With coronavirus taking over the world, working from home is quickly becoming the new normal. Formerly the privilege of freelancers and people working for #woke startups, sitting on your couch in your PJs typing away at your laptop is now an experience that more and more of us are familiar with.

Maybe you’ve just returned from a virus-struck area and have been forced to self-isolate, or maybe you’re just erring on the side of caution, but if you’re new to working from home, it can be tough to avoid all of the distractions at your fingertips (Netflix, fridge, bed). 

Seasoned freelancers and small business owners have the upper hand here, because we’re pros at working from home and avoiding these distractions. But depending on how COVID-19 develops, we might all be living the freelance WFH dream soon. If this is your new normal, here are some top tips on how to make working from home work for you.

⁣Pre-prepare your snacks

To stop me from spending hours making cute Ottolenghi dishes for my lunch/snacks, I try and plan my food in advance for the day. Having a nice snack to look forward to in the afternoon (or even something like a bottle of my fave kombucha) always helps keep me going.⁣ It’s too easy to mooch over to the fridge once every 15 minutes looking for something to graze on, so knowing you’ve got something prepared for later is a good way of avoiding this distracting habit. 

Plan in some virtual coffee dates

When you’ve worked for yourself for a while, it’s easy to forget how much time our office-based counterparts spend NOT working. From gossip in the office kitchen to bitching about that annoying client you’re working with, you’ve got a support system on hand at every moment. When you’re WFH, it’s easy to get lonely quickly, especially if you usually work from an office and aren’t used to it. I love setting up virtual coffee dates with other freelancers and small business owners – it breaks up the day and provides some moral support when needed. Put the kettle on, make a smoothie, and hop on Zoom or FaceTime.

Light a candle⁣

Inspired by the Danes and their love of all things hygge, I work best when there’s a lit candle on my desk. There’s something about the warm light from a candle — so much nicer than artificial light. It might be a stretch, but I genuinely feel more creative sitting next to a candle sticking out of an old wine bottle.   

Pick some flowers

I’m looking at the same view every day – my living room – so to stop things from getting dull, I pick up different flowers from the market each week. If you’re self-isolating, try a flower subscription service. They say that looking at living plants/flowers can brighten your mood, and it definitely works for me.⁣

Put your shoes on

A slightly wacky trick, but someone told me this ages ago and it works so well. Keeping your shoes on while you work from home keeps your mind in the ‘business’ setting, rather than reverting to its ‘relaxed’ setting. As comfy as your slippers might be, they’re not exactly conducive to a productive work mindset. Switch them for some proper shoes, and see if that makes a difference. If nothing else, putting your shoes on makes the barrier to entry of getting into bed slightly higher, which can only be a good thing.