How To Stay Sane While Working at Home
Who out there hasn’t had the dream of rolling out of bed whenever you want on a Thursday morning and eventually getting to your work while still dressed in your comfy pajamas?
Oh! Me me me! I can’t think of a sweeter deal in life.
That sort of freedom is hard to come by, so if anyone can clue me in to a better way to live than having a whole bunch of freedom to create the life you want, please let me know.
I want to hop on that train.
Until then, I think working from home is about as good as things can get.
Many people have the perspective of having to wake up early and get dressed for a job they have to commute to. I know some people prefer the social environment of an office space, but who out there doesn’t enjoy the comfort of working in their pjs?
I’d be willing to bet there’s a whole lot of people out there who would jump at the chance to work wherever they want.
However, that sort of freedom has its own difficulties that aren’t immediately apparent. I know, I know. Sounds crazy, right? I don’t disagree, but that’s the truth.
You start to miss seeing another human face after four days at home and maybe you’re not smelling quite as fresh as you normally do.
Those are real drawbacks and, if you’re not careful, you’ll start to resent your decision to live the “work from home” lifestyle you used to crave.
I’d call that a legitimate tragedy.
I want everyone to live the work life they want to live. If you have the means and capability to ditch the daily commute through hellish traffic, then go for it!
But let’s not jump into things blindly. There are some pitfalls I want you to be able to get past, so let’s get into some practical tips about working from home that I had to learn the hard way.
Find a coffee shop or co-working space
I understand how contradictory it seems for me to be encouraging you to get out of the office only to suggest leaving the house and finding a nice place to get your work done.
Being around other people is a healthy thing. Humans are social creatures (to varying degrees) and you’ll find surrounding yourself with other people from time to time is a restorative act.
You don’t have to replace your office routine with a Starbucks routine. Putting on a suit and doing up your hair every day just to sit in a coffee shop and listen to their latest alterna-folk playlist for nine hours doesn’t seem great, either.
However, you should consider going out at least one day a week and seeing faces that aren’t your own for a few hours. You’ll feel like part of the world again, instead of someone stranded on a lonely, desk-shaped island.
Your couch will be more than happy to greet you when you get back.
Make a schedule and stick to it
If you want to work from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (or any other variation of hours) every day, then make sure you start work at 9:00 am and end at 5:00 pm. Full stop.
Some people may thrive on starting work at 11:00 am one day and 3:00 pm the next, and that’s great if it works for them, but I find keeping a routine to be helpful with staying productive.
Figure out what hours you want to work — because you still need to get your work done, no matter where you are — and stick to those hours. That means no outside distractions, only a strong focus on your responsibilities.
If you’re living with someone who doesn’t work from home, make sure they understand you’re not available to do anything that’s not an emergency. Just because you’re present at home doesn’t mean you can drop everything whenever you want. Work time is work time.
Consistent schedules make for easier lives.
Go for a walk
Fresh air is a powerful thing.
I can’t stress enough the benefits of a nice walk outdoors. Not only does it help keep your body healthy, but it also helps clear your mind.
If you ever feel yourself getting stuck or burnt out on an issue you’re trying to solve for work, then step away from it for a while. Go outside. Breathe in deep. Discover some neat things around your neighborhood.
If you have a dog, then use those furry little exercise machines as an excuse to get outdoors.
After you’re done, come back to your work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle anything.
Learn to love music or podcasts all over again
Sometimes I need as much silence as possible to get my work done. Sometimes I need to blast something to psych myself up for a big assignment.
Most of the time I just like having something nice and soothing on in the background.
Regardless of the situation, having something to listen to that creates happiness in your mind while you work through your day is a great way to pass the time.
Throw on some Led Zeppelin or that 500 song classical music playlist you saved a while back. Play the latest episode of the wonderful Reply All podcast. You just may find the end of your work day coming around sooner than you expected.
Don’t neglect your hygiene
This one shouldn’t need much explanation.
Working from home does not mean you now have a free pass to stop taking showers or brushing your teeth.
Don’t be a slob.
I’m sorry to say I’ve made just about all of these mistakes as someone who does their work from home. It can be too dang easy to let yourself fall into some bad habits.
However, everything should be an opportunity to learn and share some new knowledge.
If you’re thinking about starting a home business or convincing your boss that you’d be more productive from your couch, then go for it. It’s one of the more freeing things you can do with you life.
But there can be some drawbacks to working from home. Nothing so big that it’s not worth pursuing, but important enough to be aware of when you go into the work from home lifestyle.
Go after that life you want. It’s well worth it, cats.