For the first few months of shelter-in-place, I felt awful—not because I was sick, but because sitting inside for the entire workday, and then some, was wearing on me. With work and school bleeding into my personal life, nothing felt sacred anymore; it was all just sameness.
But then I started mimicking the walk I’d take to get on campus at the beginning of the day and to get home at the end of the day. It was a solid 40-minute round-trip walk that, until Covid, was one of the best moments of my day. Reproducing that—even though I’d start and end at my apartment—helped me mentally shift into my working state-of-mind at the start of the day and shift back out of it at the end of the day. And it helped: I feel much less guilty about doing something fun at the end of the day now and much more prepared to tackle my work at the start of it.
Beyond that, a few other things have helped me work from home. I work on a MacBook, and if you have one of those, there’s a trick you can do to set up different desktops that you can then toggle between. After a friend told me about this, I set up one for work and one for my personal stuff—it makes it so much easier to stay focused on the task at hand if you don’t have Netflix open in the next tab over!
Finally, I’m always on the hunt for things that streamline my workflow and keep me organized, and I’m currently obsessed with Notion, a free application that allows you to centralize all of your calendars, to-do lists, notes, databases, and whatever else you might want to keep track of. It lets you search everything at once, so it completely eliminates the “Oh no, where did I store that file?” conundrum that is eternally frustrating to find yourself in.