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Working Remotely: Hanging in, Hanging Out, and Hanging On

October 8, 2020

Productivity while working remotely hinges on your attitude and skills to self-regulate your time and tasks, relationships with others, and self-care. By all indications, we’re all in for the long haul when it comes to working remotely.

So, it feels like this Coronavirus will never end. You wonder, ‘How long will I work remotely or coach virtually?”  Lethargy is creeping in.  A recent survey stated, “More than 50% of respondents who are working at home due to COVID-19 said they are experiencing burnout, and 52% of respondents have any plans to take time off to decompress” (

While working at home, stress, fatigue, and irritation are not inevitable. Although moments of frustration and disappointment occur, you can feel greater control and productivity when you focus on three strategies:  

Hanging In: You consciously keep routines and productive processes. You realize the difficulties and barriers, but don’t want to give up,

Hanging Out: You socialize and keep up with friends, doing nothing in particular, but enjoying the time together. Also, you reach out to help and support others.

Hanging On: You commit to self-care. Having some semblance of control, you firmly hold on to your values and commitments—despite feeling overwhelmed or gloomy.

Want to maintain productivity and stay sane? Here are some tips:

Hanging In Professionally:

  1. Schedule a 5-day work week so that you can rest and recharge.
  2. Complete a few housekeeping chores. For example, make your bed, get dressed, and take out the garbage.
  3. Plan and cook some meals ahead of time.
  4. Post your work “office hours” and break times.
  5. Have a realistic task list, monitor progress, and adjust. 

Hanging In Personally:

  1. Get up at a reasonable time.
  2. Schedule some decluttering activities—for example, clear desk and file papers.
  3. Schedule some digital organization. For example, delete old emails: archive records, and review passwords.

Hanging Out:

  1. Schedule time on most days to reach out to family, friends, colleagues, or community members.
  2. Develop a list of those with whom you want to share your life and feelings.
  3. Develop another list of those with whom you will offer caring and support.
  4. Reach out by using phones, text, Facetime, or Zoom. Also, send emails, snail mail notes, cartoons, jokes, puzzles, YouTube comedy, poems, books, or Podcasts. 

Hanging On:

  1. Self-care is a critical component of productivity and peacefulness, especially when working remotely. 
  2. Adequate and restful sleep is the cornerstone of your physical and mental energy as well as your motivation.
  3. Regular exercise is nature’s antidote for stress and frustration. 
  4. Keep a journal. Awareness and reflection lead to greater mindfulness and insight about who you are, who you want to be, and how you are doing. 
  5. De-stress with calming exercises, humor, music, or hobbies like cooking or arts and crafts.
  6. Avoid toxic worrying by being mindful of the present and the positives of your life.
  7. Practice gratitude as a warm-up for the day’s activities.
  8. Remember the good times by visualizing some of your “best times” or looking at old photos.
  9. Take time to relax and get a mental break. Reading or listening to books. Watch movies or travelogues. Go on virtual cultural visits to museums, plays, operas, dance, music shows, or sporting events.

Take Charge of Coronavirus Fatigue and Frustration

It takes a conscious effort to stay on track. Expect ups and downs, but keep your eye on the big picture and your past successes. You’ll find it easier to manage your mind, body, and emotions.

If you seek additional strategies to stay productive and avoid excessive stress, let’s chat. Contact Dr. Geri Markel at