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14 Pointers To Make Your Work-From-Home Life More Enjoyable

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Career & Money

14 Pointers To Make Your Work-From-Home Life More Enjoyable

If you toil from domicile, then you can likely nod your head in unity to the not-so-secret truth I’m about to uncover: Being a mom working from home isn’t always as splendid as it sounds. Preferably (at least, in my interpretation of “preferably”), toiling from home includes daintily typing away in a flawlessly decorated home office while sipping an $8 cappuccino and snuggling a cherished pet that’s napping contentedly in your lap. But realistically (again, in my version of reality), working from home typically implies hunching over a kitchen island for eight consecutive hours, frantically typing like your life depends on it, mindlessly shoving handfuls of Cheez-Its into your face, and chasing them down with a steady stream of lukewarm coffee.

Naturally, working from home is a privilege. This I cannot deny. There is undoubtedly a certain brand of convenience that comes with being able to roll directly out of bed and onto your laptop (I mean that figuratively—mostly). As a mom of two toddlers, I also appreciate the ability to conceal behind Zoom’s “camera off” feature on the days I am both running and feeling ragged. And not having to commute to the office saves me a solid 60 minutes a day compared to when I worked for my previous in-office employer.

On my journey to create a more colorful, fulfilling experience for myself, I’ve been leaning into romanticism to enhance the quality of my workdays. For those unfamiliar with the social media-driven trend, the act of romanticizing one’s life is all about cultivating peace and joy in your daily routines. It’s opting to view your life and day-to-day through rose-colored glasses, very deliberately transforming the mundane into something much more fantastical and, well, romantic.

Romanticizing my WFH life has improved both my mental and physical well-being and has—quite simply—made my work week more enjoyable. If you want to depart from the dreary snack-food-binge-eating-computer-robot routine described above, here are some pointers to romanticize your work-from-home life:

14 Ways to Romanticize Your Work-From-Home Life

1. Take brief strolls throughout the day

When I commenced toiling from home during the pandemic, I promptly realized I could never go back to toiling in a traditional office. Why? Because I recognized I need—and I emphasize, need—time outdoors to feel balanced and fulfilled. I’m a staunch believer that humans spend entirely too much time indoors and that nothing can chase away an afternoon work slump quite like a brief walk outdoors. It’s astonishing how much a 10-minute walk can not only hike up your step count but also your mood. Leave your cell phone indoors and relish taking in the sights (whether it be nature or a cityscape) as you decompress from your screen and enjoy the special little privilege of being able to step outside beyond the confines of an office-designated lunch break.

2. Toil outside

Weather permitting, I’m a huge advocate for toiling outside as much as humanly possible to romanticize your work-from-home life. Again, this is just my humble opinion, but I think everyone would be happier if we all spent more time outside. While perhaps not always totally convenient (missing your second screen and being without a charger and all that), toiling outdoors is almost always worth the effort. Fresh air does a person tremendous good, and I always feel I’m making the most of my WFH situation when I spend an hour or two toiling from my patio during the summer and fall. My favorite work days include bird calls, sunshine, and the scent of fresh air—there’s nothing more romantic than that.

3. Construct a home coffee bar

As a busy, work-from-home mom, you presumably don’t have the time, energy, or funds to visit a local cafe every day for your morning caffeine fix—as wonderful as that might sound. Last year, I turned my dining room hutch into a mini coffee bar, and the small change has brought me so much joy. Now that I have a home espresso maker, I love being able to shake up my morning coffee routine with different beverages, crafting myself cappuccinos and lattes as the mood strikes.

And you don’t have to be a professional barista or home decorator to execute a home coffee bar. Simply designating a small spot in your home aimed at fueling your coffee addiction can add a fun element to your WFH space. It can make that ritual of pouring that first cup in the morning (and refilling between meetings) just a little bit more elevated and enjoyable.

4. Include blossoms to your space

Blossoms and romance go hand-in-hand. Because they aren’t exactly a “necessity,” treating yourself to a bouquet to adorn your desk can really do a lot to boost your mood. During the summer months, I even relish going for brief walks throughout the day and collecting wildflowers for my office bouquets. They’re far from the most elegant arrangements you’ve ever laid your eyes on, but truly, they don’t have to be. Natural elements breathe life…

6. Alter your home and work from diverse sites

Based on my own experience, I am aware that working from home can sometimes make you feel like a solitary recluse. Or a prisoner on house arrest. In either case—excessive time spent in one’s own home is not beneficial for one’s mental well-being or meaningful networking. Several times this past year, I made a deliberate effort to pick up my laptop, charge my AirPods, and work from a nearby coffee shop for a few hours. And each time (every single time), the experience was freeing.

If you are feeling trapped in a routine (working from home and motherhood both tend to induce that tedious feeling), I strongly suggest altering your location. Whether it’s temporarily relocating to a cafe or library, I am always reminding myself that working remotely does not have to mean working from my house.

7. Devote attention to your WFH space

If you are similar to me, you do not enjoy spending any more time in your work-from-home space than necessary. My son frequently asks to play at my desk, and I’m (just as frequently) telling him that mommy does not enjoy being at her desk outside of working hours. Because I do not like spending “extra” time in my office, and because I’m intensely busy during the workweek, my home office certainly does not receive the same cleaning focus as other areas in my home.

This year, I am committing to cleaning my home office more consistently and truly taking the time to optimize my desk organization. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind for “romanticizing,” allocating time to do a thorough clean of your home office or WFH space can substantially enhance your working conditions and make spending time in the space approximately 100 percent more enjoyable. Clean your keyboard. Furniture polish your desk. Go through any and all desk accessories and paper files and purge what you no longer need or use.

8. Indulge in a hot breakfast

Undoubtedly, one of my all-time favorite aspects of working from home is being able to prepare myself hot meals. While lunch is usually consumed at hyper speed between meetings (something I’m striving to correct this year), I love being able to take five minutes between daycare drop off and the start of my work day to cook up a quick egg, toast a piece of bread, and brew myself a fresh pot of coffee. There is something so satisfying about enjoying a nutritious, freshly cooked meal made in my own kitchen compared to the packets of sugar-laden oatmeal I used to microwave in office break rooms.

9. Acquire high-quality slippers

This Christmas, my husband gifted me a pair of UGG Tasman slippers. Considering he searched the web for said slippers and endured several “on backorder” lists, he certainly deserves praise for this accomplishment. While I’m not suggesting you need to spend $100+ on a pair of slippers to romanticize working from home, I do recommend acquiring a quality pair that will withstand beyond a week of wear.

When my husband, generally bewildered by the masses’ beloved Tasman, asked if they were a shoe or a slipper, I explained that they could be either, but that I was designating mine as my WFH shoe. “That’s an expensive slipper,” he observed. To which I replied, “I wear my slippers more than I do my shoes.” Game, set, match. My point: Obtain a pair of slippers that are durable and comfortable. And if they stylishly complete your outfits, well, that’s a bonus.

10. Keep touch-up makeup and moisturizers on hand

There is a simple, specific joy that comes with simple beauty routines, such as applying hand cream or swiping on a classic red lip. While both serve distinctly different purposes, they are both luxurious and feel ultra feminine (i.e., romantic). I keep a handful of beauty and self-care products at my desk and promptly reach for them every time I need a little pick-me-up.

11. Listen to an audiobook or music

The beauty of working from home? You don’t have to wear airpods! I love being able to listen to my latest audiobook while sifting through my emails in the morning or while making myself lunch. It’s relaxing and indulgent. The same can be said of music, of course. Listen to your favorite playlist when you’re in need of an energy boost or while enjoying that daily walk.

12. Dress up

And no, I don’t mean in sweatpants. I am a huge (and no, “huge” is not an over-exaggeration) proponent of dressing up for work, even while working from home. I genuinely believe that putting a little effort into your outfit can boost your mood, give you energy, and also communicate to your remote colleagues that you mean business. While it may not be the news we all want to hear, the truth is that a collared shirt sends a very different message than a hoodie. I personally find dressing a little bit nicer as a form of self-care. Perhaps doing a closet clean-out can help you get reacquainted with the clothing you actually foresee wearing. In terms of romanticizing your WFH outfits, lean into hair accessories, chic and cozy knits, and button-down shirts.

13. Complete quick errands if possible

Somewhere along the line in my WFH journey, I discovered that a remote job will take as much time and energy as you allow it to. I could very easily find myself sitting at my desk foreight-plus hours consecutively with no rest, hydration, or nourishment every single day. In other words, there is always, always, always work to be accomplished. However, this is not a sustainable way to work.

My employment is quite adaptable, so I have commenced seizing this adaptability and compelling myself to pause by engaging in at least one brief errand daily. This typically entails a five-minute trip to the post office or a stroll down the street to retrieve a gallon of milk for the two previously mentioned youngsters who consume it as if it were their responsibility (which, in a manner of speaking, it is). While these brief errands may not appear to be an overt way to idealize your work-from-home existence, they assist me in stepping away from my desk (which also enhances productivity). These short errands also enable me to accomplish a few minor tasks while the children are at daycare.

14. Obtain a desk that you cherish

Even if you fully commit to working from alternative and diverse locations, the truth remains that you will still devote significant time to working from your designated WFH area. As an individual who has been working from home for numerous years, I highly, highly recommend acquiring a desk setup that brings you joy.

Primarily, the ergonomics of working from a well-adjusted desk and chair is significantly better than slouching over your kitchen counter (speaking from experience, as I believe we’ve firmly established at this point). Additionally, a desk serves as the core of your WFH space. Having one that is visually pleasing will enhance your enthusiasm to engage in work daily. I’ve discovered that when you invest in work tools and pieces that bring you joy, you are setting yourself up for success. If you provide yourself with a desk that is designed for a leader, then you, subsequently, will start to regard yourself as nothing less than a leader.

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