict your productivity! Organize it. Make it pretty. Add some flowers and trinkets that will eliminate any distractions.
Restrictions & Rewards
Set alarms on your phone to, er, not use your phone. If you manage to not absent-mindedly check Instagram for an hour, reward yourself with a five-minute break of scrolling. Once I did this I found that I began craving checking other people’s lives as much; it got easier for me not to get so apprehensive about being “offline”.
Working With The Right Noises
I know people that can listen to music with lyrics while they work. I cannot. I find myself listening or singing along. Instead, I listen to classical, acoustic or any type of music without lyrics.
Another method is to listen to “natural sounds”. There are plenty of YouTube videos of “Rain for 10 hours” or “Beach sounds for 12 hours”. Find your own.
Samantha Irby, author of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life once said in an interview that, when writing, she listens to one sad song on repeat per piece. This eventually becomes one long song and doesn’t distract her like it would if it changed to another.
Working Without Noise Or You Can Just Buy Earplugs
Even using noise-canceling headphones is a favorite of people that live in busy areas, perfect for the city.
Set time aside for snacks and lunch, similarly to an office routine. Try not to snack constantly because of the near proximity of the kitchen. If you must, buy healthy snacks to indulge in throughout the day.
Make The Most Of It
Working from home has so many benefits. Skipping the commute that so many find the most miserable part of the day gives you extra free time. Don’t always spend it in bed. Go out for a walk, join a class, make a hearty breakfast instead of a rushed one. If one day you land an office job there will be plenty of moments of, if only I’d done ___ with my extra time.
Lastly, and somewhat most importantly, is keeping socially active. Working from home can become very isolating and lonely. Make sure to interact with workers or similar fields, old friends and try looking elsewhere for daily interactions, such as the gym or even just a morning nod to the local barista.