Covid-19 – How to Work from Home – Part 1 (The Child-Free Version)

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Tongue-in-cheek #WFHadvice from a seasoned Work From Home expert on how to keep yourself motivated, and adjust to your new ‘isolation station’.

This is advice is part 1: Those who do not have children.

Meg has provided tips for part 2: Those who do have children.
That’s a whole other kettle of weasels.


Day 1

Isolation had begun, and I actually struggled.

WFH is normal for me, a day to day task I had mastered over the past 9 years.

This day was different – it was a really odd feeling…I could hear the potato chips in the pantry calling my name. Extra helpings of coffee, f’n around on social media, checking it. STOP.

And that’s when it dawned on me, I miss the stress of ‘normal’…already: these next 4 weeks are going to be HARD.

It was only after an Instagram chat to lovely photographer friend Hazel Redmond (check out her @the photoshop Instagram for 30-day photo challenge), I noted that everyone else was probably feeling the same.

Concentration was hard, even with so much to do, COVID-19 is still affecting us in isolation.

So I said to myself, today (Day 2) will be a better day, and I decided, while motivated, I will rack my brain for all the little things that help me stay focused when working from home.


1. Find a SAFE zone

A space for you and NO-ONE else.

To get productive you need to get into REAL isolation mode. Relocate yourself into a bedroom, spare lounge or if you’re lucky, an existing office.

Lock that door (if you can), and quite literally tell people to F*** off. They need to leave. you. alone.  – you have set times that you are WORKING.

Ignore screaming kids, pesky cats, playful dogs, needy husbands. They are only allowed to interrupt you IF, they are DYING.


2. Set your hours

And let everyone know about it. Put up a sign, activate a message – lock the door.

Example: From 8.30 am to 12.00 noon I am working on current projects, please leave a message and I will get back to you in due course.

Set your phone to silent (if your type the of work allows).

These are YOUR hours, minutes or whatever, that gets you humming through your tasks that need be completed.

Because if you don’t do it today, you’ll just have MORE to do tomorrow.


3. Tune in your headphones or blast away distractions, with MUSIC

Best trick, pump up the volume on the computer FULL noise – get your Spotify playlist amping.

Or if you are , unfortunately, around other people, plug in your headphones and turn them up LOUD.

Now you can focus.


4. Surprise! You CAN watch/listen to TV and work

When I have to do in-house or ‘chore’ admin work at the weekends, I like to mix it up and change my workspace to the lounge.

I set up my trusty laptop, keyboard, mouse, get comfortable. And I turn on Netflix and begin a small binge-watching session.

This is usually done when the husband is away at golf on a Saturday afternoon. The ULTIMATE peace and quiet block, that sadly won’t be occurring over the next four weeks (…that might lead to a story for another time!).

Now, obviously you can’t watch subtitle movies or shows, but you can listen in, look up AND you feel like you’re kind of getting a taste of ‘time off, but not’.

This method of ‘time off, but not’ gives you a NEW workspace, and a chance to change it up a little.

The saying change is as good as a holiday, is very true – get ready to explore the sunny nooks and peaceful locations in your home.


Note: this option is only suitable for tasks that require limited brain work e.g clearcutting photos, file exporting, invoicing, GST returns, etc.


5. Eat the Potato Chips or the Chocolate

If you discover there’s an unexplained craving, something randomly missing…or you are just plain struggling for motivation.

Go and pick up that pack of salt ‘n’ vinegar potato chips. And eat, and work.

Savour the flavour, eat them gently, eat them slowly and you will find that soon your to-do list, is now a to-done list.

This is my personal trick for when I have to work on horrid invoices, GST or any despised part of running a business.

Well, hey if it makes you feel better….;)

TIP: do try to burn off the extra by visiting the gym or scheduling in exercise later on.


6. Keep Warm

If you are cold, you won’t want to work.

Go on, grab that tres corporate chic cover-up, AKA the dressing gown. This comfy, cosy little number will heat up your creative powers.

It’s a flashback to student life = cold flats, need to keep warm – get that gown and rock it, day and night.

Coffee on tap is another favourite ‘warm yourself up’ hack.


7. Get Comfortable – A. the look

Unclip that bra ladies – because you don’t need it here. For the lads, it’s free ball Friday, every day.

Brushing your hair, meh…messy hair, don’t care. All that is 100% unimportant, your focus is to maximise your work time.

One exception is IF you have an online video meeting. Then yes, your top half does need to be dressed.

Ugg boots or slippers, activewear, and a sweatshirt. This is standard WFH attire.

And if you are cold, just add your favourite tres corporate chic cover-up.


8. Get Comfortable – B. the feel

Get a comfy office chair (preferably with an 8-hour comfiness factor – yes, that is a real thing…and sold at Warehouse Stationery).

Make sure your desk and keyboard layout is ergonomically correct – you don’t want to get sore shoulders/arms, because you monitor is not high enough, or you are leaning in to squint or see the screen.

If you get uncomfortable or sore within 20 minutes, change it. Use those old Yellow pages to prop up the desktop monitor. OR if using a laptop I’d recommend you invest in a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Don’t try to do hours on a laptop, that f****** trackpad will drive you nuts.


And Remember: “Being warm and comfortable unleashes creative superpowers” – Sarah Crispin


8. F*** the washing, F*** dinner – if you are motivated – KEEP GOING

I feel very strongly about this. Because that motivation won’t always last, and it can take x10 times longer to get back into that creative/work mind frame.

Lock the ‘distractions’ outside and turn up the music, completely disregard everything else that is going on. Because others can answer their own questions (just Google it!), cook for themselves, and DO things by themselves.

Don’t stop when you are tired/interrupted, stop when you are done.



My best advice is to stay comfy, fuelled with coffee and stay away from people when you need creative or ‘GET IT DONE’ time – it’s the #1 distraction. But do stay social and organise online chats for meetings, and brainstorming with co-workers. Try out the FREE versions of Slack and Zoom.

Say hello to isolation, for those who can stay motivated – it’s going to be a successful one!

You will get through this. Own your isolation station.

Sarah x

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