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Stick to a routine if working at home

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As part of our society’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus through social distancing, people in our community are facing the prospect of working from home, many of them likely for the first time.

My freelance writing has had me working from home for several years, so my routine hasn’t changed quite as drastically as a lot of others. But over those years I’ve found different solutions and faced some of the pitfalls involved with the setup.

I thought I’d offer a few tips for those now adjusting to it.

My main advice is to maintain a routine as if you were still leaving home to work. Not getting dressed or even not getting out of bed may be tempting — so is the idea of letting work bleed late into the evening. It’s all a trap that can ruin your sleep schedule if you let it.

You shouldn’t work in the same clothes and in the same place in which you sleep. Keep getting up, showered and dressed at the same time as you normally would — otherwise you could find yourself unwashed and undressed well into the afternoon. Showering is one of the main things that tend to get people up in the morning.

If you have a long commute then maybe use that time to get a bit of extra sleep, but you should plan to be at your workstation around the same time you’d normally arrive to work.

Speaking of your workstation, you should have one somewhere you won’t be distracted. Ideally it shouldn’t be in the bedroom, but in any case it should be a place where there is a door between your and anyone else in your home. This should be obvious if it’s the kind of job that requires taking calls. That workstation should have a desk, but if for whatever reason you can’t get one, it should still be a place where you can comfortably sit down and isolate yourself.

Part of dealing with the adjustment to working from home is remembering to take a lunch break. Get up and move around every once in a while. It doesn’t have to be a big break, but you shouldn’t be sitting down for eight hours straight.

Try to be off the clock when you would normally be off the clock. It’s easy to try to get a little more work done in the evening when your “office” is right there at home, but before you know it, you’ll be working close to midnight. Even though you’re working from home you should still establish a clear line between “work” and “home”.

The coronavirus is going to disrupt nearly everyone’s life for a while. Switching from working in an office or other place of business to working from home is a huge change to your environment and routine, but anyone who’s worked from home for years will tell you it doesn’t have to be a hard one. Get up, get washed, and get dressed. Block out distractions. Try to maintain the same hours you would at the office.

Daniel Sims is a freelance writer who lives in Youngsville.