A Guide to Working from Home

Create associations

Our brains make associations with routines, objects, and physical space. This is why it is not recommended to do work in your bed, for example, especially if you have trouble with falling asleep.

Abstract associations: routines

• Establish a morning routine to help get you out of bed and get ready for the day.

• Establish an "onramp routine". Normally we have our commute to campus that unconsciously helps us get mentally ready to get to work. A work-from-home onramp routine could involve taking a walk around the block, playing a specific playlist, or placing your phone elsewhere.

• Establish an "offramp routine". Mark the end of your work schedule by completing your progress tracking chart/spreadsheet, signing off from work sites/apps, or changing into another outfit.

Physical associations: objects and space

• Dedicate different corners of your spaces for different purpose (if you can).

• Light a particular candle for when you're doing work, a different candle for relaxation, or only drink a certain type of tea when you're working

• Devices/tech can have associations too, should you want to use them.

Keep a regular work schedule

Carve out time for work, relaxation, cooking, etc., and try not to perform these tasks simultaneously if you can.

Set goals.

Goals may be based on amount of time spent writing, the amount of text produced, or a section tackled. Some techniques you may want to try:

• Pomodoro technique: Write for 25 minutes, then give yourself a 5-minute break. Repeat as many times as you'd like.

• Energy mapping: Identify the times when you are most alert to do cognitively heavy tasks (for example, writing), and when you are more mentally drained to do tasks that are less cognitively demanding

• Reward yourself for sticking to the schedule or completing your goal. (But be kind to yourself! Working from home is especially hard right now.) Think of this as having something at the end of your schedule to look forward to. Some examples include dessert, an episode of something you're watching, connecting with friends, playing video games, or reading for pleasure.

Have a system to deal with interruptions and distractions.

Identify your interruptions (external) and distractions (internal). Come up with your own system to deal with them. You may want to install a blocking or time-tracking app on your phone and/or browser.

Take care of yourself.

• Exercise! Many studios and apps are offering online videos and free or reduced subscriptions these days.

• Connect with the outside. G o out to your balcony or patio if you have one, take a walk if you feel comfortable doing so, or open your blinds to let some natural light in.

• Eat well. Try to establish a regular eating schedule and take breaks from work to eat so you are not snacking mindlessly.

• Take time off when you need it.

• Try out meditation.

- Karen Cheng, Neuroscience, UCLA Graduate Writing Center Consultant