Last Day Of Quarantine

A few things I’ve learned while working from home

Yesterday was my final day of quarantine. Today I begin a new job helping nonprofit companies launch and grow. I’m moving back into an office environment and leaving the work from home life behind. (Don’t worry, I’ll continue to manage The Writing Cooperative on nights and weekends.)

Two months ago, I chose growth over fear. While quarantined life is not easy for some, I’ve thrived in our physically distant world. As I reflect back on the last two months, here are a few things I’ve learned:

We find joy when we live within our values

In Dare to Lead, Brené Brown instructs readers to discover their core values. These values are innate traits guiding our lives. When we live in them, we find our joy.

My core values are creativity and community. Whether writing, problem-solving, or baking, creativity fuels every action I take. We are meant to live in community, and I look for ways to strengthen existing communities and develop new ones. Bringing creativity and community together is where I find joy.

Through quarantine, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the future of The Writing Cooperative. Jessica, Sand, and I put together some really creative projects that will enhance our community in new ways. I’m really excited about these new ventures and will share more about them soon.

An expensive haircut is overrated (but a quality shave is worth its weight in gold)

I don’t remember the last time I visited the barber. It must have been early March. Late February? I don’t know. My wife cut my hair three times throughout quarantine, and I’m quite impressed with the results. I do miss the barber trimming my beard and shaving my neck. That little joy is hard to replicate at home.

A quality home office is a necessary investment

I’ve written a lot throughout quarantine about investing in yourself, particularly when writing from home. Today I’m writing this from my brand new home office. Fresh paint, newly organized, and — most importantly — a modern desk and office chair.

A few issues ago, I mentioned ordering a fancy new office chair. It finally arrived over the weekend, along with a matching sit/stand desk. Yeah, I went all-in on my home office investment.

I purchased the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 and Smart Desk 2. It was an investment well spent. The chair is super comfortable and has more adjustments than I’ve figured out how to use. The desk converts from sitting (where I’m currently typing) to standing (where I manage graphics and routine tasks) in seconds. I love this setup and highly recommend Autonomous’ products.

While I’ve only enjoyed the new office for a few days, I know it will enhance my productivity and writing. I can now enter a dedicated space in the house and tell my brain it’s time to create. I love it.

Pandemics brings people together

I’m part of a Breakfast Club that, pre-pandemic, ate together at different local restaurants once a week. With restaurants closed, we moved the Breakfast Club to FaceTime. This brought two people who now live in different parts of the country back to the table. Additionally, our family enjoys weekly Family Dinner video chats bringing people far and wide to eat together and converse.

Whenever we get to the other side of the coronavirus, I hope these intentional conversations and video get-togethers continue.

It’s okay to just be

Pre-pandemic, our world valued productivity. Here in the States, we are primarily measured by our work. There are always emails to answer and calls to return. The workday extends to our homes, and our phones continuously remind us of incomplete tasks.

Yet, throughout my quarantined life, I’ve spent many hours just existing. A walk outside; thirty-minutes playing holedown on my phone; baking everything I’ve always wanted to try. These are things I wanted to do that, in some cases, took time from other things (did you know it takes hours to make a quality loaf of bread?).

Taking time to do things that improve our mental health, our well-being, and just make us happy is incredibly important. Despite returning to an office, I am still holding tightly onto my time. To the extent I can control, work will stay at work. If I need an evening to just be, I’m taking an evening to just be. Projects can wait, but time is finite.

A few more things I’ve learned, in rapid-fire:

  • Ozark, Letterkenny, and Westworld are all fantastic shows
  • Instagram’s stories are far more interesting than the feed
  • People not wearing masks in the grocery store infuriate me
  • Cleaning out an office means finding all the weird things you’ve held onto over the years
  • “Unfollowing” people on Facebook is good for the soul
  • I’m still not a fan of Schitt’s Creek

There you have it, a few things I’ve learned through quarantine. I start a new adventure tomorrow and can’t wait to process and explore the new things I learn.

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