If you're like most people, you're probably at home right now trying to strike some sort of a balance between staying productive, staying informed, and taking care of your home and family. We've spent the past week speaking to people who have been working from home and have been somewhat surprised by the findings. Chief among these findings, is that people miss going into the office. Between the monotony of staying at home, dealing with work while trying to be a parent or caretaker, the anxiety you feel when listening to the news; This experience has given us all a new perspective.
Shut off the news
This situation has been so rapidly evolving that watching the news delivers new anxieties nearly every time you tune in. Our suggestion is to just turn it off. Try to limit the amount of time you spend watching, listening to, or reading the news each day. A great way to get only the most pertinent information is to switch it on once in the morning and once at night. You likely don't need to hear each and every tidbit of news that comes out in real time. If you limit yourself to morning and night, you'll get the most important information and nothing else. After all, it really doesn't matter what talk show hosts or opinion columnists say. Try to just get the facts and follow what experts are saying. The rest is just fluff. If you can shut out all the fluff, you'll be less likely to stress yourself out over issues that are far out of your control.
You've probably had a list of books or movies you want to check out. Tick those off the list. You may never have so much time at home ever again!
Get your work done
You may be working from home, but try to forget about all that. Wake up when you normally would, dress as you normally would, and try to mimic the work environment you're used to. If you don't have a dedicated home office, try to find a room or nook that you can turn into your quarantine work space. Try to pick a spot with a window, no TV, and as little distraction as possible.
What's really worked for us has been setting up in the dining room. The dining room doesn't get much regular use, and is arguable the quietest spot in the home. Set it up with plants, candles, or whatever else makes you feel happy. Turn on some music and get to work, focusing on your career will keep your mind from racing about all that's going on in the outside world.
We spoke to many different guys this past week about how to stay productive, and here were some of their observations:
Dom Cassone, a senior accountant based in Brooklyn, NY, had this to say:
"It's tough to get used to but I've got the hang of it. It's all about having a routine... and a second screen".
Kyle Dunn added:
"An invaluable tool is getting up at the same time one would for work, showering and getting dressed for the day - if you roll out of bed and just plop down at your desk, it's highly likely your day is going to reflect your current state of being".
Make fitness a priority
One of the greatest ways to keep your mind and body in peak shape is to exercise. With gyms closed, lots of us are stuck without a dedicated space for fitness. This doesn't mean you should be giving up on exercise, rather that you need to adapt to the situation. There are lots of ways to stay fit from home, like body weight exercises, calisthenics, and yoga. Our favorite though is plain old running. One of the most quintessentially gratifying daily experiences is breathing in fresh air. We've sort of been robbed of that due to the quarantine. So getting out for a run, jog, walk, bike ride, whatever you want to do as long as it involves getting your heart going in the outdoors, do it. You'll be safe if you keep your distance from other people, and refrain from touching public surfaces. For more on exercising outdoors during the COVID-19 outbreak, read further from the NY Times.
Take care of yourself
One of the silver linings of staying at home is that you have more time on your hands to focus on yourself. You're saving the time you'd normally spend commuting, meeting up with friends, etc. Use that time to focus your energy on yourself both mentally and physically. Whether it's something simple like finally re-organizing the garage, or something more in depth, like sticking to a new diet or exercise routine, now is the time to do it. It's not just about completing these actions or crossing items off a list. It's about your mental well being. It's about staying sane and keeping your mind and body active.
Activities like yoga or meditation are great for the mind. While you're doing them, clear your head of anything negative, focus on your breathing, and come away feeling mentally refreshed. Speaking of mental wellness, this could be a good time to make a concerted effort to getting more sleep. Now that you aren't spending as much time out of the house, you're presumably wondering what to do each night, the simplest answer is sometimes the best - Go to sleep. Recharge.
Men normally receive a mentally rewarding confidence boost when donning a crisp suit, or after getting a great haircut. Since you're not going to be wearing a suit anytime soon, and since most states have shut down barber shops for now, you may not be feeling so good about yourself. There are other ways however, to get that feeling of masculinity. Look to lifting weights, throwing a steak on the grill, or giving yourself a proper shave.
As we always recommend, stick to your grooming routine. Whether you shave or sport a beard, stick to what you normally do. It'll make you feel normal. Keep to your normal shower or skincare habits as well to let yourself have that normalcy and maintain your appearance. A really great way to de-stress is to cover your face with a steamy hot towel and just sweat. Breath in the steam and let it soothe your lungs. When you're done, the pores on your face will be open, the perfect time to shave or apply a face mask.
Get into nesting
Since it feels like you've never been home as much, might as well make your home the best it can be. This is a good time to de-clutter, reorganize, update, and upgrade your living space. Something as simple as a new houseplant or new fresh artwork can do lots to make you feel better. When you live in a space that gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, you'll be more likely to be as productive as possible during this time spent at home.
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