By Somita Basu
Many of us have now been forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping California. Working from home is a far cry from our normal remote working atmosphere. Due to school closures and many businesses asking employees to work from home, there are no more empty homes to work from in peace and quiet. There are kids, spouses, significant others, pets, and the indefatigable delivery services ringing the doorbell and dropping packages heavily at your doorstep.
To help you get through this period of working from home but not necessarily working alone, here are some tips to save your sanity and preserve your productivity.
1. Use your noise cancelling headphones
It’s time to take those headphones out of that vacation travel bag you likely won’t be using anytime soon. Noise cancelling headphones help to dampen the ambient noise of your co-habitants who might not be as quiet as you may like. These headphones will work even if you don’t play music. But a little Beethoven or Tupac can’t hurt.
2. Have a designated space for taking or making phone calls
While we can often work on emails, billing, or drafting petitions at the dinner table or other communal area, phone calls are a different matter. It is often imperative to have a quiet place to take calls from clients or opposing counsel. Designate a bedroom, study, or even the bathroom as a quiet place to take phone calls. I have been known to keep a notepad and pen stashed in my linen closet to take notes during calls taken in the guest bathroom. (Obviously follow all CDC recommendations if the bathroom is your designated phone call room. Hey, it’s another opportunity to wash your hands!)
3. Don’t work in pajamas all day
I know it seems like working in pajamas makes for the ideal work from home day. Under normal circumstances, you would have been right. But with multiple days of working from home looming ahead with no end in sight, the lack of structure in your wardrobe can lead to a loss of sense of structure in your day. So, while you may not be dressed in your lucky suit that you wear to court, you should wear clothes you would want to be seen in if you were out and about.
4. Schedule breaks
Despite all the interruptions from children, roommates, pets, delivery, and the allure to checking (for the fifth time) what snacks are in the fridge, it can be easy to become glued to your computer. There are no work-related interruptions from support staff or office mates. Be sure to schedule a break for yourself. Go for a walk. Watch your favorite show for an hour. Make sure you eat meals at semi-regular times.
Taking care of our businesses is our top priority. But if you follow these tips, hopefully you can take care of your practice and yourself. Be safe. Be healthy. Stay sane.