Working from home doesn’t have to upset the work/life balance you’ve worked hard to establish. In fact, if you do it right, you can make it a rewarding and inspiring experience. Here are six tips for making the most of working from home.
Tip #1: Have a dedicated work space (if you can)
You’re home—and yes, you can kick off your shoes and lounge on the couch with your laptop. Why not? Well, you’re setting a bad precedent, and it’s a slippery slope to begin mixing things you normally associate with leisure with your work. The same is true for the dining room table or even the bed. You may be able to spread out your work easily, but you’re better off finding a spot that can just be for work. When you’re done, you physically—and mentally—log off.
Tip #2: Maintain a routine
Captain Buzzkill here again. Sleeping in or running an errand at off-times should be the exception and not the rule. Set an alarm just like you would if you were going to an office. Go through your whole morning routine. Shower and get dressed. Eat breakfast, make some coffee and walk the dog. Whatever you normally did before work, keep it up. Starting with your usual routine gives you the foundation to be disciplined and productive throughout the day.
Tip #3: Take breaks, but don’t let them sidetrack you
Maybe you don’t need a full hour for lunch. That’s fine, but make sure to schedule a lunch break of at least 30 minutes where you’re not engaged in work to let your mind rest. Put down the phone. If you have kids or a spouse at home, this is a perfect opportunity to get some extra family time on the schedule. Most importantly, step away from the computer.
Tip #4: Avoid processed sugary snacks
Stocking up on prepackaged snacks seems like a good idea at the time. You need something you can just pick up and eat without taking focus away from your work. But those snacks are full of sugars and preservatives that your body doesn’t need. Does it really take that much more time to grab some carrots and hummus out of the refrigerator? Instead of going for the biggest convenience, make a healthier choice like a moderate amount of almonds, granola or fruit.
Tip #5: Get exercise
It’s tempting to go straight from your laptop to Netflix, but think about this—your body isn’t even getting the steps you take on a normal day at the office. You need to make up for that, bare minimum. Get outside and walk, jog or bike. Getting fresh air and changing the scenery will do a lot for your body and your mind. Chronic stress is linked to the biggest causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents and cirrhosis of the liver. Exercising releases endorphins in your brain, improves sleep and reduces stress.
Tip #6: Have an “off” switch
All work and no play doesn’t make for a happy life. Are you noticing a trend here? Work and non-work can co-exist, even in the same home. In order to truly have balance, one side must yield to the other. But it’s up to you to switch off each when appropriate. Treat your mind and body well, practice moderation and keep clear boundaries.