Many of you may find yourself working at home the next few weeks. I’ve had my own home business now for years. It is tougher than it seems to successfully maintain responsibility, work-life balance, and your health when working from home. Here are a few of my favorite tips that have kept me sane and healthy over the years. Feel free to add to this list!
Set up a Separate Office Space
Use a space in your home dedicated solely to your work. It doesn’t have to be a whole room. Choose somewhere that you can work with minimal distraction, fill the space with things that either soothe or energize you (depending on what puts you in a stress-free mood), and use the best chair in your house. Or you can ditch the chair altogether and stand for a while. These images are my office. I have a setup for seated and standing work in a dedicated space. When my office is cluttered, my brain is cluttered, so I try to keep it tidy (doesn’t always happen). And if you don’t know this about me, I really really really love blue-green colors, post-it notes, and lists.
Stick To A Schedule
Set up your day just like any other work day. The routine will be comforting. It can be tempting to wake up late and work at odd hours, but you will benefit your mental health and the quality of your work by setting a schedule as if you were going into the office. I used to stay up and work at all hours of the night – I’ve found that a more regular schedule has really helped my sleep patterns.
Your brain needs a break and your body does, too. Without breaks, your focus dwindles and you become less productive. Sitting for 8+ hours, whether at home or at an office, is not good for your physical health. Set a timer every 30-60 minutes, stand up, stretch, walk around. Even if it’s only for a few seconds. Get moving! I have a kitchen timer right by my desk.
Don’t Eat Lunch At Your Desk…and Don’t Skip Lunch, Either!
It’s easy to think eating lunch at your desk (or skipping lunch) could help you end the day early, but it rarely works this way. There’s always something more to do. Plus, your keyboard gets filled with crumbs. Ew. Sometimes the efficiency of working from home leads to people straight-up forgetting to eat at all. Skipping meals is not sustainable or healthy.
Grab Healthy Snacks
When you’re home, you’re far more tempted to snack because you’re so close to your fridge and pantry. Before grabbing a snack, drink some water and wait a few minutes. Still hungry? Try going for healthier options like carrots & hummus, apple & peanut butter, or green smoothies.
Set Caffeine Limits & Increase Hydration
You might start drinking a lot more coffee than normal. Don’t want that entire pot to go to waste! Keep the coffee consumption down to your normal amount so you don’t alter your sleep patterns. Instead, add some more water to your day – you know you should anyway, and if you have to go to the bathroom more frequently… you’re at home, it’s ok!
Put on pants. Get dressed. It’ll make you feel more productive. Those PJs might be cozy but mindset is everything, and clothing is not optional! Especially when you have to take an impromptu video call.