First, welcome to my world. At least twice a week, I’m engulfed in the solitude of my apartment staring at my work laptop with Spongebob playing in the background. And I enjoy it. (Obviously, under less mandatory circumstances). I do recognize that doing this every day can feel extremely isolating and/or boring. I have some things I do to normalize my weekly work from home routine.

1. Do That Thing You’ve Been Putting Off

Remember that wash day you’ve been avoiding? Now is your time to shine. On a regular day that wash day means “I can’t come out and play today” so let’s go ahead and take care of that now while outside play is cancelled. And, magical Black girl hair does not cease in its need to be moisturized and maintained just because the Rona is out here terrorizing us. While you’re on those conference calls that feel like a drag or while watching training webinars, you can absolutely be doing a hot oil treatment or conditioning those thirsty tresses to life.

I highly suggest adding heat to your conditioning or hot oil process. My dryer has been rocking since undergrad and hasn’t let me down.

2. Take Regular Breaks

You don’t have to work for 12 hours without moving from one spot just because you’re working from home. Some of us might feel pressure to over-perform to prove that we’re being productive. You’re doing just fine with the same energy you physically show up to the office with. Work from home does not mean you tack on additional labor that you aren’t being additionally compensated for. Remember, when you work from home it is still WORK. Take a lunch break as you normally would (or should), walk away from your computer for 15 minutes, take breaks from email. You are not a robot and that won’t change because of your environment.

3. Wear your PJs to the Zoom Meeting

If you’re being required by threat of discipline to look professional on Zoom meetings 1. Your employer is boring and annoying, 2. skip over this one because I’m a bad influence. But also, if you have to look professional, just do it from mid-chest up. You can have an inside joke with yourself during the meeting about your fuzzy slippers and lack of pants.

Otherwise, if you can be like me, lighten the mood with colorful PJs, a funny shirt or hat, be comfortable. I’ve been on Zoom meetings with board members and a du-rag on. So…

Bonus: Use the virtual background features on Zoom

4. Set Your Own Hours

If the team meets every week at 8 am, don’t go telling them people it’s outside your work from home hours because Patrice told you so. What I’m suggesting is that outside of virtual meetings with other people, pick a time that works for you to do your personal work items. For me, that can mean I start the bulk of my planning work at 8 pm after I’ve napped from 2-6:30 pm and ate dinner. This way, my work gets me in my most productive state. For you, this may mean start working at 7:30 am after a morning jog so you can sign off around 3 pm. Make it work for you.

5. Make A Playlist

That music you know would turn heads if you played it out loud in the office? Time to pull that out. Get that motivation going, put your ratchet on 1000, or get crunk to Clementi… or do all three. 10 songs currently on my COVID-19 work from home playlist:

  1. Cranes in the Sky, Solange – Another day in my black ass life dealing with the consequences of this American life. This is what this song makes me think about.
  2. Welcome to the Party, Pop Smoke – Can’t get through the workday without some trap house vibes
  3. Strong God, Kirk Franklin – “May Day the Earth is shaking” sounds about right. But also during this time, I’m holding to my faith and my belief in a Strong God to get me through. Kirk’s albums continue to slap.
  4. Pretty Girl, Steflon Don – plenty of feel-good vibes with this one
  5. Dumpling , Stylo G feat. Sean Paul & Spice – since I can’t wait to be a “bad gyal step out and stuntin” when this is all over
  6. Ready, PJ Morton – Because I just ADORE PJ. His music makes me feel good about feeling good. Bonus content: check out the version of his track “How Deep is Your Love” with Yebba. Sis sings.
  7. Pay Ya Bills, Pardison Fontaine ft. Jeremih – Do I even have to explain this one?
  8. Toast, Koffee – for those of us who feel blessed for one reason or another, despite the current state of affairs.
  9. Truth Hurts, Lizzo – because reminders that the patriarchy takes no breaks, even for Rona, are necessary. “Why men great till they gotta be great” is hitting different for the pandemic.
  10. Romantic Mood, Spice – for all the loving many of us are missing at this time. Remembering the good ole days.

Share with me: What do you use to make it through working from home? How are you adjusting to it now?