Working from home sounds like a dream... until you do it several days in a row! What you thought would be relaxing and distraction-free, often times ends up being stressful and a productivity nightmare. Working in the same place where you watch TV, host friends, sleep, play with your kids, and relax, is with no doubt a double edged sword. Here are some tips to help you keep a healthy balance between work and life when they share the same roof.
1. Take off your Pjs...
and put on clothes. Sounds simple, but getting dressed helps you make the switch between pleasure and business.
2. Gotta keep em separated
To the degree possible, create a separate dedicated space for work. Apart from helping you focus, this also allows you to deduct some of your rent/mortgage come tax season.
3. Plan your day
Not having a concrete plan for the day can easily lead to feeling anxious and/or overwhelmed. Write down a list of all the tasks you want to complete that day and, one by one, cross these off once they are complete. Believe us, this feels super satisfying.
4. Define business hours
Determine either at the beginning of the week, or at the beginning of the day, what hours will be 'working hours'. During those times, hold yourself to working and not doing chores around the house or checking social media. Have a specific end time, and when that time arrives, stop working!
5. Take breaks
'Work hard, play hard' they say. For some people, alternating between both throughout the day works well. Splitting up your work into small milestones can prevent you from burning out during the day and also give you a sense of accomplishment. Take breaks in between to re-energize.
6. Procrastination is the thief of time
When working at an office, finishing works means you get to go home! When you work at home, it's easier to procrastinate and decide you will do something later that day. Avoid this at all costs. Defining and adhering to your 'working hours' will help.
7. Limit emails
Checking emails is one of those things that feels productive, but in reality, is often making us lose a bunch of time. Context switching comes at a huge cost, so, if possible, try to limit checking emails to three or so times during your working day. If you can complete important tasks without looking at your email, do so.
8. Don't be too hard on yourself
Though discipline is crucial for succeeding as an independent worker, everyone loses focus and gets distracted sometimes. If you catch yourself drifting, don't reprimand yourself too harshly, it happens to everyone. Instead, cut yourself some slack, and transition back to working.
9. End your day with a routine
When your work day 'end time' arrives, create a habit that signals it's the end of your workday. Maybe it's logging out of your business messaging app, listening to a podcast, or taking a tequila shot! Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of your work day and transition to your personal time.
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