These work-life balance strategies will help you navigate through the struggle that most feel with the isolation, the lack of motivation, and the loss of control that can overwhelm a work at home employee. These remote work habits will change your perspective and shift your state of mind, clearing a way for better business practices and streamlined days.
It just isn’t the same as it was when you were sitting in a professional office setting, right? The people. The buzz. The free coffee. Even the air smells differently! I KNOW.
But I’ve been a work at home parent for over 15 years and while there was a learning curve, I will say your mental state can be corrected with just a few slight adjustments.
This post isn’t about Evernote and Slack. It’s about making sure you don’t get depressed while working from home! This is the other side to being remote that people don’t talk about.
Here are my top 7 tips for staying sane while working home full-time.
The human body needs natural sunlight. We are organic, after all. If you are sitting in some obscure place in your apartment or in your home’s basement – reconsider.
Shift your desk near a window and open up those blinds! One of your top priorities should be to work near natural sunlight. It matters. Natural sunlight positively affects your mood.
I sometimes even grab my laptop and work outside on my porch for hours at a time. My brain works differently when I see and feel the sun on my skin. You will notice this, too.
My basement office feels counterproductive for me and often depresses me. I feel like caged and uninspired. Trapped. Lonely. This can break down to depression eventually. We have to monitor our emotions constantly when we spend so much time alone.
Take A Proper Lunch Break
Take a lunch break! Why? Because you freaking deserve it and it’s the law. If you work 8-10 hours a day, I think you can stop for 20-30 minutes to have a sandwich. Don’t you?
When you are home, there are never any set hours. This means that you will just keep on working like a hamster on a wheel. Humans have a tendency to just keep going.
There will be days where you will clock in 12-15 hours straight without any breaks! For what? Some CEO that doesn’t even know your name! Please stop.
Eat unplugged. Eat on the phone with a friend. Better yet, run and meet a friend. Eat outside in your backyard. Eat alone in a restaurant if you can afford the time. Eat watching your favorite TV show. I don’t care what you do – just give yourself a true break.
Break Your Email Habit
Don’t check your email every 5 minutes. Emails represent other people’s problems – not your own. Get your stuff done.
Notepad To-Do List
Work off of a notebook to do list that you can cross of every day. And make those tasks really simple. Crossing off things will encourage you to keep going.
Get Fresh Air
Get out of the house at least once a day. It doesn’t have to be to spend money. I mean – get out for some fresh air. Take back moments in your day to clear your head and to break. Do you see a pattern? Mental health is important.
Limit Your Distractions
I am not telling you that you can’t watch television during the day, but if you’re someone that is incapable of multitasking and you know you will get caught up in the latest installment of your favorite novella… maybe hold off until your current assignment is buttoned up.
Personally, I like to have a little noise going on in the background. I almost CAN’T work unless I have the television running, but it doesn’t bother me. My husband, on the other hand, can’t handle a single distraction. He needs to hone in on what he is doing – and only that one task. Know what kind of person you are and respect that.
Related: 7 Ways to Stop Making Excuses
Set Office Hours
I get up at 5AM and I start to work. There are people that get up that early and they hit the gym. I wish I liked that sort of thing, but I don’t. Instead, I get a jumpstart on all of my work because I want to be done by 3. That’s the goal.
Get all my work done before the kids come home from school. That way, I can help out with the homework and then cook dinner and then clean up after them and then and then and then. You know, I take off the worker bee hat and then put on the mom hat.
I’m exhausted by the end of the day. I fall flat on my face in bed by 9PM almost every night. I put in the work.
Naturally, I check emails all day long. I put out fires as they come in – but I am not doing any sort of heavy lifting past three. That is my cut off. There is no editing, filming, writing, scheduling, monitoring. I just check for fires. I can do that while watching TV – no big deal.
I know my cut off. What is your cut off? Do you have one?
My husband works until all hours of the night. He doesn’t start working until about 10 or 11 and so he doesn’t stop until about 8 or 9. It’s hard. I see him struggling to try to be all things during those hours. It’s not easy during those hours to have to still be connected to another world when your main one needs you.
Try to define set hours and stick to them. If you need to get up a little bit earlier then do that. If. you need to work a bit after the kids go to sleep, then do that. This is the life we chose.
Our generation isn’t blessed with a traditional 9 to 5. Do those even exist anymore? I put in the work – but I choose to put in the time very early in the day because I want to be with my kids.
But I still get 10 hours of work in a day. It’s just deceptive because most people are sleeping while I am typing away.
But women have to do more and that’s just the truth. After I put in my ten hours a day, my kids turn to me and ask me what’s for dinner. Every single day of the year. They ask me to help them with their homework. They ask me to watch a movie with them. And I do these things because I love to… So, 5AM it is.
I know a lot of round-ups offer tools and more serious strategies – but these easy tips will really keep your head clear. It isn’t easy working from home. I’m 15+ years in and I haven’t found the perfect formula. But little things like the above lighten the load.