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The WFH Diaries: 5 Creatives Share Their Quarantine Routines

Self-isolation is an exercise in creativity. Below, five of our team members let us in on their routines—outfits, snacks, naps, and all.

By Tory Hoen

“We’re all in this together” has been our mantra since the coronavirus crisis began. But even so, we’re each putting our own unique spin on working from home. From our semi-coherent outfits to our makeshift workspaces to our non-negotiable snack breaks, self-isolation is an exercise in making our own rules. Below, five of our creative team members let us in on their routines—pets, naps, mullet outfits, and all.

Brooklyn, NY

Maddie, Senior Brand Associate

6:50AM: My dog, Quincy, wakes me up by climbing onto my pillow and licking my eyes.
7:00AM: I give in, get out of bed, and take Q for a walk around the block.
7:15AM: I fire up the French press. My quarantine breakfasts are all about indulgence. Yesterday, we had cheese danishes that I only burned a little bit (hooray!). Today’s breakfast is sourdough toast with creamy ricotta (leftover from this pasta), honey, fresh thyme, and flaky sea salt.
8:00AM: I’m trying not to start work earlier than I did at the office, so I grab Q for some snuggling and reading.
9:15AM: I log onto Slack and greet my team with a “good morning!” and a pufferfish emoji. Then I read emails, look at my to-do list, and get to work.
11:30AM: I take a break to look at my texts, inspect my mint plant for new leaves, and shower. I put on my Colby pants, my Choe top, and some cheetah socks, then get back to work.
1:30PM: Lunch today is leftover spaghetti dell’ultimo minuto—a family recipe from my boyfriend quarantine buddy. It’s the perfect quarantine meal, because it relies on long-lasting ingredients like anchovies, olives, capers, and sundried tomatoes.
3:45PM: My boyfriend and I mask up and take Q for a walk around Prospect Park. We use our walk to do a daily mental-health check-in. (I’m feeling anxious, but the sunshine helps.)
4:00PM: It’s feeling a little chilly in my apartment, so I put on my Dougherty coat and get back to work.
5:30PM: Happy hour! I make myself a negroni for some liquid inspiration as I finish work.
7:00PM: We usually cook dinner, but tonight, we’re treating ourselves to takeout to support our favorite NYC restaurant, Kings County Imperial. We Zoom in my parents and sisters, and boom—it’s a family dinner.

Denver, CO

Sofia, Senior Project Manager

6:45AM: My alarm goes off. My dog, Wally, makes a discontented noise from under the bed. I can’t help but agree.
7:00AM: I’m two hours behind everyone in New York, so I pull on something comfortable, put my hair up, and grab my laptop.
7:30AM: Our team says good morning to each other on Slack every day, and that’s my cue to face my inbox. I work standing up at the kitchen counter while drinking a big mug of hot water and lemon.
9:00AM : Once everyone is in their groove for the day, I take a break to make a proper breakfast and scratch Wally, who has moved downstairs but continued sleeping.
9:30AM: I get distracted way too easily, so I set timers for myself to stay focused on getting through my to-do list. The other motivator I use is these massive colored pencils. Crossing things off with them makes me feel like a very capable five-year-old.
11:45AM: I’m hungry again. Shocking.
12:00PM: I head to my room to take some Zooms where I won’t bother my family. I look up from one to see my brother and father giving each other haircuts in the backyard.
3:00PM: I edit tomorrow’s content email and reward myself by making a snack. I pull out peanut butter and Wally (whose nickname is “El Criminale”) comes racing into the kitchen, hoping that I’ll spill some.
4:00PM: I have to move every day or I start to feel quite sad. I’ll run, do a Nike Training session, or spin. It doesn’t really matter what it is—I just have to work hard enough to be tired afterwards.
5:00PM: I lay on the floor, tired.
5:30PM: We start cooking. My father is in charge and I help where I can, often being reminded to keep my station clean. No sloppy mise en places allowed.
7:00PM: We’re enjoying being at home all together for once, but we hold on this evening’s Scrabble game so I can call some friends from college. We will play tomorrow. Lord knows we don’t have anything else planned.
9:30PM: I climb into bed to read so I can enter an alternate reality. Wally ignores his nice bed under the window and falls asleep at the foot of mine. I can’t say I blame him.

Brooklyn, NY

Tory, Editorial Consultant

6:23AM: My cat, Dash, knocks my phone off the dresser to signal that he would like breakfast. I lock him out of the bedroom and go back to sleep.
7:30AM: I wake up, try to remember what day it is, feed Dash and his much-better-behaved sister Cressida, and make coffee and a smoothie.
8:00AM: I write in my journal, meditate, or listen to the news. (I like “The Daily 202’s Big Idea” podcast from the Washington Post.)
9:25AM: I put on my first outfit of the day. The Lagarde shirt makes me feel cool, even if there’s no one around to witness it (plus, it’s washable). I wear it with jeans that I bought in Tokyo—back when we could travel.
9:30AM: I work on my novel in the morning, when my brain is sharpest. Over the course of the day, I drift between my couch, my armchair, the floor, and my standing desk. They’re all within a five-foot radius in my living room, but I need the “variety.”
1:00PM: After lunch, I usually feel lethargic, so I do some yoga, go for a walk, or just have a dance party in front of the mirror. I’m very into J Balvin and Bad Bunny right now.
1:45PM: Possible outfit change. Afternoons call for snuggly sweaters like the Arbus and stretchy pants like the Oshimas.
2:00: Work on the M Dash (writing posts, interviewing amazing women, Zooming with the team, or hosting the occasional Instagram Live).
4:00PM: I need a snack (which I have to defend from Dash, who eats everything). I’ve been doing a lot of anxiety-baking.
6:30PM: Wine time! Finish up work / emails for the day.
7:00PM: Cheer out my window for the healthcare workers—the highlight of my day.
7:30PM: Make dinner (usually a chopped salad or this pasta), while I watch the “PBS Newshour” on TV. Its host, Judy Woodruff, is my north star.
8:00PM: FaceTime with friends or family. Apply various face masks and fancy serums.
9:00PM: I’m not much of an artist, but I’ve started watercoloring nudes. (Quarantine works in mysterious ways.)
10:30PM: Fall asleep listening to Alan Watts. Crazy dreams ensue.

New York, NY

Callie, VP of Brand & Creative

8:30AM: Rise and shine. I’m a real night owl, so the silver lining of working from home is that I can get up (and go to bed) a little later than usual.
9AM: I get coffee and breakfast going while I make myself look human for an endless parade of Zoom meetings. My apartment is chilly, so I layer the Merritt (basically a professional-looking bathrobe) over the Winfrey, which feels like “daytime pajamas.” My cashmere socks keep my feet cozy.
9:30AM: Sign into my computer, say good morning to my teammates, and start some inbox triage. I switch between this, this, and this playlist, peppered with bouts of the ever-soothing “Kind of Blue.”
11AM: I take a break to tend my indoor garden. I’ve added to my plant collection since the stay-at-home order started—they seem to help my mood. Bonus: growing your own herbs means fewer trips to the market.
11:30AM: Meetings galore! Is it okay to eat on camera?
1:30PM: I do a little brainstorming on an upcoming project. I usually like to visit a museum or gallery when I’m in inspiration-gathering mode, but the times call for staying a bit closer to home.
3PM: I try to take a (socially-distanced and thoroughly-masked) walk outside every day to keep my spirits up, move a little, and feel some kind of connection to the outside world. I throw on my Milos. They have just the right amount of stretch, so it’s not so painful to put on real pants. New York is in full bloom. I love seeing the magnolias, tulips, and daffodils that have popped up all over in the city.
6:30PM: FaceTime with my niece and nephew. They’re in Arizona, which has never felt farther away from New York.
7PM: Time for the daily cheer for our healthcare workers! It makes me misty-eyed every single time. Also, who knew so many New Yorkers owned cowbells?
7:30PM: My love of cooking has kicked into full force during isolation. I roast a chicken in my new Dutch oven and pair it with roasted cauliflower. (Alison Roman is my quarantine spirit animal.)
8:30PM: I pour myself a glass of wine and crack open a coloring book. Reverting to childhood activities eases my anxiety.
11PM: To wind down, I read a few chapters of my book, then fall asleep to the sounds of a yoga nidra sleep meditation.

Jersey City, NJ

Yan, Graphic Designer

5:30 AM: I keep all my curtains open so that the sunrise can wake me up without an alarm.
6:00 AM: After snuggling with my cats, Cookie and Pickle, I sit on my bed to watch the sky change color. I take a bunch of photos.
6:20AM: I check Instacart and Whole Foods to see if there’s a delivery time slot available. (My strategy is to do this early while everyone else is sleeping.)
6:30AM: I read poems from Felicity by Mary Oliver. They’re so beautiful they make me cry.
7:30AM: Our team doesn’t start work until 9:30am, but I like to use these early hours to do creative work without distraction. That way, I can take a break around noon to enjoy the sunlight. (I’m obsessed with the midday light in my apartment.)
9:30AM: I feed the cats and make breakfast. Lately, I’m switching between making a yogurt parfait or avocado toast. If I have extra time, I do lunch prep by marinating meat or soaking rice.
11:30AM: Lunch and nap time! I spend 45 minutes cooking (for both lunch and dinner), but it only takes me 15 minutes to eat. Then, I nap in the sun.
1:25PM: I wake up and throw on my Morandi or Arbus sweater so that I’m Zoom-ready for the afternoon.
3:30PM: I take a break to talk to friends, or I play my harp or piano to relax.
6:30PM: I sign off of work and am ready for my favorite part of the day: FaceTiming with my brother (who is in San Francisco) while we watch Netflix together. It’s fun, and it prevents me from binge-watching shows in the middle of the night, since we’ve agreed to stay on the same watching schedule. When I watch TV, Cookie always jumps on my lap for a massage.
7:30PM: I call this “Harp/Violin Fun Time.” I used to put it on my calendar as “Practice Harp/Violin,” but it really did become more fun when I renamed it. I’m in love with Joe Hisaishi’s “One Summer’s Day” and am trying to rearrange it for harp.
8:30PM: Prep for bed. If it’s been a hard day, I light three or four candles to put in different corners of my room. I call it light therapy. The plan is to fall asleep before 9:30pm, but it usually ends up being closer to 10pm.

Tory Hoen

Written By

Tory Hoen

Tory Hoen is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. She spent five years as the Creative Director of Brand at MM.LaFleur (where she founded The M Dash!) and has written for New York Magazine, Fortune, Bon Appétit, and Condé Nast Traveler. She loves doughnuts and inter-species friendships.

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