When I tell people I work from home, most people think I either have the best job in the world or that I in fact do nothing at all. Indeed working alone without the stress of office politics would seem ideal to some, however it does come with the different pressures that one must face alone without the support of their colleagues.
It hasn’t always been easy for me being self-employed and working a one woman band. My first year was a definite struggle. Finding my feet and getting into routine was difficult, but I feel like I am overcoming challenges on a daily basis. Now I am ready to share some handy tips on how to work from home and maintain your sanity. Here they are:
People think that because I work from home I sit in my pyjamas all day and browse through my emails. I mean maybe in a past life, but not today. Today I am productive. If you want to be productive whilst working from home and keep your health in check then I suggest you treat this like any other job. Get a shower in the morning. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. Have a coffee (or four, nobodies watching). Prepare to seize the day.
I know since I was young I have thrived on structure.My mental health certainly deteriorates when my routine lacks structure. Also, good businesses thrive on structure. So it makes sense to organise your day whilst working from home. Set an alarm. Actually get up when said alarm goes off. Schedule work hours and home hours. Try not to use social media when you’re working. Nowadays I get up at 6am to meditate, start work at 7am and have a rule that I won’t work after tea time – depending on my deadlines that day. Of course I take breaks. Everyday is different, but as long as you understand your routine and work isn’t overtaking your life then everything should fit into place.
In my first year of working from home I let my work life eat into my home life and it wasn’t good for my mental health or my relationships. All I could think about was working. I became obsessed. I was isolated and unsociable. It wasn’t healthy. Now I understand that we all need a break. Take leisure time. Make time for your friends and family. Socialising is very important when you work from home, as it can get very lonely. Find some balance. Literally schedule it into your day if needs be. Know that you deserve it. Also, it will make you feel refreshed and therefore more productive. Win, win.
I can’t express the importance of your surroundings when working from home. This means avoiding working from your bedroom. No matter how comfy it may be to work from your bed, remember that this is where you sleep – not work. Setting up a designated work space, like a home office, is obviously the best scenario. This way you can avoid distractions and focus solely on the task at hand, without any distractions. However that may not be feasible for everyone, including me. If you are like me, you may wish to work, with headphones in, from cosy coffee shops such as Starbucks. They are now my office. I have my own seat and thankfully they know my order. Hallelujah.
It’s so easy to be lazy when your work from home. That seemingly long walk from the sofa to the fridge. It can make you want to hibernate and never leave the house again, especially in the colder months. But, it is important to get out and keep fit – by any means. For me, I walk my dog daily and go to the gym to stay active. Also, I pop into town a few times a week to get out the house. I have tried hibernation and it wasn’t good for me – mentally, physically, spiritually or emotionally. I would not recommend. Exercise is key, however you choose to do it.
–Do you work from home? What are your top tips?