An Introvert’s Guide to Working from Home with Your Sanity (Mostly) Intact
We all need to work from home sometimes — thanks to the cable guy, a sick child or a global emergency. And while it’s tempting to stay in the same sweatpants for a week, it’s not optimal for productivity (or your mental health). As an introverted bookworm/cat lady/ex-freelancer, I feel uniquely qualified to share some advice. Here’s what I’ve learned over years and years of hanging out at home.
1. Set yourself up for success.
Prior to your first day remote, get your technology in order — including everything you need from the office. Don’t let technology distract you either, though. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should watch trashy reality TV while you work.
2. Take a shower every day.
What better place to drown out your lonely sobs? In all seriousness, showering is a cheap, safe way to lift your spirits. We’ll call it… aromatherapy. Brush your teeth and put on deodorant, while you’re at it!
3. Get dressed…
even if it’s just business on top, pajama pants on bottom. You know, like a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back. Even history’s most cringeworthy hairdo can teach us how to be professional and let our hair down (simultaneously).
4. Don’t get a mullet.
Don’t trim your own bangs. Don’t give yourself a stick-and-poke tattoo. Just don’t.
5. Stay active.
Whether that’s going on a walk or jog around the block on your lunch break, using your baby as a barbell or repeatedly punching your pillow. Let it all out.
6. Try not to order pizza every night.
If you do, pair it with some salad at least! Really, don’t neglect sound nutritional or hygienic habits.
7. Set up a workspace.
Set up a space that isn’t your bed or couch. Light a candle; set the mood. That way, you’ll be less likely to drift off into an impromptu nap.
8. Get inspired.
Writer’s block setting in? Let your cat walk across your keyboard and inspire some ideas. One time, my cat created his own Spotify playlist, with two Wilco songs and a cryptic title comprising only symbols. Because, you know, he’s a cool cat.
9. Make a playlist.
Which brings me to my next suggestion… make some awesome playlists you can use to drown out the noise of your pets sparring, your significant other making a smoothie bowl in a cheap blender or other sounds that disrupt optimal focus.
10. Befriend your webcam.
Even though you can’t meet up with your coworkers IRL, try to have as many face-to-face meetings as possible. Use Teams, Skype, Zoom, Slack, etc. Like an in-person conversation, one quick video chat can often prevent a thread of a dozen emails. Plus, human connection is good for you — even if it’s virtual. It’s also good motivation to change your shirt now and then. We're doing it. They're doing it. Everybody's doing it.
Regardless of why or how long you’re working remotely, try to make the most of this opportunity. You get to do laundry while knocking out your daily tasks! You can make yourself a nice lunch from scratch since you have access to a kitchen! You can cuddle with your pets while you respond to emails! Do your best to be grateful for what you have and find little ways to take care of yourself and others during this time. You’ve got this. You’ll be back in the office — wishing you were working from home — in no time.