Working From Home? I Got You, Boo.

I’ve been doing this whole writing thing for a minute, so I can safely say that working on your own time is a pain in the ass. Sure, it’s liberating and I have a different sense of fulfillment, but it is objectively difficult to keep myself in line! It’s easy to slack off when you only have to answer to yourself; no one is there to check over your shoulder, or shoot judgment your way for scrolling through Twitter for an hour.

Honestly? The whole thing can be a recipe for disaster.

However, after all this time, I’m finally getting the hang of it. So, today I want to share how I keep from freaking out while I work from home and maybe – just maybe – you won’t freak out either. Let’s get to it!

 

Get dressed

It’s oh-so-tempting to stay in those jammies, but trust me here: it’s a trap.

Image result for its a trap

First you stay in your pajamas, then you stay in bed, then you want five more minutes of sleep, THEN you start watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 until you’ve passed out in a puddle of slobber. The easiest way to avoid said trap is getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, and putting on clothes. It sets the mind in motion to get ish done.

Eat something and get some water

Next up is my favorite part. FOOD. You’re just coming out of a temporary coma and that body needs fuel. So, you can have the coffee- and I’ll support a doughnut – but you have to make sure to drink some water as well. Staying properly hydrated can curve headaches, body pains, and that feeling of lethargy that hits us all after a few minutes of performing personhood.

Turn off your phone 

I think this one is the most difficult, but it’s also the best way to make sure you stay on track. I totally get it if you have safety reasons to keep your phone on, but perhaps consider notifying folks that for a few hours per day you won’t be available? I like to put my phone on airplane mode for 2 hours at a time, then check it to make sure I haven’t worked through the apocalypse. It might not sound like much, but those 2 hour increments give me a goal to work toward in a positive way, instead of feeling like punishment. But, I also make sure that I do no more than 20-30 minutes with the phone before powering back down.

beck bennett snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

 

Be sure to stretch

This is a new one for me, but it’s already making a difference in how I’m able to work. I kept going to bed with aches that I couldn’t explain in joints I didn’t know existed, so my husband suggested trying different yoga stretches to alleviate the tension. After a few days of stepping away from my desk to do light stretching and steady breathing every few hours (usually after checking my phone), I noticed an immediate difference. I also dread the work day less now that my body is feeling better.

Doing anything is difficult when you’re in physical pain, so be good to those joints.

 

Make a playlist that you can (realistically) work to

I’d like to believe my empowering club bangers and dancehall beats can power me through the day, but I’ve discovered the music I love to cut loose to was actually just derailing me. I can’t work in total silence, but having a party at my desk was becoming so distracting that I was barely typing anything, because I was too busy dancing.

mary j blige dancing GIF

You don’t have to listen to chamber music, or moody wailing, but I suggest creating a distinction between party time and business time. Music is a great way to relax  – just make sure you’re not so relaxed that your work is a secondary thought.

Start and stop at the same time every day

Last but not least: time, baby, time. If you’re going all loosey-goosey with your time then chances are you’re going to put off starting to the last second. You know what that does? Keeps you at your desk too late, or you end up giving up, because you think the day is shot. Now, you don’t have to start at dawn, but I recommend thinking about your productivity schedule. What I mean by that is this: do you work best at 9 a.m? Are you more likely to hit your peak in the afternoon? Whatever works best for you, stick to it! Once you’ve decided your window of work time, don’t move it so that it becomes a routine.

 

hilarious kermit the frog GIF

And that’s it! These are just a few of the tips I’ve picked up along the way, however I think they’re totally the most useful. What about you? Do you work from home, and if so, how do you stay afloat?

Until next time, take care!

 

 

 

Lessons From Studio Ghibli: “Kiki’s Delivery Service”

When I was a little girl, old enough to have a say in what I wanted to rent from Blockbuster but young enough to be entranced by colorful VHS boxes, I fell in love with Studio Ghibli films. First, we watched Totoro, then came Nausicaa and Princess Mononoke . Each film transported my little brother and I to worlds just beyond the mist of our own. Through the journeys of each protagonist we discovered a bit about our own world and ourselves. In fact, the films created by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata are so insightful that I’ve often returned to them well into adulthood, trying to glean a bit more, or perhaps to revisit the clarity of my youth.

Today, I want to share a video about Kiki’s Delivery Service, a film I actually did not see until I was an adult. In the video, produced by ScreenPrism earlier this year, the plight of the titular heroine is assessed through the lens of the struggling Millenial creative – a description that rings true for me and many others. My brother shared the video with me when I was feeling discouraged about writing and debated giving it all up to do something more practical. Now, I wonder if there is anything more practical than following your heart.

You can watch the video below. What dreams will you be following?

My (Current) ‘Get Shit Done’ Playlist

“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” – George Eliot

As a recovering loud kid, I can’t stand silence. Empty spaces make me sweat, and I absolutely detest the quiet game.  My parents often reflect on the day I started talking in the same grim tones you would expect to hear from a retired detective. I was never quiet, and just when I was old enough to stop crying for recognition I started talking. Then, the music started. I was singing all over the place, my voice shamelessly bouncing off our walls and into the world. Music transported me to new planes of existence long before I had the words to describe my sense of fealty, and it more often than not helped me to calm down when my emotions spiraled. Music – singing it, listening to it, learning about it – has been a life-long form of love that I show to myself.

I’ve finally discovered enough self-control to not bellow every chance I get, however my no silence affliction is compounded exponentially when I’m supposed to be working (or eating). Working simply feels like work when you have to do it without sound. You would think music wouldn’t calm a wayward mind, but it somehow creates a level of focus I can’t harness without it. Just as the quote above states: music simply helps me float through the sludge.

This list is not referring to bops you can sway to absentmindedly at a red light. I’m talking about the songs that inspire the laser focus of a falcon. Whether it be due to genetics, or an intrinsic level of rage , these songs get me authentically and indomitably HYPED to create. I’m able to quell my restlessness, ignore my insecurities about writing and put myself out there at least once a day. The music I’m going to share isn’t necessarily a list of club-bangers; in reality, most of the tunes are relatively subdued. However, the singer in me is inspired to focus by the sounds, beats, and wordplay of each song listed below. I’m not sure which gene they tickle, but I’ve been looking to these songs for the last few months when I need to buckle down.

So, without further ado, the playlist designed to help me get shit done!

 

Dance GIF

 

“Help Me Lose My Mind” – Disclosure feat. London Grammar (SOHN Remix)

“Rusty Nails” – Moderat

“Insane”- Flume feat. Moon Holiday

“Level Up” -Ciara

“Passionfruit” – Paramore  performing a cover of the song by Drake

“You Are All I See” – Active Child

“Django Jane” – Janelle Monae

“On The Nature Of Daylight” – Max Richter