Working from home is a new world for a lot of us, it certainly is for me. The most familiarity I have with not working in the office is sermon-writing in a coffee shop. These days, I am my own coffee shop, office and everything in between.

When I was little, if we had family plans I was aware of, and those plans needed to be tweaked, if at all possible, my parents would tell me hours in advance so that I could get used to the new plan and familiarize myself with the change. It made for a less anxious transition to something new.

As an adult, I have coping mechanisms for big or unexpected changes, but it is still a growing edge of mine. I need time to digest what is happening. This is why I journal and blog.

In this new work from home setup, I knew that if I let go of too much structure, I would be anxious all the time. So I have adapted some ways of maintaining structure while working from home, which I would like to share.

1. Keep the morning routine intact: I try to get up at the same time every day. Early on this wasn’t as hard as it is now. When I get up, I make coffee and have breakfast then I get ready for the day. I shower, put on work clothes and do my makeup; and I wear my flip flops. Barefoot time at home is off time, so my flip flops while super comfy, signal that it is work time.

2. Keep to the work routine: I make my plan for the week on Monday morning and send it to my admin assistant and supervisor. I have kept this practice.

3. Be gentle with expectations: I set my days with several goals and things I need to do. I take my lunch away from my “office,” and make it a true break. I take a couple of shorter breaks in the afternoon for tea on the balcony. I’ve learned to listen to my body and my spirit. If I need to take a longer afternoon break some days, I do.

4. Find a time management strategy that works: On a podcast I listen to, The Nuanced Life, one of the hosts shared her strategy of working in time blocks. You say “I want to devote this much time to a task before I take a break,” and you go about your day that way. It is similar to the Pomodoro method a coworker told us about in staff meeting last week. Find what works for you.

5. Self care, self care, self care: The emotional weight of living through a pandemic can rival the weight of work responsibilities. I try to pay attention to how that affects my mood and how I relate to others. My self care includes: baking fresh goodies from my Herman sweet sourdough starter, painting and/or coiled magazine art, and most recently, gardening. If you are not used to taking time for yourself, think of one thing you can do this weekend for YOU; something that will nourish your soul. Sometimes if I’m overwhelmed or unmotivated, I make a list of 3 things I’m thankful for, then I list 3 more things, and so on until it’s time to stop. You’ll know when it’s time to stop.

This is a weird time we are in. Take care of yourselves and practice safety precautions like wearing a mask in public places and wiping down surfaces regularly.

Be well, and thanks for reading!

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