When a Snow Day Means a Day to Work from Home, Use These Tips to Keep Yourself Productive


It used to be something to get so excited about; think back to your grade school days when a week day after the first big snowfall of the year meant sledding and snowmen.

Now? Okay, it’s still something to get excited about, but for most of us in northern Virginia (and especially for us creative types who ‘have laptop, can work’), a snow day means sleeping an extra hour and teleworking.

I tell ya, after this:


I’ll take what I can get.

Teleworking is great. As someone who works from home one or two days a week on the regular, it really is. It’s really great. But. (Of course there’s a but. You knew there was going to be a but.) It can also be really hard. Really hard to get motivated when all you want to do is lounge in bed a little longer. Really hard to stay motivated when all you want to do is go play in the snow.  Really hard to make sure that outdoor faucets are shut off to prevent pipes from freezing. (Don’t forget to do that)

Your bed will still be there. The snow isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. First, get to work. And consider a few helpful tips I’ve learned to keep myself focused while working from home.

Act like you’re going to work.

Ugh, I know. I hear you. The best part of a snow day is NOT having to go to work. Sure, you still have work to DO, but with your PJs on, feet up on the coffee table, furry critter curled up by your side. Right? You can. But it’s maybe not the most productive way to start your telework day.

Today, and any other day you work from home:

Get up. Eat breakfast. Take a shower. Get dressed.

And go to work, even if that does mean the desk in your dining room.

Get out of the house.

Two words: Cabin. Fever. We’ve all been cooped up the last few days, and boy is it time to get out. Do it. Take your laptop, and go spend a few hours at your favorite neighborhood coffee shop or café. Not only will a little change of scenery help minimize the distractions, but according to a study from the University of Chicago, “a moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition.”

Stay in touch.

Your team thrives on collaboration. Mine certainly does. And as cool and as awesome as working from your couch or the coffee shop can be, it’s also kind of isolating. Make it a point to stay in touch with your colleagues throughout the day; doing so — via text message, telephone, email, instant messaging, or maybe even video chat — will keep everyone up to speed on what everyone else is up to, and will help keep the dream (of teamwork) alive.

Take a break.

Spend part of your day working from home… not working. If you were in the office today, what would you do? You’d work for a while, and then you’d spend a few minutes chatting with the guy in the office next door; you’d work for a while, and then you’d walk a few laps up and down the hallway (No? That’s just me? Oh.). You’d work for a while, and then you’d run out to grab something for lunch.

There’s no reason you can’t do the same thing at home. Work for a while. Play with the cat. Work for a while. Watch an episode of Friends on Netflix. Work for a while. You get my point, yes? Give your brain a break.

Tell me, what’s your secret for staying productive while working from home?