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OpinionColumnistsWilliam F. B. O'Reilly

What not to do at home

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So you’re working from home?

Been there. Done that. Still doing it.

It’s been eight years and counting since I traded in my 90-minute commute for a 90-second one. In that time, I’ve learned quite a lot.

For instance, if you roll out of bed to a desk in the morning and from your desk to your bed at night — without any physical exertion in between — you will gain approximately six pounds per year, seven if you fancy cheese.

I fancy cheese.

If you join a local gym and swear daily that “tomorrow’s the day,” money will reliably exit your checking account each and every month.

Boxer shorts and an oxford are the perfect apparel for a day at the office. Add a tie for video chats. Voila! 

I’m not sure what women do, but I’m sure it’s more creative. It probably involves scarves.

You can go three-and-a-half days without showering before shame really starts to set in. If you swap out clothes now and then and re-apply deodorant, you can go four. At five, you hate yourself; at six, your wife and children threaten to leave you.

Never turn on a television set. Not even for the news. You can get that online. TV = death. That’s my motto, and I’m sticking with it.

Don’t go outside. If you do, you’ll never want to come back in again and your career will be kaput. Besides, sunshine will ruin that pasty hue you’re working on, and, if you’re into gummy vitamins, you could risk overdosing on Vitamin D. It’s not pretty.

If you have to head into New York City for meetings, give yourself two or three days to practice walking. No joke. I lived in the city for more than 40 years. I was a scurrying Steve on sidewalks, a real pinball. Not any more. After a year at home, you’ll start walking like a suburbanite in midtown. After three, you’re a Times-Square tourist; at five, it’s full Disney World. Might as well get the white windbreaker and motorized cart. Oh, don’t forget to practice walking up stairs if you have any. That way you can make it to the train platform. This is critical.

Try to remember what day it is. It’s harder than you might think. Bells ring on Sundays — a good reminder to get up from the desk and streeeetch before plopping back down. Leaves fall in the autumn and allergies kick in when spring arrives. It’s winter when the furnace turns on.

Do the best you can to stay in touch with friends. And don’t be surprised when they say  things like, “I thought you disappeared” (you did), “do I know you?” or “I thought you were mad at me.” Something strange happens to time when you’re sequestered in your home for an extended period. In short, you can lose it. Force yourself to stay in touch with the world — truly. This is really important.

Never lose your sense of humor, even in a pandemic, and try to learn from those of us who have been doing it all wrong.

Especially on the cheese thing. 

Trust me.

William F.B. O'Reilly is a consultant to Republicans.

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