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Work-From-Home Survival Guide

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Time to tie up the kids?

We’ve all seen the memes and clips online of people trying to navigate their work-from-home challenges. There’s the viral video of Professor Robert Kelly doing a live interview with the BBC as his babies waddle in, followed by his panicked wife skidding down the hall in her socks to retrieve the little intruders as the entire world watches.

There’s the meme of the mother focusing on her monitors, hard at work, while her three sons are lined up quietly — tied and gagged — on the floor. And, of course, there’s dancing Kermit pirouetting to Fleetwood Mac after drinking all the quarantine wine.

The reality is, thousands of people across the country are being told to work from home. But before you go wasting all your time on YouTube and Facebook, we’ve got a work-from-home survival guide from filmmaker Summer DeRoche, who’s been working from home for years with her husband, bestselling author Christian White.

Christian White and Summer DeRoche have mastered the art of working from home and enjoying the balance.

1 Get out of your PJs

“Seriously. I made the mistake early in my career. Keep a normal routine. Get up, have breakfast, have a shower, get dressed. Don’t roll out of bed at 8.59 or you’ll end up sitting at your desk blurry-eyed for the first hour and getting up for toast… coffee… toilet. Be up and ready to work at your start time, feeling sharp and professional.”

I discovered that when I worked in PJs, not only did I often forget to shower, I also felt less productive overall.

2 Dedicated space

“Set up a dedicated space to do your work, away from where you relax. Do your best to make it ergonomically friendly, even if it’s a stack of Harry Potter novels to use as a monitor stand. I think investing in a decent desk and comfortable chair is well worth it (and also a tax deduction).”

3 Dedicated time

“Separate housework from work work. Just because you’ve done all your laundry, scoured your shower and prepped dinners for the week doesn’t mean you’ve had a productive workday.”

4 Take a break

“Eat lunch away from your workspace, preferably outside to make sure you get your Vitamin D intake. Or take a stroll around the block to stretch your legs or walk the dog. If you don’t have a dog, now could be a good time to adopt or foster one to help combat potential loneliness. Our dog is like the office mascot!”

5 Get an interruption rock

“Get yourself an interruption rock (or something similar) so that your husband, wife, partner, kids, whoever don’t interrupt your workflow. It’s kind of like our version of a talking stick, except you put it out to quietly notify the other person that you want to say something.”

When I want to interrupt Christian, I place the rock on his desk until he finishes his train of thought and is ready to hear me. When he looks up from the keyboard and acknowledges me, I can talk (or vice versa), that way we’re not constantly interrupting each other all day long. It might be writer-specific thing, but I can get a bit like Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ if my concentration is interrupted!

6 Turn off the TV

“Unless it’s a part of your job, definitely turn off the TV. You’re not going to get a hell of a lot done with The Walking Dead playing in the background while you’re trying to answer emails. The same goes for social media. Wait until you clock off before you start scrolling through cat videos and memes.”

7 Pack snacks

“One of the worst thing about working from home is the constant lure of the fridge. Every time you start to indulge your procrastination, it seems like a good idea to go find yourself a snack! A good rule of thumb is to prepare your lunch and snacks ahead of time, so the fridge doesn’t become an ongoing distraction. We often prep a heap of meals at the end of the week that are ready to go in the fridge or freezer for lunches or dinners.”

8 Find your own rhythm

“Some people like strict dot-pointed daily schedules, others don’t. Remember, as long as you’re meeting deadlines, you’re doing a good job.”

9 Turn off

“It goes without saying, yet is often the biggest mistake. Keep a set schedule and turn off the computer at the end of the day. If you have a home office, shut the door.”

Keep your work life and home life separate or you’ll work yourself into the ground.

10 Lean into it!

“Utilise the time you’d usually be commuting to work to read a book, catch up on a TV show, make a nice breakfast, tend to your veggie garden — or even realise some of those Pinterest boards.”

Work from home

Summer DeRoche is an award-winning short filmmaker, known for The Globe Collector, Coming Home and My Restaurant in India. Christian White is the bestselling author of The Nowhere Child and The Wife and the Widow, the upcoming horror movie Relic and Netflix series Clickbait. They live in the Victorian beach town of Balnarring with their adopted greyhound Issy.

The interruption rock

What about you?

We’d love to see how you’re surviving with your work-from-home setup! Post a pic on Instagram and hashtags us #earlysettlerfurniture.

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