Working from home can be an excellent idea for so many reasons. You avoid the long commute, you have the flexibility to plan your own schedule, and hey, it’s even good for your health! But one question we all often have is: How do you stay on task when working from home?
Alas, there’s a flip side to all this greatness. When the line is blurred between work and home, it can be challenging to set boundaries that define when work truly begins or ends. Not to mention, being alone in your space can quickly become isolating and exhausting.
So, if you find yourself working endless hours or sharing gossip with your dog for entertainment, here are a few strategies to keep yourself from going absolute bonkers while working from home.
Have a pre-work routine
Rather than opening your computer or checking emails on your phone right when you wake up, take some time to get ready for the day. Now, we’re not telling you to ditch your comfy work from home pants, but our advice would be to establish a routine that makes you excited to get your day started.
Whether that’s getting ready while singing the entire Hamilton soundtrack, or having a cup of coffee while listening to your favorite morning podcast, your morning routine will help you define a clear line between work life and home life.
Define your schedule (Alexa, play Dolly Parton, 9–5)
One of the biggest downfalls of working from home is not having a set schedule. It’s a good idea to set working hours for yourself, and an awesome thing about working from home is that you can plan your schedule around when you are the most productive.
If you’re the type of person whose creative juices flow better late at night, or if you’re an early riser instead, setting your schedule and sticking to it will help you define your unique cadence for maximum creativity and productivity.
Establish your workspace
Just because you’re not working in an office doesn’t mean you can’t define your very own workspace. Rather than curling up on the couch where episodes of The Office are beckoning you to watch or locking yourself in your bedroom where a nap is inevitable, define a specific space or surface that’s just for work.
And if you’re really missing the office life, you can put up motivational posters, install a fluorescent light, and add a grey rug for authentic office ambiance. 😏
Reach out to your co-workers
Remember: You’re working from home, not from a galaxy far far away. If you have a team of people you work with, you can still reach out to them for some much-needed human interaction.
Even just a short message asking how their weekend was or complimenting their work on a project you enjoyed, small, “non-work” banter can make you feel less like a team of one.
Leave the house (file under: avoid cabin fever)
Sometimes it’s hard to focus on work when a giant pile of laundry is staring at you from across the room. If that’s the case, it’s time to take your work to a cafe, library, or even the park.
The change of scenery will not only be less distracting than your household chores, but it’ll help simulate a work environment complete with background chatter, white noise, and human interaction. (There are even Spotify playlists that can help with this.)
Give yourself breaks
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, there are benefits aplenty when it comes to taking breaks during your workday, but they’re especially important when you’re working from home.
In an office, you’re more likely to take breaks by walking to the kitchen for water, stepping away to grab a coffee, or chatting with co-workers here and there. At home, however, having everything within arm’s reach often means it’s easier to work through breaks which inevitably leads to burnout. So take a walk, run an errand, or hustle to a midday yoga class! Do something that makes you feel good so you can return to work refreshed and ready to focus.
Hop on calls regularly (Alexa, play Hotline Bling)
Even if a call isn’t required for the projects or tasks that lie ahead, hearing another person’s voice can help you feel less like the only person in the room. If your team is kicking off a project or working on timelines, ask your co-worker to jump on a call. Plus, it helps you connect with your team and builds stronger relationships. #squad
The most important thing you can do for your sanity while working from home is taking care of yourself. So, identify your unique working hours, designate a workspace, communicate with your team, and don’t forget to leave the house every once in a while! Give the above action items a try to avoid losing your mind while working from home.
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