Change is tough and so is uncertainty and right now, just about everyone I know has to deal with both as a result of COVID-19.  My guess is everyone is touched by this pandemic in some way. You see, predictability, habit, and routine are what allow people to make sense of the world, succeed, and perform.  Without it, anxiety levels increase and productivity might suffer. For the time being, peoples’ work is hugely impacted. For those who are fortunate to still have a job, they might feel added pressure to sustain work and adjust to working from home. 

Here are some ways to optimize your work from home:

  1. Set yourself up for success the night before.  Plan your day ahead, cut off technology an hour before bedtime, and have a healthy sleep routine.  Even though you don’t have the morning commute to deal with, make sure you get to bed at a reasonable hour to allow for 7-8 hours of sleep.  So count back 7-8 hours from your desired wake time.
  2. Act as though you’re actually going to your office.  That’s right – shave, shower, eat breakfast, and wear clothes you’d ordinarily wear for work.  You’ll feel more professional and more ready for work than if you lounge around in your pajamas or sweatpants.  
  3. Set up a schedule.  Plan out your day, schedule every hour (even if it is lunch or walking the dog) and be sure to include all calls, deadlines, tasks, etc.
  4. Set up a workspace.  If possible, create a separate space in your house or apartment to be used for work.  Do not work from your bed! Make sure the space is comfortable, has proper light, and is conducive to work.
  5. Clearly define your work hours.  By defining your work hours you’ll be less likely to get distracted and will be better organized. If you live with people, communicate to them what your hours will be so they can respect them and will know that you aren’t fully available during that time frame.
  6. Build into your day time to interact with colleagues.  Most people thrive on some level of human interaction, especially in the workplace.  It’s an opportunity to share ideas, get feedback, and feel like you are part of something important.  So make sure you schedule such time.
  7. Create downtime.  Make sure you actually take a lunch break and do not work at your desk. Also, if safe, consider getting outside, so long as you’re keeping a safe distance from people and being mindful of proper hygiene. 

Finally, try to remain hopeful that positive change will come.  Optimism is what sometimes separates those who are anxious and depressed from those who are able to persevere and make it to better days ahead unscathed.

Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days by Jonathan Alpert.

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  • Jonathan Alpert

    Psychotherapist, executive performance coach, and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. Twitter: @JonathanAlpert

    Jonathan Alpert is a psychotherapist, columnist, performance coach and author in Manhattan. As a psychotherapist, he has helped countless couples and individuals overcome a wide range of challenges and go on to achieve success. He discussed his results-oriented approach in his 2012 New York Times Opinion piece, “In Therapy Forever? Enough Already”, which continues to be debated and garner international attention. Alpert is frequently interviewed by major TV, print and digital media outlets and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, FOX, and Good Morning America discussing current events, mental health, hard news stories, celebrities/politicians, as well as lifestyle and hot-button issues. He appears in the 2010 Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job commenting on the financial crisis. With his unique insight into how people think and their motivations, Alpert helps clients develop and strengthen their brands. He has been a spokesperson for NutriBullet, Liberty Mutual insurance, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Jonathan’s 2012 book BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days has been translated into six languages worldwide. Alpert continues to provide advice to the masses through his, Huffington Post, and Thrive columns. @JonathanAlpert