Working from home comes with a lot of perks. It’s ”Casual Friday” every day. Fewer people are burning popcorn in the microwave (unless it’s you).
Avoiding a morning commute is sweet, but madness can also creep in. When punching the clock from home, you end up spending a lot of time in one room.
After quitting time, I end up returning to my home office (my mancave) with dinner in tow. Then I start Netflixing in that same room. After a while, it’s hard to mark the passage of time or the growth of hair in my ears.
At some point, you’ll need a brain-shuffling vacation, a getaway. But until then, you can survive the doldrums of remote work by getting creative.
Make your own work holidays. Engineer certain weekly events. Why not schedule an imaginary Park day for yourself. And maybe, just maybe, you can work from home without losing your mind.
An Escape Plan from the Virtual Workplace
Remember when that one person in the office used to schedule all of the birthday celebrations? You may have found those frequent work wingdings annoying, but they did break up the day.
When you work from home, you have to become your own party-planning committee. You have to schedule themed days and luncheons for yourself.
The goal is to make some days seem different from the rest. Because infinite zoom calls and power-point composition begin to weigh on the soul.
One way to add contrast to your days around the home office is to declare weird holidays. Purposely save certain traditions for one day a week. Theme one Thursday every week as an 80s party. Listen to 80s music and fix your hair differently. Cosplay on Tuesdays. Fix a full breakfast (with pancakes, of course) on Wednesdays.
Disney Day at The Home Office
Amidst the stagnant days, I’ve had to get more creative. I’ve taken one of my favorite places on earth and turned my memories into a weekly imaginary field trip.
I use Disney World as an inspiration for my “work from home” holiday because it’s a place I know well. It has almost endless facets to explore in my memories and imagination. You can use other intellectual properties for your pretend holiday if a mouse with shorts that are pulled up alarmingly high doesn’t excite you.
I observe my event every Wednesday, and only on Wednesday. I declare it “Walt Disney World Day.”
First, I proudly place a lanyard of Disney pins around my neck. These collectible pins serve as reminders of my trips to Disney World and the places I stayed, toured, and ate.
I sometimes treat myself to a new pin from shopDisney or eBay and open the package on my Disney day.
I also update my lanyard with different holiday pins on Wednesday mornings. I have pins I only display in the fall, in winter, during the Christmas season, around Halloween, and any other season worth noting.
I make a ceremony of changing them out. Rotating Mickey and Goofy pins serve as merry reminders that days are passing outside my window. Otherwise, without this cue, my brain may develop a severe glitch.
Disney World Soundtracks for my Work Day
Audio plays a big role in my Disney day. As I prep for the day, fix breakfast or lunch, I pop on a Disney World podcast. “Two Men And The Mouse,” “ResortLoop.com,” and “All About The Mouse” are some of my favorites.
At exactly 9:15 a.m. of my workday, it’s time to crank up the Disney music. In my case, I’m not looking to blast The Little Mermaid soundtrack (nothing wrong with it).
Instead, I explore the incredible background music that can be heard in each land in Disney World. Different compositions for each ride queue, for each restaurant, and for each resort. I explore dozens of tracks on my park day.
Rotate to a different park for each Wednesday you do this. Pull up the background music and audio that plays as you wait to float through Jungle Cruise. Play the cultural music that sounds off while you cross Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom. The lush scores of Hollywood Studios’ nighttime entrance music. Epcot’s Innovation Theme music and Space Mountain’s exit music are two other favorites. You’ll find your own favorite themes.
The DPark radio app is a good way to access these tunes. They have one channel for background music in the park. They have another for Disneyworld shows and events.
You might also buy the Walt Disney World Official album on Itunes for some amazing themes from the France Pavilion, from Soarin’, and from Spaceship Earth.
Of course, you can find almost any Disney park track on Youtube. Hopefully, your computer has decent speakers for listening. (Did you know there’s a bathroom in Epcot that plays the original Imagination area soundtrack? It’s heard nowhere else in the park.)
Youtube also features entire ride audio like the trip through “Living with the Land.” It’s a remarkably calming track that features the narration and the running water ambient sound. Another fave.
Disney World Theme Park App
Just like anything you enjoy too much, you should use “Disney Day” sparingly. Overuse of Disney Day can end up as a looping track that eventually leaves you bored and unfulfilled.
I mix in a few extras to keep things fresh. At 10:30 each day I check the Disney World Theme Park App and dial-up dining. I can select any restaurant, cafeteria, or food kiosk in any park and check the menu for the day.
For those that don’t know, Disney World’s big and small restaurants all feature crazy, creative snacks that change often.
One day you might find cheeseburger egg rolls at a seemingly boring food cart in the Magic Kingdom. Another day, you might find Bao Buns filled with philly cheesesteaks in Disney Springs.
It’s a reliable distraction to check a menu from your desk once each Disney Day.
I also try to catch a Disney Park video on Youtube after I’m done with work. Disney Food Blog, All Ears, and Mammoth Club all post new videos daily to Youtube. Sometimes they rank every pizza served on Disney property. Other times they try the specialty drinks at the pool bar at one of the many resorts.
Make Your Own Themed Day As You Work from Home
Disney speaks to me. I’ve only been there four times in all, but I hope to go back soon. As an introvert, there are just so many hidden spots and secret menus in the four parks, the themed resorts, and Disney Springs to leave a small part of yourself in. And through my imagination and updates online, I can return to those sights, sounds, and smells each week from my virtual office.
What speaks to you? You could have a “Doctor Who Day” or a “Marvel Superhero Day” and pull a different collectible from your shelf to be your companion for your 8 or 14 hours of work.
Love Star Wars or Star Trek? Gilmore Girls? Design your own holiday to observe these franchises on a certain day. Travel the National Parks by Google streetview every Friday.
Look into scheduling your next trip to your favorite places on earth. A WDW trip, a cruise, or an island adventure. Once you have a date set, it’s easier to get excited about exploring those spots virtually as you work from a virtual office.
You could lose roommates (or partners) with your abnormal behavior. Even your cat will get fed up. But at least you’ll be able to tell the difference between Tuesday and Wednesday.
I wrote about how to leave a part of yourself in your most cherished spots so you never forget them. It utilizes a strategy that Voldemort uses in Harry Potter. But you don’t have to dabble in black magic to make it work for you. Find out how to leave a part of your spirit in your favorite locations using horcruxes.