People Who Work From Home All The Time Swear By These Sanity-Saving Finds

What long-time WFHers have to say about your new at-home work routine.

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What may have started out as a vicious cycle of waking up a few minutes before your first morning meeting and staying in your pajamas all day with “The Office” on in the background might quickly have become an unsustainable work-from-home routine.

As remote work becomes more common in the era of social distancing, many are reevaluating what a good work-from-home routine looks like.

Setting up a proper workspace is a start, whether that’s finally investing in a desk for your small space or making working from your bed a bit more comfortable.

But what can we learn from folks who’ve worked from home long before now? From freelancers to small business owners, the people who’ve worked from home well before the COVID-19 era have a lot of wisdom to share when it comes to productivity at home.

So we decided to ask them — the work-from-homers — how they make the most of their home office setups.

The most common advice we received from people who work from home all the time was about creating — and sticking to — a routine. Particularly one that involves breaks, said Lauren Harbury, the founder of Feminist Goods Co., a womxn-positive clothing brand, which she runs from her North Carolina home. The brand donates 10% of its annual proceeds to Planned Parenthood.

“Working from home can turn into sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours a day. This isn’t good for anyone,” Harbury told HuffPost Finds. “I set calendar alerts for breaks at least every 2 to 3 hours. Get up and do some stretching. Pat your dog. Take a walk around your block (and be safe).”

In fact, there’s some science to Harbury’s tip. Experts agree that taking a break every now and then is one of the best things you can do for both your physical and mental health at work. Mostly, taking a short break roughly every 90 minutes or so is a good way to refresh and refocus on the task at hand. That’s good advice whether you’re working from the office or your dining table.

Establishing a pre- and post-work routine is another way Harbury separates work time from home time. That might mean like starting your day with breakfast by the window, and ending it with a screen-free outdoor walk.

In the end, working from home probably isn’t for everyone. But it’s a reality many people are adjusting to for the time being, and there are small ways you can make your work-from-home routine feel more productive.

Here are some of the best tips, tricks and finds that help work-from-homers stay on track throughout the days.

Here’s what they said:

1
Create a schedule and stick with it
Target
Ana Jara, insurance claims consultant, Texas: Jara has worked from home for three years and recommends keeping a regular schedule that includes waking up on time, taking a lunch break, and avoiding house chores while working.

We found this daily planner with hourly time slots so you can make the most of your day. Find it for $20 at Target.
2
Designate a separate work space and don't use it for anything else
Wayfair
Lauren Harbury, small business owner in North Carolina: Harbury, the founder of Feminist Goods Co., is a big believer in creating a designated work area that's as far away from your bed as possible, even if it's just in the opposite corner of your studio apartment.

"Do your work from this space and don’t make the space function as a dual area (for example your sofa and coffee table would also be functioning as a relaxation area). If you’re able to separate the areas, I find this really helps keep your mind on work during work."

We found this adjustable desk that can be used standing, sitting or from bed. Find it for $170 at Wayfair
3
Use a productivity technique
Food52
Kerry Plante, digital marketing executive, Ireland: Plante uses the Pomodoro Technique, which translates to 50 minutes of focusing and then 10 minutes of break time. Take those 10 minutes to make a cup of coffee, sweep or just go outside to look at the sky.

We found this cute timer that can be used to cook dinner but also to power through that presentation. Find it for $25 at Food52.
4
Don’t stay in your pajamas all day
Lou & Grey
Ana Jara, insurance claims consultant, Texas: Jara warns against staying in your pajamas all day and encourages getting dressed for the day.

We found this cozy lounge set that's comfortable enough for sitting at home but feels slightly more elevated than pajamas. Find it for $70 at Lou & Grey.
5
Diffuse some bright scents to help you focus
Target
Lauren Harbury, small business owner in North Carolina: Harbury likes to run a diffuser throughout the day and use scents like lemon and peppermint to boost focus.

We found this trendy terra-cotta inspired diffuser that looks great on your nightstand or desk. Find it for $22 at Target.
6
Make sure your practicing proper posture
Gaiam
Mark Lee, California: Lee has worked from home for over a decade and can't stress the importance of having an ergonomically sound work environment and not playing TV in the background.

We found this balance ball chair that improves posture and spinal support. Find it for $70 at Gaiam.
7
Wear "real" shoes
DSW
Chanel Studebaker, Washington: Studebaker has worked from home for 10 years and is convinced that wearing shoes makes a difference in productivity. "I think there’s something about tennis shoes that signal your brain that action is coming."

We found a pair of comfy, lightweight sneakers perfect for your "commute." Find them for $70 at DSW.