Before I became an entrepreneur, I always thought that if I could work from home, that would be a dream come true. I remember leaving my 9-5 job, feeling like I had conquered the world.
Today, I know better. Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. Achieving a healthy work-life balance becomes a whole new challenge when your workplace is one room away from your bed. Fortunately, there are ways to get things done and still have time to relax.
Here are my 4 tips on how to work from home without losing your mind:
1. Connect with Others
Your home office is not really like your work office. At work, you are in a social environment that gives you many opportunities to catch up with colleagues throughout the day. At home, you are by yourself and communicate with others through your phone or computer.
We are social creatures and isolation from the outside world can, in the long term, be very harmful to our emotional well-being. If your home office is your only office, you have to be extra proactive in making sure you communicate with others face-to-face often enough.
Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to center yourself and become aware of the present moment. But they’re also deeply introverted practices. Isolation is the most common reason for experiencing anxiety and depression. If you want to avoid feeling lonely, here’s what you need to do:
Go out every day for at least 30 minutes and talk to other people.
What do I mean by this? When you step away from your computer, there are so many opportunities to connect with others! Call a friend, chat with the old lady at the supermarket, have lunch with a colleague from your previous job. Whatever it takes, make it your mission to connect with others.
I remember when I first started my coaching business — I didn’t have any clients and spent my whole day making images for social media, writing blog posts, figuring out how to work with Facebook Ads. It felt exhausting, unfulfilling, and absolutely impossible to handle.
Although I knew I had to stop and pause for the occasional rest throughout my workday and go outside to get some fresh air and talk to people, I often got caught up in the never-ending “to-do list”. I felt miserable, short on energy and perplexed. One day I just forced myself to get out every single day and I haven’t broken my promise since then.
2. Take Short and Frequent Breaks
Don’t become a work-from-home zombie, staring at your computer screen all day long! Productivity systems like the Pomodoro Technique, which makes you work in 25-minute time blocks and take 5-minute breaks in between, exist for a reason — it’s very easy to forget about taking care of your needs, especially if you have a lot of items on your to-do list.
Think about it – if you were at your 9-5 job, you would have regular breaks to chat with colleagues, make yourself some coffee or go to the nearby store just to get some fresh air, right?
Personally, I like to split my day into time chunks. It means having a short amount of time dedicated to a single task. For example: if I have 3 meetings, 6 phone calls and 4 personal tasks to do, I divide my day into small time chunks and prioritize. Let me be more specific:
Divide your sheet of paper into 3 columns: Urgent, Important, Not Important. Now, be completely honest with yourself and prioritize your daily tasks (I prefer to do this in the morning, after meditating and having breakfast when my mind is still clear). Once you’re done, make a timetable for all of your tasks. For example, 9:15-10:00: Proofread blog post and publish it. 10:00-10:15: Have a break, etc.
Having short breaks will make work more enjoyable and will keep your energy levels high throughout the day.
This one is a no-brainer, but it was probably the hardest one for me. Going out and having a break doesn’t require much effort while exercising can feel a bit draining, especially if you’re not the sporty type. So, how do you start exercising on a regular basis?
You can go about it in several different ways. When you work from home, you can definitely combine tips 1, 2 and 3 from this post by just going to the gym. It ticks all the boxes, doesn’t it?
The problem is that not everybody likes to go to the gym (including me). That’s why my second suggestion is to work out from home. There are so many mobile apps and online courses you can use to start doing it, and not a single excuse to tell me that you can’t!
The hardest part for me were the excuses I made to skip exercising, so I thought of a workaround. If I didn’t feel like working out, then I would have myself a dance party! Putting your favorite energetic music on and singing your heart out is a wonderful way to keep these endorphins coming and have fun at the same time!
4. Be Professional
Working from home can be quite tricky. Your bed is in the other room, tempting you to get a nap; you have a lot of housework to do, so you make excuses not to focus on your job; YouTube is just a click away, nobody can judge you for watching cat videos for 2 hours, right?
This is one of the traps I still fall into, especially when I have lots of stuff to do around the house. The solution? Create an office room. Or, if you don’t have a free room (who does these days?), create yourself a small and dedicated office space. Declutter all the things that prevent you from focusing on your work – clean your desk, your table, your room.
Never stay in your pajamas, take care of your looks even if you’re about to stay home. Put some nice clothes on, wear perfume, even play with some makeup if it makes you happy! If you make the effort to look professional, there’s a big chance you will feel professional, too.
Sending you all my love,