Ten practical steps to break the COVID-19 spell while spellbound.

Most of us are working from home now. That’s quite amazing. In July 2019, a total of 4.7 million folks telecommuted, either full- or part-time. Now, according to Global Workplace Analytics, that figure could possibly be 75 million!

So, what does this work-from-home status mean for us?

  • Well, we gained no less than an hour per day from no longer having to commute, not to mention vast reductions in wear and tear on our cars and costs of gasoline.
  • We really don’t need to get out of our pajamas, nor comb our hair…just find a sticky note and put it over the camera lens on your computer. After all, we should be protecting the PHI that might be visible. In this case, PHI means Personal Hair Injustice.
  • We don’t even need to eat off a plate…the carton will do, especially if it’s Ben & Jerry’s!
  • Finally, we’ve become proficient in using conference calling applications.

When we’re not at work, we may have fewer distractions…I know that’s not so for those of you with children at home, but for us old farts, we have limited distractions, other than the refrigerator. As for the kids, there are a lot of life lessons they can learn that will also serve as motivation to do their schoolwork – such as how to mow the lawn, trim the bushes, paint the house, clean the basement, and of course, wash and dry the dishes.

Now, for us adults, what do we need to do? Here are 10 suggestions:

  1. Get up and walk around. Sitting on the glutes makes them more widespread than the pandemic. Plus, it clears your mind.
  2. Don’t work in the kitchen. It’s too close to the refrigerator. Try to work someplace where you can see outside, not the refrigerator. If necessary, padlock the refrigerator.
  3. Don’t eat at your computer. Just like you might go to a break room at work, go to another room, or outside. You may notice that there are birds chirping outside. They are oblivious to the situation we’re dealing with.
  4. Set the clock to take breaks. Use your phone to alert you to take your lunch or other breaks. Maybe even sneak in an hour-long nap. The extra rest will allow you to stay awake for the late show, and also keeps you out of the refrigerator!
  5. Drink lots of water. If you slip some scotch in it, well, good for you! But remember, that’s going to mess with your productivity.
  6. Pick a chore. We all have a long list of chores. Pick one daily that you’ll do as a break from work. It could be putting in a load of wash, cleaning out one drawer in your dresser, starting to compile the taxes for NEXT year, cleaning the silverware, trimming a bush, going through a closet and finding a few things that you’ll give away…if your favorite charity ever reopens to accept items, etc. Don’t clean out the refrigerator…it’s too tempting.
  7. I recently saw a stationary bike that had a small desktop on it. You can ride and work at the same time. How cool is that? I didn’t buy it, so my glutes are spreading.
  8. Listen to a free webinar. You can get some CEUs, and you might pick up a tip or two to help you with your job.
  9. Save some money by cutting back on utilities – like drying your dishes (remember, assign this to the kids), replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and unplugging things, saving a little electricity – as with unplugging clocks in guest rooms with no guests! Another place to save a few bucks is when you go shopping. Search for and use coupons, and buy some store brands to save a few dollars. Finally, buy some vegetable seeds and grow your own veggies. There are always too many seeds in those packets for me. So, you may wish to share some of the seeds with a neighbor. Use a fishing pole to pass the seeds over to them to ensure that you stay six feet apart!
  10. Go through your address book and call an elderly aunt or uncle. They don’t expect to hear from you until Christmas, so this will be quite a surprise and make their day. Hopefully, it won’t shock them so much that they need medical care!

I’d love to hear what others are doing with their newfound free time. I’m going to go make a sandwich!

Programming Note: Listen to Rose Dunn report this story live today during Talk Ten Tuesdays, 10-10:30 a.m. EST.


Rose T. Dunn, MBA, RHIA, CPA, FACHE, FHFMA, CHPS, AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

Rose T. Dunn, MBA, RHIA, CPA, FACHE, FHFMA, CHPS, is a past president of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and recipient of AHIMA’s distinguished member and legacy awards. She is chief operating officer of First Class Solutions, Inc., a healthcare consulting firm based in St. Louis, Mo. First Class Solutions, Inc. assists healthcare organizations with operational challenges in HIM, physician office documentation and coding, and other revenue cycle functions.

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