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    6 Simple Ways to Have Better Posture at Your Desk

    You’re probably currently sitting at your desk reading this, blissfully unaware of your posture right now—and that’s perfectly normal. It can be difficult to always be mindful of your posture, especially during a hectic workday through hours of Zoom meetings and conference calls.Your posture is a very important indicator of your overall health, as it supports blood flow, improves your mood, increases your confidence, and strengthens your other muscles and joints. Practicing better posture while at your desk at work or at home, even in the smallest ways, is a great way to be mindful of your health on a daily basis, and there are a few quick ways you can improve your posture as you go along your workday. Give your posture some attention and work smarter, not harder, at your desk.  

    1. Switch up your seating 
    Your seating can make or break your posture—literally. Seating with little to no back support, worn-out chairs, and working from your couch or bed could wear on your body over time, straining your shoulders, spine, and lower back. 
    If your desk chair doesn’t have the support you need to sit comfortably and in an upright position for an hour or two at a time, you may need to switch up your seating. A good, ergonomic chair for your workspace will have lumbar support to help the middle of your back, where most of the tension goes when you’re hunched over your desk. You also want to pick a chair that keeps your body at a neutral, upright position with an adequate seat height that keeps your arms and legs leveled and a backrest that isn’t too firm or too soft. 
    If you’re now working from home, make sure to be mindful of where and how you’re sitting. Set up your own workspace with a desk and chair that supports your back and shoulders and promotes better posture over time.

    2. Take frequent stretch breaks 
    Spending hours upon hours every day in a seated position where your back is either slouched or hunched over is detrimental to your posture. Many health professionals have declared that sitting has now become the new smoking, a popular myth that compares the negative chronic health effects of both, such as weight gain and diabetes.
    Prolonged sitting can have long-lasting effects on not only your back, but on your overall health. Make it a priority to get up and move around on a regular basis throughout your workday to give your body some relief from sitting and staring at a screen all day. Put yourself on a daily schedule to get some time away from the desk to give your back a break from sitting in an upright position, putting more pressure on your spine. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your workday and forget to move, so set an alert on your work calendar or on your phone as a regular reminder to take a break and switch up your posture by taking a walk, standing briefly in between meetings, stretching, or getting a quick exercise in. 

    Source: Danielle Moss

    3. Exercise for better posture
    When we exercise, we often forget to exercise for better posture, especially as working from home becomes more prevalent. Your posture is key to better overall health, and taking out the time to focus on it during your workday can help prevent lifelong body issues. 
    Exercising throughout the workday for better posture can be as simple as standing upright for an hour or two at a time at your desk, stretching and rotating your neck to relieve some of the tension from hours of working, or getting a good back bend at the waist to loosen up that lower back. Give yourself a few small breaks during the workday to work out those kinks in your shoulders, neck, and back from sitting too long, and focus on exercises specifically for those areas. 

    4. Keep your workspace eye level
    Hunching over your desk to look at your laptop or to type is one of the key indicators of poor posture. If your laptop or desktop computer isn’t eye level, it makes it easy to slouch and get stuck working that way for hours. 
    Do an overall assessment of your workspace, including your laptop, your monitor, your desk, and your computer accessories like your keyboard and mouse to make sure they are level to your eyesight and body to ensure that you’re not straining your neck, shoulders, and back to use your devices. Your workspace should be at a comfortable level, but upright enough where your posture isn’t compromised. Switch up the positioning of your workspace so that it makes it easier to sit upright while still being effective throughout the day. If you work remotely or from home, find a better place to set up your workspace like on a high bar-style countertop where you can easily sit in an upright position, or even stand and work for a change of pace. 

    Source: Jenny Komenda | Juniper Studio

    5. Practice mindfulness of your posture 
    It can be difficult to take a lunch break or grab a second cup of coffee during the workday when you’re juggling emails and meetings, let alone be actively aware of how your body feels. Taking the time out to connect with your body every so often throughout the day to see how it feels can seem like another item for your to-do list, but your back most importantly will thank you for it! 
    Practice being mindful of your posture throughout the workday by setting frequent reminders on your phone to check in with your body. There are plenty of mindfulness apps that can help you break away from your work mentally for a few minutes to give your body and mind a quick check-up. Block off time in your work calendar to check in with yourself, your posture, your mood, and your overall body. Scheduling time on your work calendar helps you stay accountable to yourself and your health. 
    Use this mindfulness to be more aware of your posture on a daily basis and when you place the most tension on your back. Do you find that your posture suffers during long Zoom meetings? Are you sitting for more than 2-3 hours at a time in the mornings or afternoons? Take note daily of all of your workspace habits and how it impacts your posture and your overall body. This will help you anticipate and be more mindful of your posture during the most stressful times of your day and prepare to change it up.

    6. Keep your feet flat on the floor 
    Your feet and their position while at your desk play a crucial role in your overall posture while sitting. If your feet are crossed or elevated, that could compromise your posture, as your weight is primarily on one leg or your back is taking the brunt of it. When your feet are flat on the floor and properly leveled, the weight of your body is evenly distributed across your hips. Keeping your feet flat on the floor also makes you more mindful of the overall stance of your body, as it unconsciously makes you straighten up.
    Practice keeping your feet fully on the floor for longer periods of time instead of elevating them using a footrest or crossing your legs at the knees underneath your desk. Planting your feet on the ground will help you be more aware of your posture and if you’re slouched or hunched over your desk. 

    Your posture is a key indicator of your body’s health during your workday. Don’t ignore any signs of back or shoulder pain; make it a point to take care of yourself while working, starting with your posture.  More

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    The 4 Work-From-Home Rules I’m Breaking for Better Results

    Many of us are hitting a stretch of work-from-home fatigue. We’re nearly six months into this and many of us have slim prospects of returning full time to an office this year, so I’m finding I need to amend the ideal work-from-home standards. If you are fortunate enough to have a job that can be done from home, productivity has probably gone in many directions over 2020.First, a reminder that productivity isn’t just doing more work, faster. Getting “better results” during this time period is about producing whatever outcome is meaningful to your life. More time to get creative in the kitchen? Productive! Learning to let go of things we can’t control? Productive! These may not be the gold standard of work from home that make sense in normal times, but they’re more reflective of my personal work-from-home style. These are the rules I’m breaking to make it through this time of “Pandemic, but make it work from home.”

    1. Dress for your work day
    Along the way in 2020, dress for your day morphed into curating the perfect work-from-home loungewear capsule. While I definitely added in a few new pairs of joggers, I’m far gone from stressing over the perfect look for a video call. The last thing I need right now is decision fatigue over what to wear, staring in to a closet that was built for a business formal office life.
    Instead, I’ve extracted five “Zoom toppers.” It’s my favorite mix of blouses, a sweater, and a knit blazer that fit the bill for any time I’m on camera. Outside of that, I’ve let go of the pressure to figure out a perfect work-from-home look. The non-negotiable tasks for me include a little bit of hair care and daily minimal makeup. Slim down your daily essential get ready routine, revel in this moment of not being coiffed to the nines, and spend that time elsewhere.

    2. Set up a dedicated workspace
    I am delighted for you ladies that have the room for a chic dedicated workspace. (Hello, home office goals!) A fabulous home office set up is a huge part of making work from home livable. But some of us are in smaller spaces, sharing home office space with kids and partners, or have decamped to stay with families.
    A dedicated workspace that I can count on daily is a bit of a pipe dream. Instead, focus on the space you need for specific tasks. When I know I need to be on camera, I’m at the kitchen counter with better light and fewer background distractions. Emails happen on the couch and hard number crunching gets a few hours at the bedroom desk. This idea of tying tasks to spaces has helped me be much more deliberate with my time. It’s also giving me enough variety to feel not completely claustrophobic in my space.

    3. Keep set work hours
    I pop out of bed at 5:30am ready to go. Before I know it, it’s 9:30, and a traditional half work day is under my belt while others are just getting started. On the flip side, my productivity hits a major slump in the afternoons. Shifting my schedule around gives me the opportunity to destress with workouts or personal tasks, depending on my daily workload.
    If at all possible, negotiate with your manager on your daily schedule and when you must be online or available. If you are leading a team, manage your employees’ outputs and outcomes, not how they get there. This is always a good leadership best practice, and it’s even more important as kids head back to school, care for family members changes, or to combat the fatigue of more months ahead of this type of balancing act.

    4. Stay visible to your team
    It is important to stay visible to your team and manager in any condition. It’s especially important now as companies are tightening expenses. In the beginning of this work-from-home period, you might have had a lot of check-ins or more team meetings. Some of us may have even been instigating those check points to win over work from home non-believers.
    Now that we’re in a bit of a rhythm, my “visibility” efforts look different. Instead of getting burnt out from unnecessary task check-ins or an endless stream of zoom happy hours, I’m being more deliberate with how I stay top of mind. At the beginning of the week, I might drop a note to my manager of everything on my plate. I forward that note on a Thursday afternoon to let them know my progress, which gives me all of Friday to redirect or pick up any loose ends.
    Visible also doesn’t have to mean “on video.” Now, I’m also much more deliberate about when I join on screen and I reply to meeting requests letting the host know my plan in advance. This gives them an opportunity to weigh-in if one option is preferable. I also now try to issue meeting appointments with that consideration. Sometimes I’ll include a note asking a list of the key decision makers to join on screen if possible, and encourage others to just listen in as needed. 

    Are there any work from home rules you’re breaking with better results?  More

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    10 Work-From-Home Habits I’ve Adopted That Have Saved My Days

    I’ll say it over and over again: I absolutely despise working from home. I’m an ENTJ fire sign who thrives in groups and does my best work when surrounded by my competition… haha, I mean my coworkers. But I have to get the heck over it and learn to love all this time at home while we’re doing it. Lately, I’ve been taking advantage of all the perks that come with working remotely and finding ways to create healthier habits at home. Adding these simple habits into my routine has made a major difference in how confident and happy I feel sitting at my desk all day long.
    1. Eating breakfast after 11am
    If you practice intermittent fasting, you’ll understand this concept well. While this definitely encourages me to enjoy my morning beverage and drink some extra water, this is more about how it impacts the rest of my day rather than the health benefits. I notice a major difference in how happy and productive I am when I can take a later lunch, but when I eat breakfast at 8 or 9 in the morning, I’m starving at noon. So by waiting a little bit to eat breakfast, I prolong when I need to eat lunch. This helps me schedule my day better, and I also have less of an urge to snack around 4pm.

    2. Keeping my desk clean
    Pre-WFH life, my “desk” was my vanity. I worked from home twice a week, but I spent those days in bed or at coffee shops. I never needed a clear desk in my home because all of my work was done in the office. Well, that obviously changed. I rearranged my apartment, purchased a comfortable desk chair, and made it a point to keep my desk clear. This has made a major difference in my productivity. I get way more done when I’m sitting down at a desk versus in bed, but I’d often just stay in bed because my desk was filled with makeup and papers and whatever else I accumulated the days prior. 

    3. Set timers
    I have a Google home, and I absolutely swear by it for setting timers throughout my day. I’ll set a timer for 30 minutes and tell myself to write as much as I can in 30 minutes, and then I’ll stop to do a different task. Sometimes, I’ll set an alarm for a specific time to remind myself to take lunch. This is something that was a little bit harder to do in an open-concept office, so I’m taking full advantage while I’m working remotely. It helps keep my productivity at a 10, even when I have a cabinet full of snacks and a TV with Netflix queued up within 5 ft. of me. 

    4. Taking a lunch break—and actually leaving my home
    I used to never take a lunch break for things other than doctor’s appointments and random one-off lunch dates with friends who were in town (or the two times in 2019 that I met the Jonas Brothers and Sophie Turner on the street—no lunch break will ever top those). I would rather grab my lunch and work through it, or at the very least, eat my lunch in front of my computer. Now that I’m at home all day long, I really make it a point to take my lunch break and use it to its full capacity. I’ll go for a walk or use it to run errands or go to the grocery store. Anything that gets me out of my house, or even just out of my desk chair, is worthwhile to me. I find that I’m more motivated and ready to get back to work afterward too. 

    5. Talking to my coworkers
    I have a habit to disassociate during times of stress and anxiety, folding into myself rather than seeking solace and joy through my loved ones. But I’ve made it a habit to check in with people, make sure I’m talking throughout the day, and staying in touch as much as I can, especially at work. It provides that social aspect I love about an office even while I’m at home. I make sure to chime in to conversations, ask about people’s weekends, and more. It adds a bit of normalcy to our otherwise very odd lives right now.

    6. Organize my desktop
    Looking at 500 screenshots and files on my desktop all day long makes me want to close my computer and do nothing even remotely close to work. At the beginning of every workday, I go through my desktop and delete what doesn’t need to be there and organize everything else into their proper folders. I love doing this in the morning because it often gives me reminders of things I need to do and gets me started for the day; however, this could be a great task to save for your final minutes of the workday too.

    7. Break down tasks into small chunks
    If you often feel like you don’t accomplish anything during the day, it’s possibly because you’re looking at the big picture of all of your tasks. Sometimes, sitting down to do something feels unconquerable. But since work-from-home, I give myself a little pep talk and break big projects into as many small tasks as possible. I’ll go as far as to write an item on my to-do list for every single paragraph in an article (think Enneagram articles, perhaps). Write the intro? Check. Write paragraph #1? Check. Add links? Check. It seems simple, but it reminds me at the end of the day that I was getting things done versus feeling like a failure because I didn’t complete a 10-hour project all in one day. 

    8. Keep my phone on another side of the room
    If my phone is next to me, I’m scrolling. There’s just no way around it. So when I know that I need to get a task done without any distractions, I put my phone on the other side of the room (or better yet, a different room; however, I live in a studio apartment so that doesn’t actually exist). Do I miss texts from my best friends about the latest tea of the day? Literally always, but it ends up making me a better friend because I can actually give them my undivided attention later on when I’m allowing myself to actually indulge in my phone. If you get sucked into Tik Tok or Twitter (my weakness) for hours on end, try this. I’ve also played around with turning off my wifi when I’m doing a task that doesn’t require it, like writing an article or editing photos. 

    9. Change my environment
    I get really bored in my space. Heck, I have rearranged my apartment three times during quarantine. To keep myself inspired, I constantly have to change aspects of my environment to give me a boost. Some days this looks like working in bed first thing on Friday morning or allowing myself to write on the couch instead of my desk. Other times this means moving my desk into my closet for one single day because I can’t bear to look at the same white wall all day long. Any way that I can get myself into a different headspace allows me to be significantly more creative. (And it obviously works because you’re reading this totally-original-amazing-never-been-done-before article right now!)

    10. Make plans for the evening
    One of the perks of working in an office is the feeling that your day is over and you have a whole night ahead of you when you leave. I’ve found myself disregarding that entire principle for WFH, allowing myself the whole night to work instead of trying to finish something so I can relax. Lately, I’ve made it a habit to plan something for myself every night. Watching a movie with friends, laying on the couch with a new book, baking something delicious, going for a long walk—I’ve found having something to look forward to, even the simplest of things, gets me out of the mindset that I have all night to complete a task.   More

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    I’ve Worked From Home for Years—Here Are 5 Things I Do in My Routine to Keep My Sanity

    After about a year of commuting by bus, train, and foot to my employer’s Hollywood office, working from home became my dream. After being laid off, I got the opportunity. Since I had freelance writing opportunities, I worked on the side; I continued working even though I wasn’t quite full time. I enjoyed the benefits: no commute, no traffic.If I’m honest, there were days when I didn’t bother to get dressed. After a couple of months, I quickly realized that having a routine was necessary for my mental health and productivity. I found myself working into the night’s wee hours, waking up late, and repeating that cycle for weeks. Once I realized working from home wasn’t one big party, I set some ground rules for myself. Here are a few things I do each day to keep a healthy balance between my work and home life. 

    1. Create a morning routine
    How you start your mornings can affect how you navigate your day, at least from my experience. For this reason, I created a morning ritual that I now stick to without much thought. First things first, I make my bed. I thought working from my bed was a good idea until I realized that it wasn’t healthy for my bed to be where I worked and slept. Making my bed is a physical indicator my day has started. On days when I like to lounge and work, I use my chaise. Never my bed. 
    Next up, I make a slow cup of coffee with my Moka pot. I find this gives me time to wake up without feeling rushed. I don’t check my emails or social media until I’ve had a glass of water and a cup of coffee. Now, I am notoriously terrible at making breakfast—or any meal for that matter. That doesn’t mean I won’t encourage you to whip up something to eat, even if I’m not the best example. 
    If coffee isn’t your thing, maybe make a smoothie or even read a few pages from a book you’ve been putting off finishing. Essentially, my coffee-making time is my morning self-care. That is 15-20 minutes I block off for myself. I imagine this would be more difficult if I had children, but this time is sacred to me as a single woman. 
    READ: The Morning Routine I Follow For the Busiest Work-From-Home Days

    2. Call my friends during lunch
    Setting a time for lunch is essential in any workplace scenario. Instead of only nourishing my body, I feed my mind with some chit-chat. I call one of my friends every day to catch up. We talk while I move about the kitchen, making some quick, struggle meal that is typically a boiled egg, a piece of fruit, and any other miscellaneous thing I can pop into the microwave and make in three minutes. I love how that time breaks up my day. Since my friends live on the East Coast and I live in LA, my lunchtime works best for us to catch up due to the time difference. 
    READ: 17 Gifts You Can Send to a Friend You’re Missing While Social Distancing

    3. Sit outside and get some sun
    When I started working from home, there were many days when I’d look up and the sun was setting. I’d think to myself, “I haven’t been outside all day.” Getting outside became an intentional practice for me. I would walk to get coffee from the small business on the corner for a midday pick-me-up or go for a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air. My practice has changed a little due to COVID. I left LA for Atlanta in March to be close to my family, and visiting my favorite shops anywhere feels like a task these days. You have to remember your mask. You may even have anxiety about coming into contact with people, not in your household. 
    I can relate. Quarantining at my parents for the last six months was nice. Especially since I got to spend quality time with Max, our family dog. Every day, we’d sit outside for 15 minutes (or until we started sweating). I’d even take my shoes off and walk on our driveway on days when I needed to feel grounded. As my mom always says when she can tell I’m feeling down, “Go get some sun on your face.” Now, I’m encouraging you to do the same. 

    4. Put on something I love
    Truthfully, I miss getting dressed. Sweats have been my go-to lately. While I love how comfortable I feel, I miss my denim and boots. One day I missed them so much, I put on my favorite pair of jeans and my new silver boots to go to the grocery store and to bug my mom. She says boots aren’t for summer, and she’s probably right. But, I say boots are for whenever I feel like wearing them, especially if they’re silver. 
    I’m not suggesting you draw attention to yourself in the way I did. But pull out those signature pieces you miss wearing. Throw them on for a Zoom call or on a day when you’re in the mood to get a little flashy. Oh, and put on your favorite beauty product for good measure. My beauty favorite of choice these days is Glossier’s Cloud Paint.

    5. Set a time to end your day
    Boundaries are important in all aspects of life. You have to give yourself a time each day to stop working without wavering. This practice has gotten a little tricky for me during the quarantine. The boundaries I’m encouraging you to set, I have had trouble implementing myself. It is always easier to tell someone to do something than it is to put it into practice. 
    Give yourself some grace. There will be days you work beyond you set a boundary, but having a time set makes it easier for you to stick to it. Each morning I make a to-do list of items I have to get done. I also make a follow-up list at the end of my day of the things I didn’t get to that I plan to roll over into the next day. Organization and boundaries are your best friends when working from home. You’ll find your grove if you work at it. I promise.
    READ: 6 Steps to Set Boundaries Between Your Work and Personal Life More

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    10 Tips to Help You Nail Your Virtual Interview

    This year has shown that working virtually is here to stay, and a huge part of that is that firms are migrating their recruiting efforts entirely online. You’re increasingly likely to find yourself in a digital-first application process, possibly all the way through onboarding and your first day. With many of us recovering from furloughs and layoffs, you may be diligently on the hunt for your next career chapter. That chapter starts with making an excellent digital first impression in your application materials, and then nailing a virtual interview.

    1. Test your technology
    There is nothing worse than logging on five minutes before a meeting and realizing you need to download some niche software. Don’t assume the interview is using something you have already or are familiar with.
    Depending on the extent and seniority of the interview, you may even consider asking your interviewer’s Executive Assistant if you can do a five-minute test run with them the day before. Also be sure to ask if the line will be in use prior to your meeting. As in person, you want to arrive around five minutes early, but don’t want to be showing up at the tail end of some other candidate’s closing remarks!

    2. Know your angles
    If Tyra taught us anything it’s to face the light and know your angles. If at all possible, set up with natural light facing you. You also want to be showing on camera clearly, and as straightforward as possible. This isn’t a selfie angle—don’t position the camera too high up. A box or stack of books will get you to the right height.

    3. Do a recorded run-through
    Platforms like Zoom allow you to record a meeting—even a meeting of one. It’s free to set up an account that uses shorter meetings. Set one up with your personal email—you don’t want your video interview test run to show up on your current company roster. Practice answering some general questions and allow yourself to get more comfortable with video responses.

    4. Make “eye contact”
    Ironically, eye contact on video is staring right in the eye of the camera. It can be really hard for that to feel natural at first. You tend to want to look at the human in front of you on screen. A good mix of back and forth focusing on the screen and camera is important. However, when you’re answering questions, try to stay focused on that little fish eye, even if it feels awkward. (Hint: Your video test run will be able to reveal how much is too much focus in any one direction.)

    5. Check your microphone quality
    Most computers today have great enough microphone quality that you can go with whatever is built in. However, if you’re using headphones, you’ll want to check how that changes your connection. And, if part of your role is going to include heavy voice communication work, you might want to go the extra mile to sound like your best self. External microphones are becoming more affordable and could be a useful addition.

    6. Pass on virtual backgrounds
    Even if you’ve got a roster of some relatively professional faux backgrounds, now is not the time. You are trying to highlight yourself and come across as authentically you. Fake backgrounds don’t convey that authenticity.
    Set yourself up a relatively distraction-free background in your home, with as few trinkets behind you as possible. While it may be tempting to convey your personality through what’s behind you, restrain yourself. Remember, if this were happening in person, you’d likely be in their spaces. You want the interviewer to be able to picture you in their world as easily as possible, and a relatively blank canvas helps them do that.

    7. Get current on the company
    Researching a company should always be part of your interview prep, and now it’s more important than ever. How did they respond during the early parts of the pandemic? How are they changing their business model or offerings? You’ll want to do thorough research across their own press, social channels, and other third-party reporting sites to come ready with the best questions and answers.

    8. Take notes offline
    There are few things more distracting than someone typing away during a video meeting. You may feel like you’re being ultra efficient, note taking digitally while you’re in conversation with your interviewer. It’s not a good look.
    An old fashioned pen and paper is much more professional in this setting. And since they can’t see your desk, feel free to also narrate when you need a moment to jot something down. “I’m just making a few notes here, one moment,” helps any awkward silences.

    9. Don’t talk over anyone
    In an in-person exchange, it’s a little easier to make small verbal cues to show that you’re in step with someone while they’re talking. Virtually, that’s much harder. On the best of bandwidths, the line tends to break up a bit when people talk over each other even in small moments. Instead, consider exaggerating your non-verbals—nodding, smiling, and making strong eye contact where appropriate.

    10. Be yourself
    Most importantly, be yourself. Any interview in person would start with a few moments of small talk, or a more casual introduction. Don’t feel like you need to arrive perfectly ready to launch into your pitch. A few minutes of human authenticity goes a long way in our socially-distanced world right now.

    What tips do you have for a successful virtual interview? More

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    Daytime Routine: How I Stay Productive, Happy, and Healthy During the Day

    I’ll be the first to admit that working-from-home is not my strong suit. I live in a 300 sq. ft. box, get distracted easily, and have way too much to say during the day to be alone (and it is way too easy for my coworkers to ignore my hilarious messages all day long). It has also been hard for me to stay healthy (my fridge is just so close) and active while I’m home all day. But we’re on month #5 with months to go, and I’ve somehow figured out how to manage doing something I hated.We often discuss nighttime and morning routines here, but now that I do basically the same thing every single day, it was high time I started a routine for during the day too. I wanted something that I could loosely follow every day to create some healthy, productive habits while also not absolutely hating my life all day long. Am I the most productive person ever? Absolutely not. There are days when I look at the clock at 2:30pm and realize I’ve ticked off nothing from my to-do list. But I’ve noticed these simple steps have helped me stay on track throughout the day with work and make my evenings a lot better too! Here are a few things I’ve implemented into my day that have made going through the motions of stay-at-home life a little easier. 

    Do chores
    As you can tell, I basically do anything I can to add little breaks in my day. Sitting at my desk and cranking out a ton of work for eight hours a day just isn’t feasible for me; I have to keep myself excited by working toward breaks and timing myself. One way I build that into my day is by doing chores. I’ll tell myself I’ll write for 45 minutes uninterrupted, and then I’ll wash the dishes. I am not normally one who looks forward to chores in any capacity, but knowing that I’ll be able to get up and listen to music and do something else for a little bit of time keeps me moving, regardless of the task I’m convincing myself is fun to do. 

    currently reading The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai!

    Take a full lunch break
    When I was working in an office, I almost never took my entire lunch break. I would work through lunch to keep my productivity up. But even on my busiest days now, I make a point to give myself that full hour-long break every single day. It’s not much, but it’s the oomph I need to keep going throughout the day. Some days I’ll go outside and read, and others I’ll go for a walk. Sometimes, I honestly just watch TV. But I make sure to close my computer and do something else.

    Make lunch
    Now that I’m at home, it’s rare that I fully meal prep a lunch to go straight into the microwave. I might cook all of my ground turkey or chicken breast on Sunday, but that’s about it. While prepping your entire meal might help a lot of people, I find that taking the time to prepare lunch is a good break in my day. Some of my favorite lunches to make include salad with some kind of protein (I always buy the salad mixes at the grocery store and add extra veggies and protein), sandwiches, bowls, and more. 

    These leggings are from Girlfriend Collective—they’re made from recycled water bottles, go up to a 5X, and have a secret pocket for my keys. I own in two colors, and I’m obsessed!

    Workout/Go for the walk
    I won’t lie and say I get a workout in every single day (LOL, most days is even a stretch), but simply walking anywhere is something I try to accomplish every day (at least when my day isn’t an intentional Saturday binge-watching Selling Sunset, of course). I’ll try to take my lunch break or a short coffee break to go for a walk around my neighborhood. Or if I know I need to go to the grocery store or pick something up for dinner, I’ll walk a little farther just to get some more steps in.
    When I first switched to full-time WFH, I was getting maybe 2,000 steps a day, and if you’re someone who tracks their steps, you’ll know that is basically nothing. I had a hard time feeling like I could be productive all day long and move my body. Adding a couple of different walks throughout the day made it a lot easier, and I’ve even noticed that I sleep better and feel less drained at the end of the workday. 
    If I’m working out, it’s almost always on my lunch break and includes either an Obé Fitness workout or something from YouTube! I’m obsessed with MadFit’s dance workouts (this One Direction one gave me life), and POPSUGAR Fitness is also great for HIIT and barre workouts. I am still getting back in the habit of working out (I am a big “paying for a gym and having to walk somewhere motivates me to workout” person; I have little to no motivation to workout at home), but it helps to have a few workouts on hand that I know I enjoy.

    Prioritize to-do lists
    I make a to-do list every morning (sometimes the night before!), but I get to a point in my day where I have to prioritize what gets done and when. I’ll message my supervisors or anyone who’s waiting on something from me to ask if they need anything ASAP or let them know that I might get to something later in the day. While this maybe helps them, it’s more about keeping myself productive throughout the day and holding myself accountable. At home, it’s easy to say I’ll work on a project at 3pm, and then find myself invested in pop culture drama once 3pm rolls around with no end in sight. By telling someone I’ll have something to them at a certain time, I know I have to get it done. 
    Once I’ve done this, I’ll go through my to-do list and schedule when I’ll do them and what needs to get done versus what I’ll work on next. My to-do lists tend to get pretty lofty, which is likely a nightmare for anyone with perfectionist tendencies, but it actually keeps me motivated so I can have more time at the end of my day to get more done. But I make sure to mark which need to get done first by using the ABC system. A tasks need to get done immediately, B tasks should get done today but can be pushed, and C tasks are extras in case I have time. I used this before working-from-home, but it’s especially helpful now that my to-do list now contains random life tasks that I can now do during the day (is this my silver lining to WFH? perhaps). More

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    The Morning Routine I Follow For the Busiest Work-From-Home Days

    Before the chaos of 2020 ensued, I would have laughed at the idea of a “morning routine.” Y’all, I was spending an hour putting my makeup on and doing my hair every day; I didn’t have time to do yoga and make some elaborate smoothie bowl and make my bed and journal and meditate in silence for 20 minutes and write affirmations. I could barely get out of the door in time for the Starbucks *I* ordered. But then, life imploded and I needed something to quite literally fill my time so I wouldn’t wake up with existential dread every single day! I know what you’re thinking: this girl needs a therapist, and yes, I just made an appointment on ZocDoc. 
    Because every day is different (despite the Groundhog Day memes floating around), I can’t have one blanket routine that works for everything. My days are different and revolve around various meetings, deadlines, and ~personal engagements~ (I am not as important as I’m making myself out to be right now). So throughout the last few months, I’ve been slowly perfecting a few different morning routines to get myself in the groove, and the most important one as of late has been my Productive Busy Day Get Sh*t Done routine (trademark coming soon). For the days I have a to-do list that’s an entire page long and it seems like there’s no end in sight, I prepare myself with this morning routine. It gets me up and at ‘em and ready to pull through a day of endless list-making with ease! 

    Wake up early
    OK, I’ll admit that this isn’t hard for me. My internal clock wakes me at about 6-6:15am—I have no idea why. But on the days I’m tempted to sleep in a little longer, I make sure I get up at least by 6:45. Knowing I have about two hours to do what I want before I really have to work makes me much more excited for the day than when I grab my computer from my desk at exactly 8:29am.

    Schedule my day
    One aspect of this morning routine is that I write my to-do list before bed. I am a #bulletjournaler, so I track my habits and mood in a notebook at night which is also when I write my to-do list. We use Asana to track tasks for the day, so I look at all my tasks and brain dump what I want to get done the next day, both for work and my personal life (things like “call the Internet company because they raised your rate $20 a month!” and “walk to the library” make the list). 
    Then, in the morning, I actually put all of that into a schedule. Some days, I do it right on my iCal. Other days, I’ll write it in my notebook. And sometimes, I’ll be honest, it simply lives in my head. But knowing that I want to write this article at 10am, schedule Facebook at noon, attend a meeting at 1pm, and take my lunch at 2 keeps me on a schedule. It also forces me to work even when I want to procrastinate. Because I know I need to take my lunch at 2, I have to get all those other things done before that time.

    Scroll on my phone
    I know you just audibly gasped. Does this girl have any concept of wellness? You know, not really. When I know my day will be full, I allow myself that scrolling time in the morning. If I get out my Twitter fingers first thing in the morning, I’m less tempted to pick up my phone at all the other lulls in my day. I’ve done my liking, sharing, retweeting, Story-ing, and following for the day, so I can wait until later to get ahead. Also, I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but social media motivates me sometimes. I see a cute picture that inspires me to read a new book, or I see a hilarious tweet that I absolutely want to reference in a story (here is my favorite from this morning).
    This is also the time I catch up on news and current events. I get NYT news alerts and always read those, but I also love getting my news from Instagram and Twitter. I follow a lot of news outlets and creators who share a lot of what’s going on in the world (the good and the bad), and I enjoy that kind of news coming from #OwnVoices (a term coined in book publishing that describes books authored by someone who identifies with the marginalized community expressed in the work) sometimes even more than 2,000-word long-form articles about a community (shoutout to the journalism degree I’ll be paying off for the next 15 years!). 
    If this will affect your mental health (which it absolutely does to me sometimes), then it’s probably not the best for you. Know yourself. 

    Eat a big breakfast
    On a day that I know I have a gazillion things to do, I make a big breakfast. I know what you’re thinking. “She makes a big breakfast because it gives her energy and electrolytes and brain power!!!” Not one bit. I wish that was why. In actuality, I make a big breakfast because it’ll keep me full until lunchtime so I’m not spending my entire morning thinking about when I can take a break and eat something. Instead, I eat at breakfast, and then I’m full, alert, and ready to work until I take my scheduled lunch break. 
    This breakfast looks different sometimes, but right now, I am absolutely addicted to these breakfast wrap/burrito/too-big-so-I-make-it-a-taco situation. Just a wrap, scrambled eggs, cheese, two strips of bacon (I buy the pre-made that you just heat up in the oven or skillet because LOL, I don’t actually know how to cook bacon at 23 years old), and veggies or salsa! I also go the easy route with savory oatmeal, eggs and hash browns, or basically any variation I can cook an egg in! 

    Listen to music
    Again, I’m showing that I’m weird, but on days that I’m busy, I rarely listen to music and prefer to either work in silence or ASMR videos (LOL, guys, give it a try—watching this woman gently sanitize her groceries will soothe your germ-anxiety). It just is calming and soothing for me, and when I listen to music, I want to sing or dance and feel like I can’t focus my thoughts. So, before I start my day is when I like to shuffle a Spotify playlist and get all of that out. Music is another thing that really motivates me, so I rarely listen to soothing, soft music and almost always listen to “Frat Rules” by A$AP Mob at least once a day! 

    Get ready
    If my hair and makeup aren’t at least somewhat done or I’m wearing gross clothes, I will mess around and stare at myself in disgust all. day. long. I’ll usually put my hair in some kind of bun or braids so it’s out of my face and I can’t fidget with it all day (because I’m basically a child!). Then, I’ll just apply the basic makeup (tinted moisturizer, mascara, brows, bronzer, and highlighter). I look good enough for any meetings that come up (they almost never do, but a girl can hope) or walks around the neighborhood, but most importantly, I feel better and won’t worry about my appearance all day. 
    As far as clothes, it’s pretty strategic. I’ll usually grab a dress (the one above is sold out, but all of our editors have been loving this one all summer!) because it’s one piece and no pants. I wish I could say it’s because I want to look nice, but that’s mostly it. I just hate pants. Otherwise, it’s leggings or shorts and a blouse or tank! Pretty basic, but most of all comfortable for me. 

    How do YOU get ready for a busy day?! Tell us your tips in the comments! More