Welcome to the work from home revolution.
Or something like that, anyway. Maybe instead of saying ”the revolution will not be televised” we should adapt that phase to “the revolution will be live streamed.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t really a revolution. It’s an involuntary quarantine and people across the world are trying to figure out how to live a normal life when it feels like Earth has been cancelled.
Even for someone like me who’s been a work from home professional for the last two years, there’s a different feeling to the day when the city around you is shut down.
So in an effort to help keep you sane and maybe, just maybe, even thrive a little during a tough time, here are my 10 steps to living your best quarantine life.
My first recommendation is inspired by one of my life’s songs—Jose Gonzalez’ “Step Out.”
You can’t really go anywhere right now and you’re not supposed to be around anyone, but getting outside (by yourself, at least six feet away from every other human) every day is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health.
Walk, run, get some sunshine when you can. Even if you can’t go for a walk, go stand on your balcony. Start singing a song. Maybe your neighbors will join you.
I know, I know, everyone is telling you to get dressed. But seriously, don’t overlook it.
It’s tempting to roll out of bed in your pajamas and get right to work but you will feel better if you at least change into a different pair of sweats.
You don’t have to dress exactly as you did for the office. Be comfortable. But put on a fresh pair of clothes each morning. Also, your co-workers on Zoom will begin to notice if you wear the same shirt every single day.
(Maybe I should have put this tip first. Because you really should get dressed before you go outside.)
Everyone’s talking about how the Corona 25 is the new Freshman 15…but now’s as good a time as any to flip that and use your extra home time to get fit.
Do ten push ups between phone calls or ten sit ups after every email you send. Little by little, those efforts will stack up throughout the day and you’ll feel yourself gaining energy to combat the stuck at home doldrums.
If you typically go to a gym, many across the country are opening up free access to fitness videos to help you stay on track. Check to see if you can take advantage of this substitute.
Staying connected is going to be incredibly important for the next however-many-weeks we’re all stuck at home. So make a point to call your mom more often (to make sure she’s staying home, obviously).
Text your friends. Facetime your BFF. Schedule a Netflix watch party with your usual conference crew that you won’t see or a while because of travel restrictions.
However you do it, don’t let communication with your people slip during this time even if you can’t be together in person.
When you have a lot to do, it’s easy to get stressed and anxious—and we all have a little more to do every day than even just a few weeks ago…like homeschooling kids and trying to work at the same time.
The easy thing is to power through, work harder, stop taking breaks, and turn yourself into some kind of hyper-efficient robot.
But guess what? People aren’t robots. We don’t function well when constantly pushed to max capacity.
So take time to take breaks. Even a 30 second break can give you a 13% productivity boost. IDK how that productivity is calculated, exactly, but it sounds good. And I know from personal experience that when I remember to take more breaks during the day, I feel less anxious and I get more quality work done.
There is no better time to take up a new hobby than right now. I know it’s not ideal, but when’s the next time you’re going to be told to stay home? You’ve got to fill that extra time somehow.
Modify your old routine so you use the time you used to commute to try something new.
Download Tik Tok and start learning how to dance.
Grab some needles and become an expert cross stitcher. (You can even get into competitions with this hobby.)
Make a paper mache statue of your favorite co-worker. (Okay…that might be a little weird. Don’t show that to anyone.)
I’ve picked up doing crossword puzzles every day. Partly because I’m getting old and that seems like a good thing for old guys to do, but also because it’s an easy way to break up the day and do something new with my brain.
Just so we are clear, there is never a time when I won’t tell you to read more. Nonfiction or fiction, doesn’t matter.
Put the screen down, pick a book up, and expand your brain.
Meditation improves focus, attention, and self control. So start your day with some mindfulness.
There are a ton of apps to download to help you take time to simply breathe and decompress and track your time, or you can always take a more faith-based approach and use a time of prayer as your meditation zone.
Meditation is also, to me, about taking time to be grateful. Check out the optimism posts that Michael Baker is tweeting every day for some inspiration.
That quiet time will engage your mind and recharge you for living quarantine life.
Live with a mindset that change is inevitable. More change will happen. You either change with it, or life moves past you.
We don’t know how things will change, for better or worse, over the next weeks and months. The only certainty is that things will change even more than they have already.
Stay ready to extend your home working situation and homeschooling for longer than what you’ve been told. Staying prepared for change is the best way to accept it when it comes, instead of letting it drive you crazy.
You can’t interact with others right now, but you can still offer help in different ways.
The schools here in Colorado Springs are giving free lunches to school-age kids during the school shutdown—if your school system isn’t doing that, maybe there is an opportunity to start up a similar service?
Firms like Creative Planning are being a part of thoughtful giving by donating $1 million to a local food charity to supply food to families with kids.
You might not be able to give a million, but a $10 or $100 donation to a local charity serving people in your community most affected by the virus shutdowns will still make an impact.
We don’t know how long working from home and the quarantine will go on. But what you can control is your mindset and how you attack each day. Approach your days with positivity and gratefulness for what you have. Start there; the rest will align.
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Featured Image: Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash