I’m going into my 6th year of working from home. I’ve learned several things along the way to share with you.
It’s easy to think working from home gives you the freedom to work whenever. Depending on your role and responsibilities this can be true.
However, working whenever you want can lead to blurred lines and burnout. You end up always being on and it negatively impacts your productivity and well-being.
Trust me, I’ve burned out several times and now recognize the signs. I’ve learned to create habits and be more disciplined with my time.
- Create a schedule. My office hours are from 9am – 6pm CST.
- Block times for projects and calls. I try to not take calls before 1pm CST. This allows time for focused work in the morning.
- My weekends, I use to recharge and do something creative.
Being organized helps with clarity, focus, and productivity. You don’t need a lot of accessories or pretty things to do great work. I have a little black desk, laptop, planner, journal, and G2 pilot pen. These have served me the best over the past 5 years and make it easy to work anywhere.
- I bought a riser recently to raise the height of my laptop camera for better viewing.
- I keep all my earbuds easily accessible in a jar on my desk. Charging cords are wrapped to the side.
- I close everything down and clear my desk each night. This allows me to have a fresh start in the morning. This habit has served me well for 20 years.
After working from home the first couple of years, I had gained weight and at times felt depressed from lack of human interaction. During that time I experienced several anxiety attacks because of the stress I put myself under. There came a point where I decided I had to change my habits in order to improve my health and for my work to be sustainable.
- Schedule time to get away from your desk for lunch. You need time for a brain break. This time allows you to reflect on challenges and gain clarity by thinking through all the components.
- Get exercise EVERY day. Those endorphins give you energy. This can be stretching, yoga, cardio, walking your dog, etc. The key is to break a sweat. Your accomplishments in exercise translate back to your work. I do cardio 4x/week for 45 minutes and the benefits physically and mentally have paid off. I have a gym in my building, but I can stretch and do weights in my home.
- Choose healthy snacks and food to maintain clear thinking and energy. My preferred go-to snacks are nuts and dried fruit. My cheat is Sour Cream Lays and it leaves me in a carb fog so I try not to do that very often.
Schedule it as part of your week or month to nurture relationships. This will look different now, but keeping those connections alive is critical for your emotional and mental well-being.
- Make a list of people you want to spend extra time with. For me, these are people I want to have coffee dates with. You can do virtual coffee dates via Zoom as face-to-face is important. I also FaceTime my family weekly.
- Find or create your own community. I intentionally build relationships online by adding to conversations on Twitter. Your preferred platform may be different so do what works best for you.
- Attend virtual events where you can share your face. I emphasize this because there is a difference in the type of connection created when you’re an active participant versus an observer. Look for the events where you can show up and participate. Recently, Helena and Woody of Haus, hosted a virtual happy hour.
What are your questions or tips? Share below.