Gen Z: Ready to crush your quarantine goals?
Our tips for keeping a healthy, productive routine while WFH
Self-isolation and quarantine is most likely not what you envisioned when you embarked upon your first official year of adulting. Like many of us new to the professional workspace, WFH is an unfamiliar concept that immediately conjures up horrific imagery of indefinite confinement in a 250sq ft apartment with 3 roommates. Even for those of us who’ve always had the occasional flexibility to work from home, the current isolation guidelines can be quite daunting.
As we’ve reluctantly begun to ease into the “new normal”, companies and organizations have started planning for a future that may very well involve an entirely remote workforce. While it’s clear that we won’t be returning to our daily 9-5 grind anytime soon, how can we stay productive and preserve our mental health until we do? Here are some of our suggestions on how you can nail WFH:
1.Set a routine. Resist the urge to lounge around in your PJs all day—yes, it is VERY tempting, but it’s not exactly the most inspiring work outfit if you’re trying to be productive.
Our bodies and minds crave predictability, and nothing insinuates chaos like a sudden change in our daily routines. Shower (…please), brush your teeth, put on deodorant — whatever it is that you do on a regular workday, do at home. Establishing a schedule to follow from the time you “arrive” at work, to the time you clock out in the evening can help you stay on track.
Tip: Get ready each morning as if you’re going to work. Preparing for your day by showering and getting dressed for “the office” can go a long way in getting into the work mindset.
2. Create an office space. On top of navigating the ever-blurring lines between personal life and professional life, most of us have been scrambling to find new hobbies in an effort to suck up the boredom. But despite how tempting it might be to cram your bedroom with a new painting easel or keyboard, it might be better to think about investing in essential WFH necessities, especially if you’re crunched on space. Designating a section for your shoebox of a room to turn into comfortable “office” space for work does wonders for productivity. If you’re in the .01% of NYC transplants who has the luxury of being blessed with a modestly sized living room in an NYC apartment, move your office space there. This will make it easier to set boundaries between business and personal time.
Tip: Wayfair has a ton of affordable, stylish desks and office chairs if you’re on a budget.
3. Reduce distractions. Let’s be frank, the news is a never ending cycle of misery and sorrow–not quite the kind of optimism and positivity we need to maintain our mental health right now. It’s easy to get sucked into the plethora of negativity, and while it may not be realistic to turn off EVERYTHING for an entire day, try to establish a block of “shut off” time for social media and news alerts so noisy distractions won’t get in your way.
Tip: Working on something that requires full concentration? Try putting your phone out of reach so you’ll be less tempted to check it. And if you have an iPhone and want to get extreme, go into Downtime on your settings and put limits on when you can access your social media apps.
4. Get moving. And no, walking from your bedroom to your living room does NOT count. The gym may be closed for now, but getting outside and taking a SOCIALLY DISTANT (!!!) walk is an excellent way to get some fresh air, clear your mind, and remember that this isn’t permanent. You can even catch a glimpse of other humans from afar!
Tip: What we DON’T want to do is come out of this quarantine with the hip mobility of our nana. Download Stretch It App—a cheap, flexibility training routine you can easily squeeze into your breaks. Also, there are tons of great 10-15-minute workout videos on YouTube that you can do at home.
5. Stay mindful. Working out your mind is just as important as working out your body. If you’ve always wanted to meditate but never had the time to do so, there are a ton of beginner meditation apps on the market to help you start. Headspace is a great place to start, and you can easily squeeze in one of their 10-minute guided meditations into your morning regimen. Doing this first thing in the morning can help keep stress levels down and remind us to stay connected to the moment–even when the outside world feels like a swirl of chaos and confusion.
Tip: Use time you’d otherwise spend commuting for a little peace and quiet. The internet is full of apps and other resources to help you practice building up your mindfulness “muscle.” (We personally like mindful.org.)
Bonus Tip: Reward yourself. This is the perfect time to reconnect with friends and family and spend some quality “virtual” time with people. Whether it‘s on zoom or facetime, it can make a huge difference in your day when you can speak with someone outside of your environment even if it’s just for a few minutes. And it’s the perfect excuse to open up a new bottle of wine for a “virtual” happy hour. 😊