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Optimizing your Work from Home Life (without FREAKING OUT)

With nearly everyone suddenly working from home, I thought as filmmakers we might be able to offer tips (from our experience) to anyone trying to optimize their work from home environment.

Most filmmakers have spent years working in dark editing caves alone. This has forced us to find ways to hack our bodies and environments to be the most creative while still productive.

All of the tips below, I've learned the hard way from starting Oxenfree out of our home 5 years ago. Many of these I learned from listening to a podcast called "Fitness in Post" about optimizing your physical/mental health in a mostly sedentary job.

I'm all about self-improvement and optimizing myself. I'm a robot. Beep boop.



Just because you're working from home, doesn't mean you can stay in your PJs all day and still be as productive as you were at work.

Continue with your same routine as if you were going to work. Start and stop on time.

The temptation is to sleep in, stay on your phone in bed, and eventually drag yourself to your home desk.

Try to go to bed and wake up at your normal work times, get dressed, eat breakfast, take a shower. The best/worst tip is to PUT YOUR SHOES ON like you're going to work (and don't take them off until you're done).

Humans are animals too and can be trained. You can train your brain to transition into a work mindset with something as simple as putting on your shoes or driving around the block before starting work.

Also, for your mental health, try to avoid social media & COVID-19 news in the morning as it can set a negative cloud over your whole day. Check only after work and I promise you'll feel way better throughout the workday.



If you don't need your phone, put it in a different room or turn on do not disturb. If you're working from a personal laptop, turn off as many notifications as you can.

I have texts and calls still come through as they're usually only important ones during the workday. My only other notifications are Slack. Email I check periodically throughout the day without the constant updates.

Every time a notification derails your work, it can take you 20+ minutes to re-focus.

Do you really need push notifications or red counters for EVERY app? Turn off as many as you can. You can even set them to Deliver Silently so they still show up when you check your Lock Screen but without the unnecessary buzz.

Multi-tasking is a myth. Humans cannot actually do it without a huge mental energy drain. Protect your daily mental capacity by reducing context switching unless you REALLY have to.

Here's a tool for blocking websites/apps if you need help focusing:



When home, it's definitely tempting to work on your bed or couch, but that can really confuse your brain's ability to relax vs. be productive if you use the same zones for both.

For an effective balance, try to make a space that you mainly (or only) use for work. If you can, try to make it an appealing area in the house to sit in (not a cramped dark closet).

If you can, choose a spot with natural light and plants. Maybe even turn the desk so it's facing into the room rather than toward the wall for a more open/creative feel (while still minimizing line of sight distractions). <