What the Entrepreneur Staff Is Doing to Stay Sane and Productive While Working From Home
And how you can do it, too.
As the Entrepreneur staff ends our fourth week of working from home full-time, we’ve all settled into a routine. Depending on where we’re social distancing — and whom we’re social distancing with — our days look different. But we’re all trying to be as productive as possible and maintain a sense of normalcy when the world is turned upside down.
Here are some of the steps we’re taking to stay sane right now — and how you can do the same.
Establish some house rules
Some of us are quarantining with our spouses and children, others in tiny New York City apartments. But no matter where we are, establishing ground rules with the people we’re with has been key to maintaining sanity. Editor in chief Jason Feifer and his wife are trading off shifts watching the kids so they can both get focused work done, and Entrepreneur.com editorial director Dan Bova is learning to speak less loudly on Google Hangouts and Zoom calls so as not to drive his wife and sons insane. Digital features director Frances Dodds is working from a 500-square-foot one-bedroom apartment she shares with her boyfriend, so they’ve designated the bedroom the “phone booth” for taking calls. “I’ve found it’s harder to fall asleep on the bed when you’re actively speaking to someone,” she says.
Set up your own ideal work environment
Although some of us love the background noise of watching a television show or listening to a podcast while we work, others need as distraction-free of an environment as possible. Possibly thanks to the aforementioned young kids, Feifer swears by white noise: “I wear my wireless earbuds (big shoutout to Jabra) and blast white noise from an app, so that I’m blocking everything out around me. Now more than ever, every minute of my workday counts — I have a very limited amount of them, given the kids.”
Take the time to figure out what setup will work best for you: Do you have a desk? A dining room table you can set up with one? What about a counter you could use as a standing desk when you get tired of sitting? Having a designated office space will help you more clearly differentiate between work time and personal time.
When you’re living and working in the same space, it can be easy to blur the lines between personal and professional time. One of the benefits of a work from a home schedule is the flexibility to take breaks to make a nice lunch or put in a load of laundry. Here’s how associate editor Matthew McCreary puts it: “Judging my work by what I accomplished, rather than how much time I sat in front of a desk, helps me remain productive and gives me some space to breathe: So long as I complete my daily goals, it’s OK to take a long lunch, run around with the dog in the backyard or take a break from checking email.”
When you’re homebound, staying active suddenly becomes much harder. The good news is that there are many free online fitness resources out there right now. Frances Dodds swears by the FitOn App, I love the Peloton app and Instagram live workouts from my favorite fitness instructors, and social media manager Andrea Hardalo loves the Blogilates 14-Day Quarantine Workout Plan from Cassey Ho: “She created a plan where each day you have to check it off, so I’ve been posting on my personal Instagram every day. It has helped keep me accountable and active.”
Catch up on reading, movies and TV shows
Most of us are turning to books, movies and TV shows for entertainment even more than we did in the past. For me, that means finally attempting to start The Wire and instead getting sucked into a six-hour House Hunters marathon. For digital content director Kenny Herzog, that means “watching movies and TV that depict worlds even worse than this one is right now.” And for Dan Bova, it means listening to free audiobooks on the Libby app while he takes his nightly walk. He’s also one-upping the rest of us by actually trying to learn something — using inexpensive classes on Udemy and edX, he’s learning about Ancient Egypt and the history of comic books in his free time.
Everyone’s quarantine situation is different, but we hope you can use these tips to make your at-home setup a little more productive.