Diana Kelly Levey

How to Work from Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Advice from a Freelancer

work from home

March 13, 2020

If you find yourself working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, work-from-home freelancers like myself have some tips on how to be productive and get stuff done. Here’s a roundup of some relevant content and advice you might need based on my seven years’ experience working from home full-time. (Check out my list of freelance websites with writing jobs.)

First piece of advice? Turn off the news on the TV and stop reading the headlines! Set a timer on your phone or computer for allotted times you’ll allow yourself to get the latest COVID-19 news. Then, give yourself 15 to 20 minutes to catch up on what’s going on for a specific time period. Other than that, take a deep breath, buckle down, and try these tips on how to be productive while working from home.

(Note that I understand the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on victims and their familiesas well as wages lost by employees and businesses losing money. This is meant to be a lighthearted resource if you’re new to telecommuting and working from home. For balanced news headlines on novel coronavirus, I recommend AllSides.org. For the latest COVID-19 health updates, visit the CDC.)

A Freelancer’s Tips On Working from Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Establish a morning routine that sticks.

Here are a bunch of morning productivity tips from freelancers and work-from-home professionals. Best work-from-home tip? Avoid checking emails if you can and tackle your toughest task first. Learn how to work from home with kids around during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stop procrastinating.

Writers are famous for being procrastinators—there’s an art to it many of us have perfected—so here’s my number-one tip for procrastinating writers that can apply to other work-from-home employees. Here’s also advice on how to write faster and get tough tasks done in 20 minutes or less.

I don’t have much advice for how to work from home with small children around (headphones?) but here’s how one freelancer makes it work with a family. If you have advice on working at home with children, feel free to leave tips in the comments for my readers.

Be cognizant of your munching.

Chances are you’re going to be tempted to snack and nosh all day long—especially if you’re a stress eater and coronavirus news is making you feel anxious. My work-from-home tips to avoid overeating? Work away from the kitchen if you can, go for a walk when you’re tempted to snack, or make a cup of tea to see if a craving passes.

Try some home workouts.

If you need to blow off steam with a partner, try these at-home partner workouts, turn on 30-minute YouTube workouts, and get fit with no-equipment home workouts. Even five minutes of stretching can make you feel better.

Take a deep breath and chill.

While you won’t reap all of the health benefits of a meditation practice right away, starting a mindful meditation practice can help with some of the anxiety you might be feeling. Now might be a good time to try online therapy and enlist mental health help from a trained professional.

Set aside time for safe socialization.

Freelancers are used to social isolation and spending a lot of time alone—it’s one of the 10 challenges of being a freelancer—so social distancing might not get to us as much as the average worker. But if you find yourself missing social interaction and watercooler talk, consider FaceTiming or Skyping with a friend, family member or coworker. Engage in online forums and message boards and text with your friends and family. (Challenge yourself to not talk about COVID-19). Walk through your neighborhood—if you aren’t quarantined—and say hello to a neighbor or two.

Forget the news and take a snooze.

Remember the restorative power of a good nap and take advantage of this work-from-home perk if you can! Here’s why napping is good for you.

Some people might find the silver lining during this hard time that they’re able to save money by working from home—like on commuting costs and lunches or coffees out—while others might find themselves online shopping and spending more. I also understand that if you’re an hourly worker, you might be losing money due to the coronavirus pandemic and that you’re experiencing financial stress during this already trying time. I hope more companies recognize this and pay their hourly employees if they are forced to telecommute.

I hope you and your family stay healthy and safe.

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