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Considering twenty years ago I founded Blast PR in the guest room of a bungalow in Raleigh, NC, it comes as no surprise that our team has been given the perk of working from home as a general rule.

Now, we all find ourselves working from home in the midst of a global pandemic, many of us taking on new roles (teacher, chef, housekeeper, laundress, etc.). Working from home used to be quiet; the partner/roommate was at work, the kids at daycare/school, but no longer …

We had to change our schedules all while finding the life-work balance we preach so loudly here at Blast PR. I’ve been trying to set an example in the midst of anxiety and stress. Finding out that the normal self-care tools weren’t enough to combat this big bug.

Here is what I did that helped: (Then read on to learn from our Blasters, how each of us adapted. How we continue to find hope.)   

I have the luxury of living on a beautiful animal rescue ranch in Santa Ynez, CA. I am grateful, and I’ve worked long hours out of many homes over the past two decades to be here. Most folks aren’t as fortunate — we are blessed. The scenery and animals are natural mood boosters. I wake-up around 4 am, preferring to be alone and silent for a few hours before the rest of the ranch wakes up. I feed the horses, accompanied by two rescue kitties. After returning to the house, I feed the cats, then do some quiet yoga and sun salutations—setting my intention for the day. Be grateful, be loving, be kind. Most of all and as my Dad taught me: Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

Then, I start a very long day. Cooking, dishes, cleaning, schooling, housekeeping — all on top of Mother, Wife, Business Owner, Ranch Runner, Mother Mucker. Whew, it’s a handful. But, we found the silver lining. We are taking advantage of our quarantine days. It’s not always easy but it’s life. Overall, it’s a blessing to be together at home as a family, knowing that everyone else around the world is doing the same, in this together!  

Kat quarantined with Tiny Dancer, the mini pony

It’s definitely to our benefit that we’ve embraced the remote lifestyle for so many years. Most of our team members have plenty of experience working from home, and in this 3-part blog series, we’ll share their expert tips on how to #WFH like a pro! – Kat Butler

Part I: Blasters’ tips to stay productive

Be prepared before you start the day

Your best days actually start the night before! Take a look at the next day’s calendar each night before bed to coordinate schedules and determine a plan for managing calls and projects. This is especially important if you have little ones at home – you’ll need to figure out when to schedule naps for the times you absolutely need quiet, and when you’ll be able to find time to feed your kids and yourself.

If you’re used to getting up a couple of hours before work to get ready, drop the kids off at daycare and commute to your office, the change of pace working from home brings may be a welcome one. But instead of getting too comfortable with all the extra time on your hands, try to maintain your normal schedule. Wake up early, change out of your pajamas, make breakfast and take care of any errands before your workday starts. This will promote a productive mood before you even sit down at your computer. 

For most of us, coffee is a must. In the spirit of being prepared, brew your coffee before you clock in so you have it on hand while scrolling through that pile of emails. Grab your charger, plug in your laptop and get ready to go for the day.

“Wake up, take a shower, get dressed and start the day. It helps me to stay motivated!” — Rachel Rock, Senior PR Specialist  

Create your own office space

It’s tempting to think about working from bed all day or just finding a comfy spot on the couch for eight hours. I can guarantee that this practice will not result in a productive day. It’s really important to delineate a specific work area so you aren’t working from the space where you spend your off-work hours. In the same vein as getting dressed and ready for work, you should have a space that’s strictly designated for work – even if it’s just a desk in the corner of the kitchen. 

If possible, personalize and make it space that is exclusively yours so you feel good about “going to work.” Leave the sofa for chilling and your bed for sleeping! Separating “office space” from “living space” is key so you can close up shop at the end of the day, and relax in a space that’s uniquely suited for the task. 

“Make the space your own. Decorate with pictures and personal items that will bring you joy when you catch a glance throughout the day.” — Stacee Collins, PR Coordinator

Maintain a to-do list

Most of us work from a small laptop screen with 20 different tabs open, so it can be hard to keep track of everything you need to accomplish during the day. Try creating a physical to-do list so you can stay focused and check off completed tasks. Carve out your day to provide a sense of productivity as you slash through all of your action items. Making a to-do list keeps you on track so you can avoid the endless distractions that working from home can surely present.

Similarly, consider keeping a personal to-do list at your desk; every time you think about something you need to do around the house, write it down instead of getting up immediately to do it. This can help you to be less distracted by the pile of laundry, a stack of dishes and unwatered plants a few feet away. If you need a quick break — you’ve got that list of quick personal tasks you can tackle.

Stay tuned for Part II later this week!