The concept of ‘work’ is anyone’s interpretation right now. But whatever ‘work’ means to you, here are the things we’ve implemented into our routine that have helped us over the years.
I’ve been working from home for the last decade, Scott for the last two years. So often, we hear: I could never do that!, usually followed up with, but man, I bet it’s so nice. Here’s the truth: It is nice, but that doesn’t make it easy, and we can’t imagine anything else. And while so many of us are now finding ourselves at home – whether you’re working, teaching, in waiting or just trying to catch your breath – you’ve probably realized that this is not how you imagined things to be. We hear you. We see you! We’ve been there (are there?), too.
Throughout this post, I’ll use the word work, but please know that can be swapped in for anything you find yourself doing these days. Maybe it’s work, but maybe it’s helping your children through Zoom meetings. Maybe it’s tidying up your digital desktop. Maybe it’s learning new recipes or reading a book or nothing at all!
Whatever work – whatever it – is to you, here are the things we’ve implemented into our routine that have helped us over the years. Spoiler: It’s simple stuff, really. Proof that it really is the little things that help us out during the hardest times.
When you’re working from the dining room table (or island or bed)
Prior to our current home, I’ve set up shop everywhere from our kitchen island, our sofa, a folding table – even the bed! These are the things I’ve done to lift my spirits when my surroundings weren’t always ideal.
- Start with a hot coffee, tea or your favorite morning drink. It’s the ritual that will give you a much needed jolt. I’ve been using this mug for the last year, and I can’t imagine having my morning cup any other way now! It keeps my coffee warm for hours.
- Set ‘work’ hours that cater to your lifestyle. Whether it’s 8-4, 12-6 or 6-midnight, give yourself the grace to be free when you’re not at ‘work’ and the motivation to hunker down when you are – no matter how different that may look from someone else.
- Wear headphones. I have these Marshall bluetooth headphones that allow me to tune out ev-er-y-thing. Which brings me to my next point: A good playlist (or noise-silencing, if that’s you’re thing!) is key.
- Never underestimate the power of 15 minutes. When you just can’t focus for one second longer (and there are still many hours ahead of you), try for at least another 15. You’ll surprise yourself at how much you can get done.
Dining Table Essentials
When your home office doesn’t inspire you
Maybe you have a home office, but it’s more like the room-where-things-go-to-get-lost. If you find yourself using your office for the first time in a long time (or have realized that you could put some oomph into it), here are a few ideas!
- Light a candle you love. Don’t feel guilty for burning down that candle you splurged on last year. Now is the time to enjoy it.
- Consider your lighting. Do you need to open or close your blinds? Could you dim the overhead light and flip on a lamp? I am incapable of starting my day without the right lighting, ha!
- Tuck a snack into your drawer for later. It’ll give you something to look forward to.
- Too cold? Too hot? Scott and I like to treat ourselves to a few degrees up (or down) on the thermostat so we’re as comfortable as possible.
- Throw away the broken pen already! You know the one. The next time you grab it and it doesn’t write (you know, like a pen should do), throw it away – don’t put it back in the drawer! Remember the feeling of fresh pencils and a pad of paper when you were a kid? The same still rings true for grown-ups, too!
Jump Start Your Home Office
- paddywax candle | 2. memo book | 3. a pen like butter | 4. rattan lamp | 5. globe lamp | 6. smart thermostat | 7. terra candle | 8. smart bulb starter kit
When you live in a (smaller) apartment
Small homes, small rooms, small space challenges in general are my favorite. I love a small space! (Exhibit A and B.) A small space doesn’t have to cramp your style or ability to stay productive – in fact, I crave the challenge a little nook provides. Here are some thought starters for you.
- An empty corner is more than enough space for a floating desk.
- Along with that desk, pull up the chair from your bistro set, or tuck away a folding chair (under the bed or in the utility closet) for moments like this.
- A leaning bookcase (like this or this) takes up less room, and it’ll give you a spot for the printer and your favorite framed memory.
- Throwing down a small colorful rug will help define the space and keep it cozy on your toes.
- Include something that makes you smile! Think: A trinket from your last vacation, a small bluetooth speaker or a photo of your beloved pup.
Small Space Solutions
What other suggestions would you add to this list? Sending you all love and strength, and a reminder that this, too, shall pass. I tell myself this every single day, especially as this new normals feels… well, very, very normal. But nothing is forever, and certainly not this.