how to work from home and not lose your damn mind (coming from someone who's just doing her best)

Updated: 6 days ago

Millie here. And if anyone knows me, they know that I am a creature of serious habit. I'm in the office at Fellow every single morning between 8:00 and 8:30am unless I'm dead or dying (aka, sick). I'm not a "work at home" person. Like...ever. In fact, I vowed to myself years ago that I would solemnly swear to separate my life spaces—my brain just works better that way.

I'm that person that cleans the whole damn place before I write the email. The one folding laundry instead of working because it makes me feel good. Can I get an amen?

But alas, here we are. Quarantined and working from home like the rest of the world. Social distancing is the new hot word, and I'm not here for it. (I mean, I am, I'm just being dramatic.)

It's been a few weeks, and we're actually doing alright over here at Maker & Made. Why? Because I've personally set some strict guidelines for myself and my routine to get. shit. done. A business doesn't run itself—Brittany and I need to keep it going—all while communicating with our fresh employee (round of applause for Sarina). So here goes my short list for how to work from home while keeping your sanity :)

1. girl, wash your face & get ready for your day

Yes, I said it. Just like all of the other online articles say it. You have to get up and get ready. You don't have to put on real pants, but maybe try taking a shower and curling your hair and putting your makeup on.

Whatever you would normally do when you're going into the office? Yeah, do that, sans pants.

I've been personally living in leggings and sweatshirts—no judgement—but the act of getting out of bed and carrying on in the morning as if nothing was different has been a huge help to me. I guarantee it will help you, too.

2. reset your expectations

Woah, big one here. And I'll try to keep it as concise as possible because this will mean so many different things to everyone. For me, resetting expectations was getting over the fact that I needed to be ass-in-seat for 8 hours straight. Let's be real, nobody works 8 hours in the office. You're up all the time—making tea, talking to someone, grabbing the mail, walking outside on a call, etc.

So lower your expectations. If you can get a solid 2 hours straight of working on something, awesome, amazing! If you're more of a one-hour stretch kind of person (like me), that's great too. Which leads me to my next point...

3. take breaks!!!

Remember that list you read above? About making tea, talking to someone, grabbing mail? You can definitely work those little breaks into your daily routine at home. As I mentioned, also above, I like to set expectations for myself at one-hour stretches. For you, it might be longer. So for one hour straight I get to work on whatever is next on my list. The next time I glance up and an hour has gone by, I politely stop my timer (we time-track here at Maker & Made), and get up and walk downstairs. Sometimes it's just for a little walk downstairs, other times I'll get some water, or a snack (let's all be honest here, snacks are life when you're working from home)

The most important thing about these breaks is that you walk away from your workspace and take a mental break.

4. separate your workspace from your "other" space

I'm a compartmentalized psychopath that needs structure. So, for me, separating spaces is the most important thing. I'm very fortunate to have an office with a door. So when I'm done for the day, I push in my chair, shut off the light, and walk out of my office and I don't come back.

For everyone that normally works in an office and then goes home at 5:00, this separation of space is what we are used to. And recreating that at home is important. So for those of you working from your couch because that's the only space you have in your apartment—close your laptop, put it away (like really, in a backpack or something), and rearrange your pillows and fold your blankets and reset your space. It will create that margin in your mind between work and home.

5. stay connected with your team

This has been HUGE for us as a business. Staying connected with our team has looked like using a lot of different online applications, like zoom, slack, and asana (project management software). If you haven't heard of any of these, do some googling, because if you're trying to stay in touch with your team, these are the real deal.

We've pivoted our daily schedules in order to keep some semblance of working "together". For us, it looks like two daily meetings—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We talk about our to-do lists, what we've accomplished, and honestly just take a little extra time to check in with one another on a human level. This has been absolutely necessary for us and our business.

And one last reminder—give yourself grace. This work from home thing and quarantine thing is not something that is "normal", and the way that we react to it isn't going to be "normal" either. We're all just doing our best. Remember to check on your friends, support your favorite local businesses, and we'll all get through it together. <3

maker + made 


brittany stodgell

+ millicent schnebly

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