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It’s easy to fall into the “all work no play” mindset when you are trying to earn a living working from home, but you can’t earn that income if you’re burnt out, low on energy, or in poor health. Taking care of yourself is vital. From taking breaks, to getting a little sunlight, these tips and habits for staying healthy and organized will help you as you work from home. Enjoy!
1) Have hard start and end times. When you work from home you often end up working all day and night and miss out on life events. Set yourself up for success by setting up and sticking to hard start and end times. This will allow you to work and be productive, while also having something to look forward to (i.e. the glass of wine you promised yourself when 5pm rolled around).
2) Get up! When people work from home they often sit behind their computers all day and barely get up because everything is within an arm’s reach away. Take breaks and get up and away from your computer. This will increase your creativity and stamina, and also keep away the cramps.
3) Dress for work. Working from your pajamas sounds fun and cozy, but it doesn’t exactly help you take yourself seriously. Even if you aren’t leaving the house, dress for work (or at the very least change out of pajamas), it’ll raise your confidence and motivate you for work. Wearing your pajamas to work only motivates you to take a nap.
1) Have a morning routine that’s just for you- My morning routine is non-negotiable. It’s pretty simple: fifteen minutes of journaling, and a ten minute meditation. Everything else can be scattered, overwhelming, and frustrating, but I spend the day knowing that I took some time for myself.
2) Practice your writing skills- I have a handful of exercises that keep my copy writing skills sharp. One of them is called Buzzfeed your headlines (yep, I came up with it myself.) Essentially, I go to Buzzfeed, look at their most click-baity headlines, and think about how I could use that formula to write my own blog posts and email subject lines. Then I get gems like Would you rather? Never have to give a presentation or never advance your career.
3) Set deadlines- Not only are deadlines good for actually accomplishing your tasks, they’re also good for relationships. If you can tell your significant other This is a priority until Sunday, and then I’m all yours again, it sets clear expectations for both of you, and eliminates guilt. Just stick to your deadlines.
Winston C Ikekeonwu
1) Plan your week ahead: Take a few minutes during the weekend to plan your ideal week. Don’t worry about everything going according to plan. The key is to have a general idea of how the week could pan out.
2) Starve your calendar. Resist the urge to pad every single hour with tasks. Aim at achieving 3-5 core daily tasks that move you closer to your goals. It’s true: less is more. With fewer commitments on your schedule, you’ll be flexible enough to respond to new opportunities as they arise.
3) Take notes and review. Always keep a notebook handy to make quick notes on ideas that occur to you, what you could do better next time and so on.. (You could also use your phone for this). During your weekend planning session, review your notes and apply the lessons learned to your next week.
1) Take a shower already! We WAH employees joke about working in our jammies, but nothing makes you feel more scattered than sitting at a desk unshowered and unbrushed at 3 pm. Take a shower in the morning and put on some nice but comfortable clothes. You can even put on a bit of makeup and some jewelry. This will help you face your work day feeling put together and ready, even if no one will be seeing you but your cat.
2) Set up an admin day. If you’re a freelancer (like I used to be), it’s hard to feel productive when you’re spending all day putting out tiny fires as they come up. Designate one day of the week, or certain hours of a day, to clear out admin tasks like signing contracts, invoicing, and filing.
3) Set your morning routine. If you were working in an office somewhere, you’d have a morning routine that you *had* to complete before work or it wouldn’t get done: Shower, exercise, eat breakfast, etc. But as a freelancer or remote employee, your daily habit is probably to sit down at the computer first thing in the morning and merely react to urgent but not important tasks all day, such as answering e-mails as they come in.
Instead, set a definite morning routine that will help you clear your mind for the day and focus on those tasks that give me you the greatest bang for your WAH buck. You might want to make a list of your three most important tasks for the day, meditate, enjoy a cup of coffee, or read a book. It doesn’t have to take long…my entire morning routine takes about an hour, but can be compressed into 20-30 minutes if I have to rush.
Cindy J Holbrook
1) Set firm boundaries with family members. Explain to them, that even though you are home, you are still working. If you have an office door, then put a sign on it when applicable, “Do not disturb” and/or “Welcome.” This allows you time to focus and get that hot project completed.
2) Create time blocks. Time blocks are not only work-related. Your time blocks can include, cleaning the house, quality time with kids, doing the laundry and paying bills. On the business side, your time blocks can include social media, special projects, creating content, delivering services. Time blocks allow you to get more done in less time because your mind is focused on one task at a time.
3) Get out of the house. It is important to see different things. You can get out of the house by taking a walk, going shopping or to the gym. You may also want to move your work environment. For instance, once a week, pack up your laptop and go to your local coffee shop. The new atmosphere will inspire new creative ideas.
1) Put on real clothes in the morning – don’t work in your PJ’s. I’ve found that I’m much more productive, and not as easily distracted when I’m dressed somewhat professionally.
2) Stick to a set schedule – there’s nothing wrong with putting in extra hours when needed, but I try to sit down for work at the same time each day. The consistency helped me build a solid routine – which can be tough when you’re not required to check in each day for a 9-5 role.
3) Get a healthy balance of social interaction – working from home can be very isolating. As a consultant, many of my clients are out-of-state, so there’s very little, if any, face-to-face interaction. That’s why I try to schedule lunches with my girlfriend, or make appointments in the middle of the day so that I can still get that much needed socialization. I consider myself an introvert, but after the first year working home without little to no human interaction, I knew I had to make a change.
Note From Leslie
There’s a reason I’m called the Pajama Mama. I like to work in my pj’s! So while I think getting up and getting dressed isn’t a bad idea, for me, one of the perks of working at home is being casual. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever get dressed. Nor does it mean I’m not mindful in taking care of myself. My tips are:
- Know your goals and the action plan to reach them. The more you keep your goals in mind, and focus on the actions to reach them, the faster you’ll achieve them, and less time you’ll waste on non-productive activities. It also helps you control overwhelm and stress.
- Stand up. I actually now have a standing desk, but if you don’t, make sure you stand up every hour or so. You might even add stretching. A sedentary lifestyle is the biggest predictor of poor health.
- Set boundaries. That includes a schedule of when you work and when you don’t. But you should also have physical boundaries. When you’re off, you shouldn’t have to see your office. Finally, stick to your boundaries. Don’t sneak in checking your email when you’re having dinner or at the park with the kids.
- Eat well. Working at home makes it easier to make healthy choices. What you eat impacts your energy and your mood, which are crucial to work-at-home success.
- Move. Take a walk, play tag with the kids, do an exercise video, play the Wii…for 30 minutes every day, move. Like proper eating, exercise positively impacts your mood and energy.
- Surround yourself with success. Whether it’s through an online mastermind group, a local business MeetUp, or reading, spend time everyday filling your mind with positive stuff. Your mood impacts your energy level. If you’re feeling defeated or overwhelmed, your more likely to do sub-par work or give up. Positive input give you energy so you can be more effective and efficient in your work, and feel good doing it.