In the last year I’ve had to get used to working from home in a big way, and to be honest it hasn’t been the easiest adjustment. In the past, I always felt a little bit jealous of my friends who had real, officey jobs. After a few-too-many glasses of wine they could say “I think I’ll be working from home tomorrow!” and I would die a little bit inside, picturing them sipping coffee and perusing the internet in their pajamas while I stood on my feet endlessly, kneading and cutting and mixing, cursing that last glass of rosé.
After years of working jobs that required me to be standing and moving all day, the idea of working from home seemed so appealing to me. The truth is though, it’s hard to be your only coworker for days at a time, to sit in the same desk chair, to stare at the same white (oh god, it’s so white) computer screen. Here are some tricks that I’ve learned and some things that are keeping me sane these days.
1. PUT ON SOME CLOTHES, PEOPLE. Real clothes. Not pajamas. Embarrassingly enough, this is something I just figured out, and it’s made a giant difference. There’s no way to take yourself seriously enough to actually get work done when you’re still wearing your Melrose Place sleep shirt. Brush your teeth, do your hair, put on something pretty, you’re going to work.
2. Invest in a good at-home-coffee-maker. Sure, there’s a coffee shop across the street, but chances are you’re going to want some more really soon and then some more after that and is that mustachioed barista starting to look at you funny? I use this Chemex. It’s inexpensive, doesn’t take up too much desk-space, and makes a darn good cup of coffee. Also, it’s purdy.
Lucky for me (and you!), one of my dearest friends, Mike, is a coffee genius and he gave me the measurements for the perfect cup–30g of coffee for every 500 grams of water. Boom!
3. Eat some breakfast! Eat some lunch, too, but first eat some breakfast. Get your brain working. I know it sounds silly, it sounds ridiculous! but this grapefruit spoon changed my world. Get yourself one, or head to The Kitchn for some quick breakfast inspiration.
4. Make your workspace a space you want to be in. I was recently inspired by Joy The Baker’s post on beautifying her home-office and decided to add some color to my very white workspace.
5. Speaking of Joy The Baker I hope you’re listening to her and Tracy‘s podcasts. They keep me sane and laughing through hours of photo and recipe-editing. Plus, listening to it doesn’t make me feel brain-dead like The Lifetime Movie Network does (this is a safe space!)
6. Stay connected. Just because you’re alone in that little home-office doesn’t mean you have to shut the world out. The daily news digest from The Skimm comes right to my inbox every morning and makes me feel like a current events ninja. I also like to check in with BA Daily, Epi Log, The Salt, and head to The Guardian and The New York Times for book news.
7. Stay inspired! For me, this means pushing myself to read, even when I’m exhausted. Right now I’m reading Whered-You-Go-Bernadette by Maria Semple and it’s keeping my brain busy and happy and excited to write.
8. When all else fails, step away from the computer. Use your hands and move your bod–take a walk or a bike ride, bake something quick and satisfying, hop in your friend’s car and have an adventure out to Queens for seafood towers and butterscotch sundaes. You’ll come back to your desk feeling better and ready to work.
9. Give yourself time constraints. Start and stop at a certain time every day, and when your work day is over, shut it down. I still struggle with this, but it’s important to set limits, otherwise you’ll be feeling stressed and guilty all the time, and that won’t do.
10. Do the damn thing! Seriously. Take a deep breath and get to work.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and inspired? Tell me! Whether you work in an office, or a kitchen or from your own bedroom I want to hear about it.