How I survived working from home in my hometown after 5 years of being away.

Nowadays, most of us have lived the Home Office experience caused by the current pandemic situation, and even before this, some people were already used to that way of working. For myself, this is nothing new. The past two years of my professional career (the first two, by the way) I had the opportunity to work from home sometimes. The problem is I never actually worked from HOME; I would go to a cafe or somewhere with a wifi connection where I could work.

You must be thinking, “the point of working from home is being home.” Here’s the thing: I'm not able to concentrate at home. There's always something that is distracting me: my roomies, someone ringing on the door, grabbing something to eat. Even the smallest thing could take away my attention from work.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, my parents wanted me and my sister to come back to our hometown. Long story short: me and my sister left our home in Los Mochis, Sinaloa when we were 18 to study in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Since I graduated, I’ve stayed here for work. I’m 24 now, so it’s been a while. My parents told us they wanted us back home to be safe, and so we could be together as a family through this difficult time. Keep in mind that all of this happened from one day to the other. For me, it was like the end of the world (sadly, almost literally).

I packed clothes for just a few weeks, my laptop, my headphones, and a notebook and a pen for work. Nothing else. The first week of work was complicated. Obviously, my usual home office routine (going to a café, etc.) wasn't going to work, because you know, social distancing. I could get infected, and we didn't want that.

Since my sister and I were gone for so long, there was no comfortable space in my house to work. There's only a really really small desk with a chair that's been there since we were in high school and an old computer that's just sitting there since my parents don't really use it (it doesn't even have an HDMI connection... can you imagine?!) So yes, complicated. I established myself there for a while. Then the back pain began. So I moved to my bedroom (Not a good idea working on your bed) I ended up in the dining room, which is a big space with an air conditioner 24/7. My dad got me a good chair. It was...pretty decent. But then the real problems started to show up.

Remember I mentioned I was away for 5 years? Well, I got used to being independent. I ate at any time I wanted, did my own things, was by myself most of the time, and I really liked getting used to that. Coming back home means coming back to old habits and routines. Routines that I don't have since high school. Having my parents around 24/7, everyone eating at the same time, never being alone, loud sounds, the dog barking right beside me when I’m in a meeting, and so on. And I know what you must be thinking: “how can you forget about a home routine you were involved in for over 18 years?!” or at least that's what my parents asked me everyday.

The answer is: age. I was not that teenager anymore. I had other responsibilities when I became more independent and moved away from home. Getting back to those teenage habits and routines that me and my family had before, well, it didn’t work at first. At least for me, it took time to get used to it again. So, how did I deal with it? Well, I needed to adapt myself. I needed to understand that this pandemic was not going away soon, and sadly, it hasn't.

I really wanted to learn how to deal with all these changes because they were starting to get to me emotionally and physically. Talking to friends and coworkers that were in the same situation helped. Knowing how people were dealing with the situation made me realize I needed a change. So, I started trying new things that I thought could work, and they did! These new things in time became habits, and I would love to share them with you, maybe they'll come in handy:

1. Make lists, about EVERYTHING, literally.

I listed everything that I needed or wanted to get done in a day, and when I say everything, I mean it. Even eating. This helped me a lot to not lose focus on my tasks. My house is a very loud place, with very loud people, so getting distracted was really easy for me, this helped me stay focused.

2. Get ready for work like usual. Put on a little make up, jeans, and even wear shoes inside the house.

I don't know about you, but I fell in love with yoga pants and sweatpants during this time. You can get used to doing the least amount of effort when all you need to do is hop on zoom calls. However, since I was always ready for bed, it was really easy to just go back to it. When I started getting ready as if I was going out to work, it really helped me become more focused on work and my tasks.

3. Exercise. Go for a walk, run, or do some yoga.

This helped me with stress. Getting outside the house for an hour or so to just walk, breathe fresh air, and feel a different environment really helped me relax and also kept my mind open for creativity. Sometimes exercise can be more relaxing than just watching Netflix on your bed.

4. Establish a comfortable work space.

Like I told you before, this was the hardest task to accomplish because of the lack of space. But once I actually established myself in the kitchen, for example, I really got the hang of it. What does this mean? You don’t need to buy expensive chairs or new desks (sometimes that won’t even be possible). Just make sure you’re not in pain all the time and that you have everything you need nearby. Make sure the people around you know that when you’re in that space you’re working.

5. Don't stress over little things.

I am a really stressed and anxious person, so this whole situation really got to my nerves. My life changed, (well, everyone's life changed) in a matter of days. We all had to adapt to this new situation and still don't know for how long, but I think we're getting the hang of it. So, like everything in life, we just need to adapt to it. It'll be okay, and you get used to it with time. I think it’s also making us more proactive, and capable of dealing with many different situations, so it's not all that bad, huh?

In conclusion: after all this, I realized that you just need to make the best out of every situation. Use as many resources as you need to be better and... yes, ADAPT yourself. And you know what? I am really thankful, in a way, for all of this. I've been learning about so many things I didn't have time before, like writing, practicing lettering (which is new to me), finding new skills, getting back to old hobbies (like photography). So I am making the best out of my little end of the world. Hopefully my tips can help you adapt yourself too to whatever is changing around you too.

If you want to check out some of the cool things I've been working during this time here's my instagram profile!