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I’ve worked from home for much of my career and know the traps you can fall into: overeating, too much self-analysis, not showering or brushing your teeth. Here are some ideas that may help you get through. For all those working from home for this extended period, take a look.

It’s easy to get lazy and let your personal hygene slip when working from home. I’ve worked from home for most of my career. Creative Outhouse has been a 100% remote office since May of last year. I get how hard it is to transition to remote work. Here are four things you can do to make working from home better.

1. Keep your schedule.

Sure, you’re thinking you don’t need to get up early and you no longer have a commute. With the current pandemic crisis, it may seem like the world is going to hell and you just want to cuddle with your dog and sob. Bad idea. Set your alarm and get up when you normally get up. Get dressed. It’s very important. Create that to do list. Do the things on that to do list. I get it. The internet is infinite and it’s easy to sit there and go down rabbit holes.

How do you avoid that? Quit your browser, take it off your dock. If you’re on a Mac, hide it. If you’re on another system, make it harder to access. That way, if you want to get online, you’re going to have to go find your browser first, which gives you a few seconds to ask yourself, “Do I really need to know how much an adult Yak weighs?*” In those few seconds you may decide to keep your browser closed.

* By the way, adult male yaks between 700-1300  pounds, females only 500 pounds.

2. Don’t overthink yourself.

It’s normal when you work from home without the stimulation of other people in the outside world to think about yourself. And right now, the world’s turned on its head and we’re all going through a bit of an existential crisis. What does this mean? What do I do? Who should I be right now? What if I lose my job? Who am I then? Well, it’s always a good idea to take a self inventory. Be careful not to overdo it. There’s a movie called 20th Century Women with Annette Benning, and she had a wonderful quote, she said, “Wondering if you’re happy is a great shortcut to just being depressed.”

Most of us tend to be a little hard on ourselves. So if we look closely enough, we’re bound to find stuff we don’t like. Skip that nonsense. Here’s a suggestion: Instead of wondering what’s wrong with you, and how you can improve, take this time to figure out what you’re good at. And then ask yourself, “Using my skills, how can I help other people?” For example, I work from home a lot, and I know the pitfalls, so I’m doing this.

3. Take advantage of your commute.

Surprise, you don’t have one. Take the 30 minutes or an hour to get your day going with a hobby you love. crocheting, writing, practicing the ukulele. You now have time to do things for you. This is your “me” time. Be disciplined with it and keep that time to feed your soul. So maybe your passion is to drive around the block a few times and listen to our podcast, or crocheting.

4. Stop eating everything.

It’s so easy to put things in your mouth, you wander to the kitchen, you grab a handful of this. You take a bite of that, and before long, you’ve had about 17 meals in a day. That’s that’s not not a good thing.

We eat usually because we’re bored or we’re stressed. When we’re bored we eat because it produces endorphins. We’re stressed and we eat because stress makes our body produce cortisol, which is the body’s alarm system, and it tells your brain, “Hey, we’re stressed, we better get some food to run away from that bear!” So pretty soon, we’re the size of a bear. So how do you beat that? Well, with boredom, you know what else produces endorphins? Exercise. It doesn’t have to be a marathon. Get up and move. Do what I do: put on your favorite music and dance your ass off. No one’s around. So dance like a fool. Sing into your hairbrush. You’re playing electric air guitar. Who cares? It’s fun. It makes you laugh. And also, laughing produces endorphins. And if you don’t like dancing, just in, the words of the House of Pain, jump around. Just be silly and laugh at the best thing to laugh at: yourself. And you’ll feel better.

Lastly, after that fourth tip, I would like you to all do me a favor, if you don’t mind. In the comments, tell me what you’re good at. And tell me how you can use those skills to help other people. You know, as for me, I know about being creative and doing marketing thingies. So I wrote a blog about Branding in a Time of Disruption. Check it out. 

Working from home is not easy, but we’ll all get through it and make this world better. See ya.

Rudy Fernandez

Creative Outhouse, Founder & Executive Creative Director

Host, Marketing Upheaval podcast